Episode 129 – Willing to Be Wrong

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It’s tough to be wrong about something. And, often embarrassing to reflect on all of the choices, comments, and insights you shared from that place of not knowing you were wrong.

That’s the interesting thing about being wrong. There often isn’t a feeling or admission of being wrong until we step into new awareness that, well, you might be wrong about something.

But, we can make a choice. Today, perhaps, to question the things that we have strong opinions and feelings about. Are we wrong? Or, could we explore how the other person could be right? Is there any harm in questioning our own fact finding and assumption making?

It’s at least something to entertain once in a while in a world that is filled with news bombardment, finger pointing, name calling, and judgement.

We may find that we are more open to new information and ways of thinking in some moments while digging in our heels the next.

It’s a tricky business taking that moment to ask yourself – Am I willing to be wrong on this idea, person, place, or thing?

And, of course, what you will choose to do about it once you recognize an opportunity to change.

Episode 129 Transcript

This is Rebecca Clark Episode 129 willing to be wrong. This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? Yeah. Mhm. Mhm mm hmm. The secret to being wrong isn’t to avoid being wrong. The secret is being willing to be wrong. The secret is realizing that wrong isn’t fatal. That quote is from my friend Seth Godin. He does not know we are friends, but I have read many of his books and love many of his thoughts. He talks about offering up your best work. And often combined in this discussion is the idea that we have been taught in our cultures and societies that it’s wrong to be wrong. It’s bad to make mistakes and to strive to learn a lot and apply what we’ve learned so that we don’t make mistakes. So we avoid errors and issues, that’s exactly what not to do if you’re trying to offer up your best work because part of the process is exploring and experimenting and being willing to look at challenges and problems in different ways and find solutions. I really enjoyed learning from Kathryn Schulz who wrote being wrong and she shares an analogy that I really like and it has to do with the road runner and the coyote. Now this is in a cartoon for many years ago where the road runner which is a bird word run quickly across the desert and the coyotes trying to catch it for its dinner And the road Runner often goes over cliffs and doesn’t matter because the road Runner is a bird. So going off a cliff is no problem. It just gives extra air to take flight. But the coyote will fall if it goes off a cliff. But in the cartoon it doesn’t show the coyote falling until it realizes it doesn’t have ground beneath it. Right? So you see him run off the cliff, pause in mid air and go, oh shoot and then drop. And then of course he’s always fine because it’s a cartoon and they just show a bunch of stars and have their eyes roll and they’re up back and running after each other. And what’s interesting about this analogy is that this is similar to how some of the difficult things in life go for us. So for example, I’ve mentioned this before. There could be someone in your family that dies or a friend that dies and you don’t know about it for a week and you are just going through your week acting as if nothing is wrong. And then you find out that they died. And in that moment where you find out that they died, there’s all kinds of different emotions depending upon your relationship with that person sadness, despair, hurt, regret, all kinds of difficult emotions can arise in that moment. But the reality is there was nothing wrong in your mind until you found out about it. Now. Some could say, oh well I had a feeling last week that something was wrong and I wish I had acted upon it. And that makes sense, right? Because we do have those impressions at times. But other times we are completely taken off guard And realise, Wait A. 2nd. The world is not what I thought it was last week. Now that I found out about it, I’m aware of it and I’m going to show up differently, right? I’m gonna reach out, I’m going to find out how I can help what’s going on. I’m so sad, that kind of thing. But we did not do any of that until we were aware that there was something wrong that there was something off that something happened, that we didn’t realize happened and this happens all the time in our lives. And right now, it’s very interesting in the world to see how interconnected we are. And so we’re being made aware of so much news on a daily basis and with that increased awareness. We can increase our emotional response to it, right? We become more aware of something that we did not know was going on or that something we thought was a certain way, really isn’t that certain way. And then we get to deal with the new emotions that come along with that though this is playing out on the world stage every day. We also have interpersonal interactions where we get to decide how to respond to being wrong about something when our boss points out that something’s wrong that you didn’t do something correctly or that you weren’t thinking about it in the way that helps the project? What happens when you realize that something’s wrong with your spouse or with your child or with your neighbor? How do you respond in that moment? Sometimes you want to immediately justify our point of view or why we did something we did. Sometimes we’re extremely affected by it. Were embarrassed and we want to just run and hide or cry whatever. Sometimes we build up our defenses even more to find further evidence for why we aren’t wrong, why we are right. And there’s no need for you to think a new way. So pay attention in these moments because some of these things come from our human ability to think that we are making the best possible decisions and that we are smart enough to read information and discern what that means. And so we come to situations with far more assumptions than facts. But in our mind we flip it. So I think we have more facts than assumptions. So I’d offer today a nudge to pay attention to your interactions with the world and notice if you are trying to be right and in the process of trying to be right in every transaction or interaction, are you willing to step back and ask yourself what if I am wrong about this idea or this person or this place or this thing? What if I’m thinking about it all wrong? What if there’s another option? What if there’s a different way of thinking about this that completely changes my mind about it. What if that person is being thoughtful and knows and understands more than I do? What if I don’t know it all? And what if I could be more open to the possibilities. There are so many experiences in our lives that we can look back on and notice how being wrong helped us how making certain mistakes and having certain assumptions caused a ripple effect of what felt like a very negative experience. But through that process you learned lessons and you change something or you discovered a new idea and you move to a new place or found new work or interacted with different people or saw the world in a different way that you now appreciate mistakes and experimenting are part of life and a lot of those come from being willing to be wrong. Being willing to question your way of thinking. I think this is an especially valuable skill in a world where everybody’s digging in their boots into the ground and saying this is what I stand for, your opinion is off. You must be stupid or have bad intentions or just plain not aware and really not trying to see others points of views. This is not to say that you don’t set some standards for yourself or have expectations of your life, but it does mean being willing to question your reasons and being willing to question those things you view as facts and assumptions because often you’ll find cracks in that foundation and that’s okay because that provides learning experience and opportunities to build better relationships and experience new opportunities in life. Okay, have a great day, there’s so many other thoughts I would love to share about this topic, but I will end with a quote from Kathryn schulz being wrong, adventures in the margin of error. Whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right basically all the time about basically everything about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessment of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it are steady state. Seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient. I encourage you to move forward with an open mind and being willing to say, am I wrong about this today? Okay, have a great day. Talk to you soon. That’s thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it. I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends. Sign up for a weekly nudge at move your desk dot com. Mhm

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