Yesterday I was listening to a podcast with Mike Krieger (co-founder of Instagram) and at one point during the interview he mentioned how important the idea of “maybe being wrong but not confused” was to him and his co-founder. He said a couple of other interesting things in the interview but this is definitely what stuck with me because I think that it’s a great principle to live be.
“You might be wrong but don’t be confused”
The fundamental point of this idea is that you should understand the risks and trade-offs that come with your choices. Although understanding what you’re getting to does not eliminate the possibility of being wrong, it does allow you to follow a path even when distraction and doubt arise.
In my opinion there is an interesting tension here because in life we should be open to change and to many of us confusion is a precursor to the realization that we need to change something. For example, if I am trying to learn how to program a web application and I feel confused about the material or the project that I am doing, then maybe it’s a good sign for me to change the way that I am learning the material or the project that I am working on. Having said so, you still want to be convinced that your overall goal is worth it before you start so that when challenges like this come up you just don’t “stay confused” and give up.
I think that the key takeaway from this thought experiment is that before I make important decisions I will run this prompt in my mind and see whether I fully understand that I might be wrong but I am not confused about what I am about to embark on. If I am not fully convinced, then perhaps I am not ready to make the decision. This might sound crazy but I think it could be super useful for a lot of different decisions including taking new jobs, pursuing graduate school and even (perhaps?) marriage!