How to Admit You are Wrong – The Key to Graceful Humility

May 25, 2011

Admitting you are wrong to anyone, in any situation, can be uncomfortable at best; it can also be utterly humiliating. Yet, you can make admitting you are in the wrong easy on yourself and your pride. One of Dale Carnegie’s main beliefs is “If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.”

Here are some tips to help admit your mistakes and some benefits that come as a result.


  • The first step is simple: take a deep breath and realize your mistakes. A little bit of willingness can go a long way in changing your ways. Realize that mistakes happen and admitting so makes you human. Showing that you make mistakes and taking responsibility for them shows that you are human, and a dignified one at that.
  • Watch your tone of voice. Keep a neutral, even keel tone of voice, admit you were wrong, apologize, and back down. Ask to be enlightened in the truth in a respectful way, not sarcastically.
  • Maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking to. Keeping eye contact will show the other person that your mistake has not led you to lose confidence.
  • Lastly, move on from your mistake. Forget about your mistake and learn from it. You may be left feeling embarrassed but realize that your audience may have already forgotten about the mishap.


  • Admitting you are wrong also requires less maintenance than keeping up the act of being right when you really aren’t. Demanding perfection from yourself only sets you up for failure. Be easy on yourself because realizing you are wrong is a lot less stressful than making yourself, and others, believe you are right.
  • High self esteem is also associating with admitting you are wrong. Self-esteem is related to who you believe you are no matter what the situation; having high self-esteem shows that you are happy with yourself whether you are right or wrong.
  • When you admit you are wrong, you become more tolerant of others’ mistakes. Being critical of others’ mistakes makes you hypocritical when you are in the wrong too. Admitting your mistakes also helps you be more open-minded. It creates a more accepting environment for your opinions with others as well as others’ opinions with yourself.

Admitting you are wrong can be one of the most fretting and embarrassing things you may do, but it proves that you are human and willing to better yourself. Feel free to leave any comments on this article or share some of your stories about admitting you are wrong!

This post is brought to you by Dale Carnegie Training Benelux, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in the Netherlands. Please connect with us on Facebook.

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