I hate being wrong. I think this is something that many people can sympathize with. We often go around with a fear of being wrong. Of looking like an idiot. Few things are more cringe worthy to me than the moment after you are corrected on something that everyone else sees as common knowledge. As a competent human being, it does really hurt the ego. However, it is not always a bad thing.
I think that for some of us, if we are not sure of something, we tend not to say anything at all rather than risk being wrong and looking like an idiot. How many times have we heard the phrase “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” However, we still go about afraid of asking questions that will make us look stupid.
A few weeks ago this happened to me. I sat in my car for several minutes debating whether or not to ask a question, only because I knew that it was rather stupid of me. I was afraid of looking like an idiot. Now that I’ve come to think about it, that was the wrong way of looking at it. How are any of us supposed to learn if we never ask questions that might seem idiotic to those who have plenty of knowledge? How did we ever learn any of the things that we find useful or interesting? How do we grow as individuals? By asking questions!!
See, after thinking critically about my own experience I came to a conclusion. It’s ok to be the idiot. It’s ok to know the least about something. Or to admit to not knowing something. Or to be mistaken. Or to ask a stupid question. That is how we learn.
So sacrificing face and putting yourself at risk of being laughed at isn’t a bad thing. Although it is uncomfortable. However, I was surprised at how freeing it can be. After that moment of discomfort came an entirely new experience. One of more understanding and mental growth.
Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is worth it. There is nothing to fear about being the least smartest in the room. There is also nothing wrong with admitting that you don’t know something. I know that it isn’t easy, but I am trying to live this way. The more we are open to admitting we don’t know something, even if this is just to ourselves, the more we will learn. So I hope that the next time you are faced with a situation that has you feeling like an idiot, you will look at it as a moment of learning and human experience instead. I know that I will do my best to do the same.