It’s hard to not be right.
In much of our lives, it’s quite important, if not imperative to be right. If your tax accountant, dentist, plumber or air traffic controller gets it wrong, there can be severe consequences. If you show up to work and everyday get it wrong, soon you won’t need to show up at all…cause you’ll be gone.
It starts in school. Well, in fact, it starts even before then.
We have this kids book at home called “Blue Hat, Green Hat” which shows an elephant, moose and bear all dressed up correctly and the turkey always with pants on his head, shoes on his nose, hat on his foot and below each picture of the turkey is written “OOPS”. The book concludes with the turkey finally getting it right with his hat, shirt, pants, and shoes all on correctly. Of course, he is at the pool. He proceeds to jump off the high dive fully dressed (correctly).
Kids are like this…at first. If you’ve been around young kids enough you’ll see that they get a real kick out of doing things “wrong”. They love putting their underwear on their heads, walking around the house with their parents shoes that are 10x too big. Putting socks on inside out, pants on backwards. Just for fun. Just because it’s “wrong”. They’re not just okay with it. They enjoy the hell out of it!
If I’m paying attention and not too focused on my agenda and getting shit done, I’ll play along and enjoy the fun right along with them. Too many times, however, I’m most interested in having it done right so we can get to what’s next.
I’m not saying being right is necessarily bad. I actually love being right and wish I were right more of the time (if I’m being honest). However, I’m noticing more a real loss in that. Sure, most (but not all) agree that getting a proper education is very important and in order to do that and go through that process, one needs to be right a whole hell of a lot of times. 2 + 2 is still 4 after all.
I get it, many of us are proud of our degrees, our titles, our accomplishments and all that goes along with being right. And, who can blame us? We’ve worked hard for all of this! Not any old schmo can be right so many times!
But, can we lean in a little more to this challenging, vulnerable, often scary place called not being right?
Can we move the curiosity needle just a touch? Cozy up and be more friendly to the opposite of what we believe to be right, or true, or fact. Perk up our ears and bring that bottom lip up to meet the top. Listen intently. Open up to learn what the other person, or side or stance or idea is or has to say.
Don’t worry, your core beliefs and values will remain intact. You’ll not lose YOU in all of this not being right. You might even find a you your more glad to be around.