3 Words The Most Successful and Productive People Use That Most People Are Scared To Say according to Research

Ever said something you instantly regretted like when you got into a heated argument and said something mean, did something to someone in an episode of anger?

We’ve all been there, we’re human.

But…what separates the high achievers, the super productive , successful people  from the rest of us in these moments? 

It’s not the mistake itself, but the three little words that follow

Now, hear me out on this because if you can do this, you’re going to unlock a superpower that not only is the right thing to do, but is going to allow you to move on from mistakes and unleash your potential.

Those three words… “I was wrong.”

And here’s the thing…

Saying “I was wrong” not only empowers us to learn and grow, but also makes us appear smarter, more communal, and downright friendly in the eyes of others.

To test this theory, we turn to researchers who have looked at this…. A 2019 study called “On the willingness to admit wrongness” they investigated how people perceive those who acknowledge their mistakes. 

Researchers created scenarios where individuals either owned up to being wrong or stuck to their guns. Guess what? 

Those who said “I was wrong” weren’t judged as any less competent. 

In fact, the study found they were actually seen as more intelligent, more cooperative, and more likable.

Why the positive perception shift? Admitting error taps into our fundamental need for connection. 

It shows humility, a willingness to learn, and a respect for others’ perspectives.

 It essentially says, “Hey, I’m human, I mess up, but I’m also open to growing.” 

That kind of vulnerability fosters trust and strengthens relationships.

Now, saying “I was wrong” isn’t always easy. Our egos scream at us to defend, to deflect, to blame.

But remember, admitting a mistake doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person who takes responsibility, who values growth over pride, and who understands that even the highest achievers are, well, still human.

So the next time you trip up, whether it’s a work blunder or a social misstep, take a deep breath and embrace the power of “I was wrong.” You might just surprise yourself with the positive ripple effect it creates. You’ll learn, you’ll grow, and you’ll earn some bonus points in the “likability” department. Remember, the only true mistake is staying stuck in the wrong. 

Embrace the learning curve, and let those three little words be your mantra: “I was wrong, and that’s how I become better.”

Your move.

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