The Art of Being Wrong

“It’s okay to be wrong! Just share your ideas!”

We’ve all heard it and never believed it.
So we keep our hands down and settle with the new reality that no one will ever hear our thoughts because we were too afraid of being wrong, too afraid of embarrassing ourselves because we didn’t know every single detail.

And I’m no different.
I was and am still so afraid and fearful of being wrong that I refrain from letting others hear my voice – a voice that has the potential to change the world and change others’ perspectives. A voice like any other.
What would they think of me if I wasn’t right? Would they think that I wasn’t smart enough? Would they make fun of me in the hallways? Would they ignore me the next time I decided to raise my hand and had something “right” to say?

But as my last year of high school nears the end, I realize that being wrong was probably the best thing I could’ve done during my four years in this institution of learning. Because being wrong shouldn’t scare us, it should exhilarate us. There are so many things in this world that we don’t know about, so many things that we each have a totally different opinion on, and so many things we aren’t educated enough about.

Being wrong inspires discussion, it inspires innovation, and it inspires revolution. We shouldn’t be afraid to raise our hands – we should shoot them into the sky, waiting for a chance for someone to correct us so that we may learn more. Easier said than done, I know. I don’t believe myself either sometimes. But I’ve become so nervous of being wrong that it’s hindered the times that I am right. Isn’t sharing our thoughts and ideas more important than not sharing them to save ourselves from a brief moment of embarrassment? No one will ever remember that ONE time you weren’t 100% on point. People remember the time that you made them see something in a different light. They remember the time that you challenged an idea because you didn’t agree. You might’ve been wrong, but who cares? You decided to speak up and out.

Being wrong is nothing to be ashamed of. Especially not in high school. Schools were made for us as students to make mistakes; it was made for us to learn from them and to continue to challenge and to think because that is what this institution is really for. A true scholar is not always right. A true scholar is someone who is willing to learn and continue to learn.

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the author

Frances Lee is a senior at Gretchen Whitney High School who finds a special importance in students having a voice and the inherent power in volunteering. She is currently the proud president of Pen on Paper and Key Club and has fallen in love with TEDxWhitneyHigh, a conference she has organized for the past 3 years to share "ideas worth spreading" with her community. Throughout her high school career, Frances has undergone a variety of experiences from traveling to Ecuador to writing a blog to barely overcoming her phobia of public speaking. She aspires to inspire others and to be inspired by her peers every day.

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