He Who Hates Correction is Stupid

A few years ago I came across a Bible proverb that grabbed my attention as it seemed so absurd:

Whoever who hates correction is stupid.”

Let’s be honest, none of us like being corrected. We all know that we’re not perfect; but who likes our faults pointed out? Especially when we think we’ve done quite a good job.

I remember the first time I went through the exercise of listening to a talk I’d given. Before I listened to it, I thought I’d given quite a good talk. However I was amazed to find that I had repeated most of my statements three times. I don’t stutter, but every point I made, I rephrased very slightly and said it again, and then again!  I’m glad I hadn’t been in the audience!

And then came the experience of watching a video of a talk I’d given. The camera was merciless. Every time I scratched my head, or said ‘umm’ or ‘ahh’ was visible to me in full glory. Ouch! Not recommended for the faint-hearted, or even the thick-skinned.

No, none of us like being corrected.

Although the proverb was probably written about 2,500 years ago by King Solomon, I did think he was being a bit stupid for thinking that we enjoyed being corrected.

But a few days later as I was working on some typing, it dawned on me.

I had just typed a spelling mistake, which my computer program kindly underlined for me. Without thinking, I corrected the mistake, grateful that I wasn’t sending the document with such a silly mistake.

I realised that having a mistake corrected wasn’t really a big deal, and avoided me looking stupid in public. So perhaps Solomon was right after all. Yes, I should be grateful if someone corrected me, rather than becoming defensive and arguing about it.

I still find it difficult when friends point out my mistakes, but at the end of the day, I have to agree, “He who hates correction is stupid”.

  • Good thoughts Suneel. A useful reminder to embrace correction, where needed.