The Importance of Admitting a Big Mistake

Eliezer hits it on the head again:

After I had finally and fully admitted my mistake, I looked back upon the path that had led me to my Awful Realization.  And I saw that I had made a series of small concessions, minimal concessions, grudgingly conceding each millimeter of ground, realizing as little as possible of my mistake on each occasion, admitting failure only in small tolerable nibbles.  I could have moved so much faster, I realized, if I had simply screamed "OOPS!" 

And I thought:  I must raise the level of my game.

There is a powerful advantage to admitting you have made a large mistake.  It’s painful.  It can also change your whole life.

It is important to have the watershed moment, the moment of humbling realization.  To acknowledge a fundamental problem, not divide it into palatable bite-size mistakes.

Do not indulge in drama and become proud of admitting errors. It is surely superior to get it right the first time.  But if you do make an error, better by far to see it all at once.  Even hedonically, it is better to take one large loss than many small ones.  The alternative is stretching out the battle with yourself over years.  The alternative is Enron.

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