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TRG Blog

Are you infected with “fear of being wrong” phobia?

Posted by Thu Le on

Many of us do not like to admit that we are in the wrong. The power of being ‘right’ takes control of your judgement, turns into an obsession, an irrational fear which could put pressure on yourself or put a strain on many relationships.

Fear of being wrong

We all try to avoid making mistakes at all costs. But what if being wrong is actually the first step of being right? Kathryn Schulz, the writer at The New Yorker and a self-proclaimed "Wrongologist", spent five years researching what would happen if things are done wrong. According to Kathryn, “when we try to be right all the time, it might mean that we're doing it, well, all wrong.”

Read more: Which ingredient spices up the success recipe

Let’s pause and think for a moment whether you frequently encounter the listed below thoughts and pay extra attention if you notice they are indeed on the rise.

You are afraid of being fired, demoted, or criticised

You are fixated on only one path: the correct one, and you steer clear of any other path simply because you do not want to suffer the consequences. People who live in fear of being fired tend to mask their true feelings and just go with the flow even when these requests are unreasonable. 

You don’t want others to think you are incompetent

Even at a young age, we were taught to always get good grades, a fail in a test would result in an unsuccessful future. If it was a mistake made due to the lack of experience, then you won’t be so hard on yourself. However, if you are an expert in the field, you always take pride in it, then making a mistake feels pretty much like your ego is shattered. You would blame yourself thinking if you can’t do this right then there’s nothing else you could do.

The mistake would ruin your reputation

You are a perfectionist and having a mistake in your list among other perfectly great things likes a spec of dirt on a white canvas. You view your mistake as unacceptable, you’re no longer the expert.

Being wrong does not make you look bad, it makes you a human. Without trials and errors, there would not be innovations as we all know today: no internet, no mobile phones, no medical advancements, nobody landed on the moon, etc. Do you know what the percentage of loss profit start-ups make during their first 2 years is? It is a number that guarantees to upset anyone.

Yes, no one likes to be proven wrong but pressuring yourself is not the right choice either. Pressuring yourself will not improve your productivity. Researches have shown that productivity increases in accordance with pressure until they reach equilibrium, then they will decline. It is also worth noted that when you try your hardest to stay away from mistakes, that is when you are most prone to errors.

Read more: Essential leadership & management skills that will help you succeed anywhere

Stay tuned for our next blog post where our TRG Talent team will discuss ways to manage individuals who are suffering ”fear of being wrong” phobia.

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