It raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes. – Dale Carnegie
Last week we explored why no one else should ever be tagged as being ‘wrong’! Without belittling ourselves we should be strong enough to admit, and without equivocation, when we are wrong. Let’s leave no question on the table that in any situation where we’re wrong, everyone involved should know so, we can then move on… Such an approach will go a long way in building trust and guaranteeing long term relationships…
12th Dale Carnegie Principle: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
Here’s an illustrative story from the book:
Ferdinand E. Warren, a commercial artist, used this technique to win the good will of a petulant, scolding buyer of art.
"It is important, in making drawings for advertising and publishing purposes, to be precise and very exact," Mr. Warren said as he told the story.
"Some art editors demand that their commissions be executed immediately; and in these cases, some slight error is liable to occur. I knew one art director in particular who was always delighted to find fault with some little thing. I have often left his office in disgust, not because of the criticism, but because of his method of attack. Recently I delivered a rush job to this editor, and he phoned me to call at his office immediately. He said something was wrong. When I arrived, I found just what I had anticipated – and dreaded. He was hostile, gloating over his chance to criticize. He demanded with heat why I had done so and so. My opportunity had come to apply the self-criticism I had been studying about. So I said: ”Mr. So-and-so, if what you say is true, I am at fault and there is absolutely no excuse for my blunder. I have been doing drawings for you long enough to know bet-ter. I’m ashamed of myself.’
"Immediately he started to defend me. ‘Yes, you’re right, but after all, this isn’t a serious mistake. It is only -‘
"I interrupted him. ‘Any mistake,’ I said, ‘may be costly and they are all irritating.’
"He started to break in, but I wouldn’t let him. I was having a grand time. For the first time in my life, I was criticizing myself – and I loved it.
" ‘I should have been more careful,’ I continued. ‘You give me a lot of work, and you deserve the best; so I’m going to do this drawing all over.’
" ‘No! No!’ he protested. ‘I wouldn’t think of putting you to all that trouble.’ He praised my work, assured me that he wanted only a minor change and that my slight error hadn’t cost his firm any money; and, after all, it was a mere detail – not worth worrying about.
"My eagerness to criticize myself took all the fight out of him. He ended up by taking me to lunch; and before we parted, he gave me a check and another commission"
There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors. It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error.
Daily Affirmation: Today I readily admit it when I’m wrong!
Recommendation: How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie