My clients always want to know how to change their beliefs and their thoughts so that they can get different results in their life. But before we can adopt a new belief, we have to be willing to be wrong about the old one. This may seem obvious, but it is harder than it sounds because our brain loves to be right. In fact, it fights to be right.
In this episode of the podcast, I will show you how being willing to be wrong is essential for our growth and our ability to believe new things about ourselves. I’ll help you understand why our brain wants to hold so tightly to our old beliefs. And I’ll give you some awesome tools and questions to help you be willing to be wrong more often, so that you can get the life you want.
The more you can be willing you are to be wrong, the more forward progress and change and relief you will get. And that my friends is 100% awesome.
So as a coach one of the most common questions I get is, “I know my thinking isn’t serving me and isn’t giving me the results I want, but how do I think something new? How do I change what I think and believe.”
It’s really important to know that before we can change our beliefs we have to be willing to be wrong about the old beliefs.
And even though this seems logical, it isn’t easy because our brain doesn’t like to be wrong.
Why the Brain Resists Being Wrong
Being wrong is very dangerous to our brain. Remember, our brain is a prediction machine. It likes to take the past and extrapolate the future. It likes to be right so much that it makes placebos work to prove the belief that medicine makes us better. It likes to be right so much it sabotages our goals. It likes to be right so much it would rather be right than feel love, even.
Our brain likes to think it knows how things are going to go, It likes to think it understands the world and our place in it. And It costs us something to be wrong. There is a price to being wrong. And for our brain it means that we are wrong and if we are wrong we have a serious problem.
Why? Because their brain believes being right is the “safe way.”
Evolutionarily speaking, being right is what kept us alive. We had to be right about the dangers. We had to be right about where the predators were and what plants were poisonous and what the smell on the breeze meant. If we aren’t right, we’re dead.
And so it’s really important for the brain to think it’s right and be able to predict the world. And even though in our modern world we don’t have these threats, this programming is still at work in our brain.
How to Be Willing to Be Wrong
So how do we train our brain to become more willing to be wrong?
You can use the following questions and tools to help you:
In other words, who would I be, what would I do, what would my life be like, without this thought. If I didn’t believe this was true, how would my life be different.
If you didn’t believe you were undisciplined, who would you be?
If you didn’t believe you were impatient, who would you be?
If you didn’t believe you were dumb, who would you be?
If you didn’t believe you didn’t’ have enough talent, who would you be?
If you didn’t believe you couldn’t, who would you be and what would you do?
Do you see the huge shifts you can get by asking this question: who would I be without this thought?
This question will help you see, what you are believing is just a thought and if you are willing to be wrong about it, it can change everything else.
2. Another helpful thought is simply, what if I’m wrong about that? What if I just made that up?
But often our brain resists this question because it doesn’t like being wrong. So it can be helpful to simply assume you are wrong and then ask yourself, “Now what?” What I want to show you is that, just like with the first question, when we assume we are wrong, then we can show up differently in our life because we are operating form a new thought.
So if you have painful thoughts that are keeping you stuck and preventing progress, assume you are 100% wrong about it. And ask yourself, “What now? I’m wrong. The opposite is true. Now what?”
3. Okay, and the last tool I want to give you is based on the idea that our brain thinks that being wrong will cost us something—it likes to hold on to being right because it thinks there is too much to lose in being wrong.
I like to get around this by telling myself, “I have everything to gain by being wrong about this and nothing to gain by being right.”
When we have thoughts that are causing us pain or keeping us stuck or preventing our progress, we have everything to gain by being wrong about it and nothing to gain by being right.
Ask yourself, “What would I gain if I was wrong?” And see what becomes available to you.
Being willing to be wrong is the start to believing something new and that is how we make progress in our lives. Your brain doesn’t want to be wrong but there is truly no danger in being wrong and you have to remind it of that.
The more you can be willing to be wrong in the areas where you are stuck or that are causing you pain, the more forward progress and change and relief you will get. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome!
Mentioned on the podcast:
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Access transcripts for the podcast here
Brooke Castillo’s podcast: The Life Coach School Podcast
Read more about Einstein vs. Bohr
Seth Godin’s podcast: Akimbo
Byron Katie: “Who would you be without this thought?”
Seinfeld Episode “George Costanza Does the Opposite”