Yesterday night, I was driving to the CVS pharmacy at South Industrial Highway with two of my housemates to buy some groceries. We followed the detour on South State Street to Golden Avenue. Because there was no detour sign on Golden Avenue, we started to discuss which way we should go. One of my housemates, named as X for convenience, claimed that we should turn right because he had been there before. While my other housemate, named as Y for convenience, held strong belief that we should turn left. After hearing them debating for which direction to go for 2 minutes, I decided to turn left just to stop the argument. However, with the help provided by Y, we ended up lost in the middle of nowhere. We had to go all the way back to Golden Avenue and turn right. Upon arriving at the CVS pharmacy, Y was still mumbling about why it should be correct to turn left instead of right.
In fact, many of us are just like Y and always refuse to admit our mistakes. A few days ago, Y wanted to buy a new laptop, and he asked X and me whether he should buy a Sony or a “iMac Pro.” Both X and I asked whether he meant MacBook Pro instead. However, he insisted that it was “iMac Pro.” Actually, many people might be trapped in an internal sense of rightness just like Y. When thinking about solving a particular math problem, it is not difficult to realize that many people often claimed that they were right even though they were not 100% sure about the answer.
According to Kathyrn Schulz, we are often trapped in a bubble of feeling very right about everything and avoid
thinking about being wrong. She suggests that we often refuse to admit we are wrong because it feels dreadful and embarrassing to do so. Another structural reason that Schulz suggests is called error blindness, which means we do not have an internal cue to let us know that we are wrong until it is too late. There is also a cultural reason for getting stuck in this feeling of rightness. Starting from elementary school, we have always been taught that people who get stuff wrong are lazy and irresponsible, while successful people never make mistakes. Therefore, we want to insist that we are right, because none of us want to be dimwits.
However, it is absolutely fine to make mistakes and do something wrong in our lives. Screwing things up is fundamentally a part of who we are. It is not something that can be fixed in our lives. Being wrong is an important element of our life stories, instead of something that is embarrassing. We need these moments of surprise and wrongness to make these stories work.
Are there any examples of getting stuck in the bubble of feeling right that you have been through? Do you think it is fine to make mistakes, or do you think still think that only lazy and irresponsible people make mistakes?