The Uncommon Virtue of High Performers: Embracing Being Wrong

In a world that often equates being right with success, it’s surprising to discover a rare trait among high performers: they actually enjoy being wrong. This counterintuitive quality is not about celebrating failure but about embracing the opportunities that come from recognizing one’s mistakes. This article delves into how this mindset not only distinguishes high achievers but also fosters a culture of growth and innovation.

The Paradox of Being Wrong

Traditionally, success has been linked to certainty, confidence, and always having the right answers. However, high performers break this mold. They understand that being wrong is an integral part of the learning process. This paradox lies at the heart of their growth mindset. By embracing their mistakes, they open themselves up to new perspectives and continuous learning.

The Power of Different Viewpoints

One key aspect of enjoying being wrong is the willingness to consider different viewpoints. High performers are not threatened by opinions that contradict their own. Instead, they see them as an opportunity to understand a broader range of perspectives. This approach leads to more well-rounded decision-making and fosters a more inclusive environment where all voices are valued.

Owning Mistakes: A Catalyst for Growth

Admitting and owning mistakes is not a sign of weakness but of strength. High performers are quick to acknowledge their errors, not to self-flagellate, but to learn and improve. This attitude transforms setbacks into stepping stones. By owning their mistakes, they set an example that encourages others to take risks and innovate without fear of failure.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

The crux of enjoying being wrong lies in cultivating a growth mindset. Carol Dweck, a renowned psychologist, defines a growth mindset as the belief that one’s abilities and intelligence can be developed over time. High performers embody this mindset. They view challenges as opportunities to grow, rather than insurmountable obstacles. This mindset keeps them resilient and adaptable in the face of change.

The Ripple Effect in Organizations

When leaders and high performers in organizations embrace being wrong, it creates a ripple effect. It fosters a culture where learning from mistakes is valued over pretending to be infallible. This culture encourages innovation, as team members feel safe to experiment and propose unconventional ideas.


The rare trait of enjoying being wrong is a hallmark of high performers. It signifies a deeper understanding that being right all the time is not only unrealistic but also a barrier to growth and innovation. By embracing different viewpoints, owning their mistakes, and cultivating a growth mindset, these individuals not only achieve personal success but also contribute to creating a more dynamic, inclusive, and forward-thinking environment. This mindset, perhaps paradoxical at first glance, is indeed a powerful catalyst for continuous improvement and enduring success.

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