Kevin Styba-Nelson is a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School.

Column: Being open to changing your viewpoint

Kevin Styba-Nelson is a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School.

I want there to be a new common principle.

I’m really hoping I can coin the term Kevin’s Confidence, and we can call someone that’s full of Kevin’s Confidence a classic Kevin’s Idiot.

My hope is it’s taken somewhat like Occam’s razor, the philosophy principle that states the simplest answer is most often the correct one.

But instead, I want it to state the less willing someone is to admit they are wrong, the more likely they are to be wrong.

If someone believes so strongly in something that they are totally unwilling to give up their view or compromise on a solution, then they probably have good reason for thinking they are correct.

However, if we look a little bit deeper it really does not work out that way.

And as you will see, this principle can be extremely valuable for judging someone’s views. The flip side of this idea is really one of the greatest principles anyone could live there life by.

To anyone that’s read this far, you may be thinking that I am just some kid that’s so full of himself, I’m willing to tell everyone they’re wrong.

Hold onto that anger, because I am about to start agreeing with you a lot. Yours truly here spends most his time around the similarly-aged people that attend his high school. I completely agree, if you want to find a group with a high percentage of people arrogantly full of themselves, look no further.

Being thrown this curve ball of realizing you get to think and chose whatever thoughts or opinions you want has that effect on so many young people. But on the contrary, it has the exact opposite effect on many people as well.

These people seem to slowly form and change ideas over long periods of time. Unlike the hardline idealists, this second group seems to let their ideas evolve and transform with new information.

Now, not every teenager you meet will fit one of these two categories, and most people are often a mixture of holding some opinions strongly while some opinions are open to compromise.

But for the sake of outlining this idea, lets take a look at these two kinds of people, or rather two ways of holding an opinion, because as a high school student I get great sample size of them.

First, the hardline idealists. They hear a fact or a compelling argument and form their opinion based on the truth they see.

They will solidly defend that stance because they believe they are correct. It is an admirable devotion and without a doubt it has its uses.

The only problem here is that people are wrong a lot. I’m wrong, you’re wrong and everybody is wrong sometimes.

Think about how many wrong things other people do or how many people think incorrect things. I am one of those people and you are one of those people, because everyone is one of those people. Absolutely nobody is perfect.

So what about the other group? Well, if you tell one of those idealists they are wrong, they will challenge you and tell you they are right.

However, if you tell someone that slowly assembles their opinions and changes them over time that they are wrong, the weirdest thing will happen—they listen to you.

They will pick apart what you say and, even if only a quarter of it is true, they recognize and think about it and change their opinion based on this new truth they perceive.

It’s crazy, but the more right you think you are, the more likely you are to be wrong about something. The most fundamental part to knowing the truth about anything is admitting you’re wrong.

So don’t be a Kevin’s Idiot, full of that classic Kevin’s Confidence.

Be wrong, because we all stand a chance to be right.

Kevin Styba-Nelson is a Grade 12 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School.

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