Sunday, February 07, 2016

Don't Bet Your Life

Most people I meet are remarkably confident considering how little we understand. In secret, I think we're overwhelmed by all the issues we have to take into account when we decide what to do. So we respond to confidence. Confident people get hired. We listen to confident people. We follow confident people. They seem to know more than we do. Adults. Teachers. Bosses. The Government. Surely they understand even if we don't? No.

Kathryn Schulz wrote a wonderful book on 'Being Wrong'. We don't know what it feels like to be wrong, because as soon as we realise we are wrong, we are in a different emotional space. We were wrong. We may feel embarrassed. We may defend ourselves. But we seldom move forward doing something we don't think we want to do. When we do stuff, we think we are right.

The question is, what do you do? How do you act when you know you don't understand all the knock on effects of what you do? What do you choose when you know you can't keep all the options you care about in your head?

I think part of the answer lies in bringing things back to basics. An acceptance of the way things are. Not because you don't think there are issues, but because things are the way they are. Things will change. We know that. The how is the question no one can answer. It is easier to change things from where they are, than to stare at a huge gap and wonder how to make the leap.

Once we have accepted things, we can make small tweaks. Lots of them. We can support the tweaks of others. We can learn from the trial and error of others. We can read. We can listen. We can spend time together. We can find mistakes and build resilience.

When you don't bet your life on the fact that you are right, being wrong is a learning opportunity. The realisation that you were wrong is something to celebrate as a new piece of knowledge.

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