Guest Curator: Emily Westergaard Hamilton
We’ve invited members of our TEDxDesMoines community to “guest curate” a blog post highlighting their favorite TED and TEDx talks, and tell us how the talks have inspired them to turn ideas into action. If you’re interested in sharing via a guest post, please e-mail TEDxDesMoines@gmail.com.
Guest Curator: Emily Westergaard Hamilton, Executive Director of the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation, which works with low-income kids to ensure that they develop the skills they need to stay in school and are prepared for life after high school.
Favorite TED talk: Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong
Favorite quote from the video: “What does being wrong feel like? It feels like being right.”
What resonated with you/inspired you about this speaker’s message?
I first saw this video at TEDxDesMoines in 2011. I’ve probably watched it a dozen times since then. Kathryn Schultz argues that one of our greatest vulnerabilities is our aversion to being wrong. We’re taught from a young age that being wrong means we’re dumb or lazy, when, in fact, understanding when we’re wrong can help us learn so much about ourselves, our believes, and our biases. But recognizing that we’re wrong means that we learn something new – we’re introduced to a new perspective. We learn more by being wrong – by having our beliefs challenged – than we do just assuming that we’re right.
Schultz asks the question – “What does being wrong feel like?” You might answer that it feels uncomfortable or embarrassing. But that’s not what being wrong feels like. That’s what it feels like when we realize we’re wrong. Actually being wrong – before we realize it – feels just like being right. And that’s dangerous.
Where do you go to find inspiration?
I simply look around me at my friends, my family, and my community. I’m surrounded by people I admire who are doing new things, innovative things, crazy things! Things I’d never think to do, or that I’d never have the courage to do. It’s inspiring to know that there are so many of us trying and exploring and challenging others and learning from each other.
Do you apply anything you learned from this video to your personal or professional life?
We usually assume we’re right – about politics, job decisions, or arguments with our friends and family – unless someone else proves we’re wrong. We tend to insist that we’re right, because, as Schultz says, ‘we’re afraid that getting something wrong means there’s something wrong with us.
What would happen if instead we were able to stop, step outside of ourselves and take a look at our positions? If we could think about it from another perspective, would we see that we’re wrong? Or at least, that others may be right, too?
Since TEDxDesMoines 2011, I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to stop and think about things from other perspectives. Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe I’ve got my blinders on and I’m missing some information that would change my position. Maybe I’m just so bent on being right that I’m not willing to look at something another way.
WATCH THE TALK