The Power of Admitting Wrongness and Embracing Opportunity: A Path to Innovation


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 24, 2023

3 min read


The Power of Admitting Wrongness and Embracing Opportunity: A Path to Innovation


In a world driven by progress and innovation, it is crucial for individuals and societies to acknowledge their fallibility and embrace the potential for growth. This article explores two seemingly unrelated topics: the connection between migration and academic success, and the importance of admitting one's wrongness. Surprisingly, these topics share common ground in the pursuit of innovation and personal development.

The Link between Migration and Academic Success:

A study by Agrawal et al (2023) reveals that migrants are twice as likely to be employed in academia as mathematicians compared to individuals from the same country with similar math scores who did not migrate. This highlights the impact of migration on career opportunities and the potential for immigrants to excel in their chosen fields. America, in particular, has been a hub for scientific research and innovation due to its historical high immigration rates. By providing a strong foundation and opportunities for immigrants, the country has fostered a culture of innovation and progress.

The Impact of Fulbright Requirements:

Kahn and MacGarvie (2016) found that leaving the USA due to Fulbright requirements is associated with significantly fewer publications and citations received, particularly in high-impact journals. This sheds light on the challenges migrants face when navigating different academic systems and requirements. Despite the hurdles, it is essential to recognize the strength and resilience of migrants who continue to contribute to the scientific community.

Embracing the Power of Admitting Wrongness:

In a society that often shies away from admitting mistakes, it is crucial to acknowledge the power of embracing wrongness. Author Kathryn Schulz defines being wrong as a deviation from external reality or an internal upheaval in our beliefs. However, accepting our fallibility and moving on from blunders can provide solace and growth. The psychological theory of cognitive dissonance, as explained by Adam Fetterman, suggests that people often reject new information or create new cognitions to eliminate the discomfort caused by admitting wrongness. This fear of rejection by our fellow humans inhibits our ability to admit and learn from our mistakes.

The Surprising Benefits of Admitting Wrongness:

Contrary to popular belief, admitting wrongness can actually improve our reputation. Fetterman's research demonstrates that acknowledging one's mistakes can foster trust and respect from others. This realization challenges our perception of being wrong and encourages a more open and accepting society. By normalizing wrongness, we can create an environment that allows individuals to embrace their fallibility and make room for personal growth.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace a Growth Mindset: Cultivate a mindset that sees mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth. Instead of fearing judgment, view admitting wrongness as a chance to improve and develop.
  • 2. Practice Vulnerability: Be willing to admit mistakes without making excuses. By genuinely stating, "I was wrong," you show authenticity and build trust with others.
  • 3. Foster a Culture of Acceptance: Encourage a culture that normalizes wrongness and views it as a stepping stone towards progress. By embracing fallibility collectively, we create an environment conducive to innovation and personal development.


Innovation and personal growth are intertwined with the ability to acknowledge wrongness and embrace opportunities. The connection between migration and academic success highlights the importance of providing immigrants with the tools and opportunities to thrive. Simultaneously, the power of admitting wrongness challenges societal norms and encourages a mindset of growth and self-improvement. By incorporating the actionable advice of embracing a growth mindset, practicing vulnerability, and fostering a culture of acceptance, we can pave the way for innovation, progress, and personal development.

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