Research Uncovers Three Words the Most successful and Productive People Use that Most are Scared to Say

Ever said something you instantly regretted? We’ve all been there. But what separates the high achievers, the super productive folks, from the rest in these moments? It’s not the mistake itself, but three words.

Today we’re talking about why these three words elevate you and how people see you, what the research says and how to do it correctly because it’s not just as simple as saying the three words.

What are the three words? I was wrong…and here’s the thing, saying those three words unlocks a super power. Let me explain…

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

A  2019 study titled “On the willingness to admit wrongness” 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? 

The folks who said “I was wrong” weren’t judged as any less competent. In fact, the researchers 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 the the other person. 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.

Here’s a key element, you just can’t say it, you actually need to genuinely mean you’re sorry because as it turns out humans can tell when you’re just doing it for effect. I’m sure you’ve witnessed it.

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’ll surprise yourself with the positive ripple effect it creates in yourself and how people perceive you.

Your move.

If you liked this post you’ll ❤️ the…PRODUCTIVITY Podcast I host where you get a daily dose of productivity in LESS than 4 minutes a day.