Leadership Learning Personal Development

What if we’re wrong?

dunce kidIt starts at school. Our pathological fear of being wrong. We are taught that being wrong is embarrassing, undesirable and will get us into trouble.  We learn that being wrong is bad. Our desire to be right has some pretty nasty consequences.


What’s wrong with wrong?

Absolutely nothing! As a species we are obsessed with getting it right, seeking perfection and avoiding mistakes at all costs. This is simply not possible. I’m not advocating that we deliberately give up… I’m suggesting that being wrong about something isn’t an indication of your value or worth. It is a part of being human. The only thing wrong about being wrong is how we fear it, avoid it and punish ourselves and others for it.

Challenging assumptions that make us right

Even when we are wrong, we will justify that we are right. This introduces some assumptions that can play havoc in our lives. When people disagree with us it is natural to assume some things…  like they are ignorant; they are idiots and just can’t connect the dots; or they know the truth but disagree because they are bad. Thinking that other people are wrong, and we are right, can cause us to treat people unfairly, not to mention some indignation, irritation and unhappiness. It can also prevent us from experiencing some great learning that introduces new possibilities! Imagine your reaction if you were to realize that you were wrong about something. Now imagine that instead of beating yourself up, feeling miserable and retreating into a cocoon of isolation; that being wrong opens a door to possibilities you didn’t even know existed. That isn’t so bad, is it?

Help break the stigma of wrongness

The next time you catch yourself, or someone else, (and especially your kids) doing, thinking or lose the fear of being wrongbehaving a way that you decide is wrong – pause! Instead of trying to correct them, challenge yourself to see it from their perspective. If we work out how to separate the doing, thinking or behaviour from the person, it becomes possible to provide a learning experience for ourselves and others. This approach is only effective when we address it without anger, frustration, irritation or contempt. I invite you to try this just ONCE. Really give it a go. I’m pretty confident that you will be surprised at the results –  if not, does it matter if I’m wrong?

There is nothing wrong with trying to get it right. It drives our intention to improve, push boundaries, innovate and grow. Being right isn’t a bad thing… it’s just not the only thing. The message is that we are all going to be wrong, sooner or later, and that is ok.

If you are interested in learning more find an inspirational TedTalk video by Kathryn Schultz on being wrong in our video inspiration section. She uncovers some surprising consequences and inspires us to embrace our very human nature.

 We are interested in your success stories! Please share your experiences with us, and if you found this article useful – share it with your networks.


Are you feeding your hungry mind?

a hungry mindEverything starts with an idea. What you see in the world today – businesses, architecture, fashion, movies, technology, books …. literally everything was born into the world because someone had an idea. Turning thought into reality starts with a great idea. We all have ideas. We are wired to make connections and solve problems. Great ideas are the brains way of having fun, of expressing creativity.

Is my mind hungry?

Our brains are uniquely suited to making connections – it is called learning. It’s not just about learning new skills… all information received – what we see, hear, taste, touch, smell and experience forms new connections in our brains. If I ask you “what is a car?” you will think about your car, all your old cars, that time you had an accident, the car dealer who gave great service, what the car sounds like. We’ve connected a million things to cars – and to everything else. Learning these things didn’t require any effort – it was done through experiencing. So… YES… everyone has a hungry mind.

Automatic and Deliberate learning

We are all learning, all the time. Most of what we learn is automatic (through experience, our senses and the meaning we give to things). When we choose to learn something it is deliberate learning. This learning is a little more structured – because we are learning to accomplish a desired outcome (like speaking a foreign language). It feels a little (or a lot) more difficult because we are controlling the outcome of the learning.

Consequences of deliberate learning

You’ve mastered being able to drive a car. You can get from point A to point B safely. But you learned a lot more than that. You learned how to pay attention on the road, to look out for danger, you learned that driving a car gives you a sense of freedom, you learned a preference for the kind of car you enjoy driving. No learning happens in isolation… everything is connected. By having more connections you have more ideas. You enjoy driving so much you decide to design a seat that is more comfortable, or start a transport company.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.                                                                                                                                                         Alvin Toffler

I’ve noticed that a lot of companies have embraced a learning culture. In fact, many companies will pay for you to learn something (some even go as far as paying for things that are NOT work related). The business world is starting to understand that your ability to out-perform the competition depends on making the strongest, most creative connections. It is a thing of beauty!

If you want to have more options, more choices and express more of your potential I would ask you: how much time and effort are you taking to feed your hungry mind?

 We are interested in your success stories! Please share your experiences with us, and if you found this article useful – share it with your networks.