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The Art of Being Wrong: How Our Writers Made Impactful Changes

The Doe Team

by The Doe Team

| July 7, 2022

How to be wrong, the right way: Learning from mistakes is more than saying “I’m sorry.”

One of the biggest roadblocks in discourse is learning to be wrong. Unless we recognize our mistakes, we can’t be receptive to new ideas and change our lives for the better.

But learning from mistakes can be challenging because admitting to being wrong isn’t easy. Not only do you need to recognize your mistakes but you must also be willing to change. It takes more than saying “I’m sorry” and returning to the comfort zone.

Let’s explore how Doe writers learned what it means to be wrong and how they moved forward.

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Willingness Is the First Step To Change

The author of this article started exploring YouTube videos from right-wing pundits and fell for content that fed on his ignorance and entitlement. Soon, he realized his political belief system was warped and he needed to unlearn the propaganda.

“I was lying to myself—I hadn’t been watching, viewing and reading this content critically. Instead, I was binging through it as easy entertainment and I had begun to absorb these far-right arguments. A sort of doublethink had started, where I was outwardly, performatively liberal, yet inwardly more and more suspicious of Islam, feminism and the trans lobby.”

Fortunately, he saw through the tactics and formulas far-right YouTubers use to convert young white men. He came to recognize the hatred under their facade of rationality and moderation. But most importantly, he caught himself in time, was willing to admit his mistake and revisited his point of view critically.

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Redefining an Issue Through a Different Lens

This author had been a longtime critic of Facebook. But after they spent four years trying to understand what a healthier social media network could look like if implemented at scale, they netted out as cynically sympathetic toward Facebook.

“I’m not trying to defend Facebook per se, but to push back on Hollywood celebrities and public intellectuals who righteously and errantly are calling for Facebook’s dismantling. It’s an effort to highlight how complicated and dangerous of a world we now find ourselves in, with respect to social media, and how removing Facebook from the equation does little to make that world any less complicated and dangerous. In fact, it could very likely make it worse.”

This writer concluded that our best bet might be to accept Facebook for what it is—a for-profit company. They realized maybe we shouldn’t expect it to have the architecture and governance of a governmental body and rely on it to think critically on our behalf.

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Beyond A or B: Finding Option C

This article's author suffered post-abortion stress syndrome (PASS) after an abortion that she considered “no big deal” as a pro-choicer. As much as she denied the impacts of such a procedure, she found out that she experienced the emotional and biopsychological aftermath.

Eventually, she became a single mother by choice and realized how she judged others’ reproductive choices was wrong. She recognized the limited view of the pro-choice movement and revisited her stance.

She viewed the issue from a new perspective—going beyond pro-choice versus pro-life to “pro-option.” Instead of being fixated on a predetermined set of should’s and shouldn'ts, we must listen to the vast range of experiences and explore new avenues to support people of all genders in their decisions, whether they choose to have a baby or not.

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The Courage to Lose the Security Blanket

This author reveals what goes on behind the scenes of a 90-plus-year-old family-owned and family-run business. While things seemed to be going well from the outside, she soon realized working in the family business was a mistake.

“I soon discovered how exhausting and emotionally draining living up to nine decades of history actually is. It took me all of three years to realize I wanted out…Family businesses can be extremely toxic and detrimental to one’s mental health and even tear those families apart if they’re not handled with extreme care.”

Although the author was grateful for the opportunity and proud to be part of her family’s legacy, she had the courage to make the choice to exercise her creativity and build a life for herself—not one planned for her even before she was born.

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Long-Term Success Needs a Long-Term Strategy

Many mistakes can’t be fixed overnight. We make them repeatedly because our mind uses the behaviors as a coping mechanism. For example, these authors struggled to quit social media and porn, and it took them persistence, support and time to end their addictions.

“The largest hurdle I faced was that the addiction was tied to feelings of shame and guilt. When I watched porn, I would spiral into more and more consumption as a way to cope. It took a new mindset to start pushing me away from this addiction…I recognized the paradigm I had created, and I began to imagine that I could change.” - NiceDonut

Writer Landroid can relate, saying, “‘I feel something is wrong…I stare at my phone for hours and it feels like I can’t stop.’” Knowing and admitting the mistake is a critical first step, but we also need to get to the bottom of the issue, put in the ongoing effort and set up the checks and balances to prevent us from slipping back into the past.

How to Be Wrong, the Right Way

Being wrong is part of life. But we have the power to turn crises into opportunities.

Learning from mistakes means we must be willing to admit that we’re wrong. We must be ready to question old assumptions and unlearn past behaviors. We should consider the issue from different perspectives, be open to options we haven’t thought of before and have the courage to do what’s necessary. 

Enjoy the stories we shared here? Explore other anonymous narratives to expand your perspective on how people around the world are changing their lives for the better.

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