MIDWAY: We can go wrong

During one of my classes recently, I pointed out to my professor that he had spelled a word wrong. But instead of accepting it, he insisted that he was right. Likewise, most of us are hesitant to accept our mistakes. Instead we attempt to show that we are correct by putting forth a thousand lame excuses. When was the last time a politician accepted that he had been involved in corruption? Or when has a businessman ever admitted to fleecing his customers? Even when they are apprehended for wrongdoing, they continue to protest their

innocence in court.

If someone points out that we are wrong, not only do we not accept our mistake, but we also pour our ire on them. Far from apologising to them, we adopt a holier-than-thou stance. For similar reasons, it is never the parents or the teachers who are in the wrong, but always the poor children. I personally know many people who have severed relationships only because they were advised to correct their mistakes. I hear my friends in the West tell me how quick people there are to accept their mistakes and offer a swift apology. They never fail to say sorry when they are in the wrong. I am in no way implying that the West is in anyway superior to the East. Only that we could learn a thing or two from them just as they might learn some etiquette from the East.

A friend of mine was denied a visa to a foreign country. However, when he demanded clarification, he was duly provided with one. My friend could then explain himself more clearly. Finally, he was able to convince the visa officer that he deserved a visa. Accepting his previous mistake, the officer even shook hands and congratulated my friend.

In our country, the practice is just the opposite. No matter how weak our argument, we keep insisting that we are correct. I have not been immune from this folly myself. For instance, I had never been aware that my long hair was anybody’s concern. I kept justifying or refusing to talk about it. But when one of my students pointed out that my hair was very long as compared to theirs, I quickly realised my mistake, got my hair trimmed the same evening. We should learn to accept and correct our mistakes before we point a finger at others.