“You Always Think You’re Right!”

I once had someone tell me something along these lines, delivered as a sort of condemnation.

This is one of the trickier attacks a person can make on your character. It’s effective because it makes you seem like an arrogant person. Broken down, though, it doesn’t make much sense.

By definition, you believe your beliefs are correct, or else you wouldn’t hold them. You may understand and acknowledge at a meta level that you are probably wrong about some of them, but this doesn’t change the fact that you sincerely think your individual beliefs are correct, or as correct as they can be.

This is true of every human being, and it is true of the accuser as well.

We always think *we* are right, even if we know we (statistically speaking) won’t always hit the target. And I have no moral obligation to discount my beliefs because you hold yours strongly, just as you have no obligation to discount yours for me. Morality does not come into play, and character is not at question. The only question should be “can you convince me otherwise?”

If you cannot convince me to change my mind, you bet I will continue to think I am right. And I won’t feel guilty for that.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at jameswalpole.com.

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