Most people don’t like to admit when they’re wrong. Yet psychologists say that one of the secrets shared by very successful people is that they are not afraid to so say these three simple words, “I was wrong.”
It’s not a sign of weakness or incompetence to admit you’ve made a mistake, say experts. In fact, it has the opposite effect. According to CNBC, people who are “admitters” are more likely to:
• Prioritize learning and growth. One study found that “people who accept responsibility for their transgressions are more likely to grow as a person.” We’re more likely to take responsibility for our mistakes if we believe we have the power to change our behavior. Admitting to a wrongdoing doesn’t make you a bad person.
• Ask for more information. When someone tells you that you are wrong, instead of getting defensive, ask for more information. Really listen to what the other person has to say. You’ll become less confrontational about the views of others if you keep an open mind and challenge your own sense of certainty. Good advice for family gatherings during the holidays!
• Remember that human beings are wired for forgiveness. Studies have shown that some people are just naturally more forgiving, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. These people enjoy a reduced risk of heart attack, improved cholesterol levels and quality of sleep, and less anxiety, depression, and stress. When we admit our mistakes, we create more potential to preserve or repair the most important connections in our lives.
• Forgive others as well as yourself. James R. Bailey, a professor at George Washington University, says that allowing others to make mistakes without judgment shows friends and family that you can recover and offer the same forgiveness you grant to yourself, he says in Harvard Business Review. “Great things happen when you’re not afraid to fail,” he writes. “That’s when ideas flow. That’s when performance peaks. That’s when you will truly grow in your career and help others do the same.”
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