Friday, May 22, 2009

I was wrong -- Hurray!!

I was behind the wheel of my car the other day (as I often am) and was thinking about what the topic of this blog could be. I had just been thinking about how my life had been going lately and marveling at how much better things were going than I would ever have predicted. As I had tried to figure out what I thought was the single biggest contributor to that change I realized that I used to work on the assumption that I was fairly powerless to affect the flow of events in my life. I had felt that the best I could do was to try to react to what was happening around me and deal with the wants, desires and demands of those around me and in my life. It had never seemed feasible to insert my own wishes into the flow of events since I was convinced that no one would listen to me anyway and I was not a strong enough force in the world to shape my own experiences. As many of us do, I had proceeded from that belief to collect evidence that I was perceiving the world correctly by focusing in on every time I had tried in the past to get something I wanted and wound up not getting it. It really had never even occurred to me to assess my batting average by including those times when I did get what I had asked or tried for, I just jumped on the failures each time and said to myself "See, things just don't work out for me, why try?"

Then one day, about a year ago, I decided to try something different. What if I were to act out of the opposite belief and behave in my life as if my input not only matters but actually shapes the unfolding of my life's experience as it happens around me? What if it was actually worthwhile to speak up when I want something and ask for it out loud? What if I could actually get what I don't like to stop happening, even just sometimes, by telling the world around me that I don't want that as if someone, anyone were listening and might decide to accommodate my request?

So I did. And I learned two things. One is that it turns out I was wrong. It actually does work to approach life as an interactive experience, not just a spectator sport. I actually can take the initiative in setting the direction of my life and have a positive effect on people and events that I am involved in. While this epiphany alone was a huge bonus that i derived from my experiment, my second learning was much larger. I learned that it wasn't important for me to know for sure that my new belief would work in order for it to work! I actually started while pretty much convinced that this experiment would be a wipe out. But I was committed to looking at the results of my choice objectively and giving myself some time to collect impressions from what happened before I tried to draw any conclusions from this experiment. The results I got were nothing short of miraculous (particularly as compared to my expectations). It seems I was wrong on two counts, for all I needed to create the change in my life that I was looking for was to believe in and decide to hold open the mere possibility that my new course of action might work out. Certainty is nice, of course, but optional. Well, that certainly lowers the price of admission to effecting real change in my life and suddenly makes change seem much more reachable!

As I was developing the ideas for this blog in my head I came upon a third important learning. This particular experiment in change stared with me challenging what I thought I knew to be right and allowing for the possibility that a belief I had built for myself over the years was simply wrong. Had I not been able to entertain the thought that I might be wrong, I never would have tried something else. While I have spent much of my life playing it safe for fear of being "wrong", I see now that "being wrong" is one of life's greatest opportunities, and without that much less learning would take place. So I not only want to celebrate myself for finding a new belief that works better fro me than its predecessor, I want to celebrate here my willingness to let go of who I was so that my arms were free to embrace who I want to be.

Love to all of you, always.

Author's note: I want to express here my gratitude to Iris for this blog. I have in my life been a chronic procrastinator. I had promised Iris that I would post this blog about 48 hours ago and I left off writing it to the very last minute and beyond. I was tired when I got home late tonight and entertained thoughts of putting it off for another day, but I thought of Iris and how much I love her and how much I want to support her efforts to have this blog be a reliable and useful place for us to gather and enrich ourselves with the fruit of each other's lives. While I would normally have motivated myself to meet my deadline by feeling bad about screwing up and not keeping my promise to myself and to my friend, I found myself this time sitting down to the keyboard fueled by the warmth of the love I have for Iris and the love I feel from her to me. Thank you Iris for inviting me to participate here and providing me with a place to show up and a chance to show up there out of love.


  1. Mark, you did it! I'm so exited to read your article this morning. I am celebrating your persistence, your love, your support, you for who you are! I cherish you as a friend. I also cherish the way you express yourself and all the things you think about. I believe you make an enormous impact on people around you, especially me, and I thank you for that.

    At The Option Institute they ask: what if there is no right or wrong? This is because Right and Wrong are words of judgments. Right is better than Wrong. But while reading your text I hear myself asking: can we use the words without judgment? What if we translate the words more like: useful, not useful? Are these also still judgments? Useful is also depending where you look from. What one person thinks is useful, another person might totally write off as not useful! I'm intrigued by how you use wrong is right in this text and I am looking forward spending more time discussing this.. XXX

  2. Iris - I was thinking the same as I wrote the piece. Certainly if we assume the ability to choose we will have a basis for choosing one thing over another. So far the closest I have come to figuring this out is what Samahria has told me before about not trying to live without ANY judgements, just the ones we do unhappiness around. That certainly leaves room for "happy judgements" of some sort. Absolutely, let's talk about this more. XOXOXO

  3. If I may join the love-fest going on here :-)... I want to say a big THANK YOU to Iris for hosting this blog and to all the authors and commenters who participate. I feel great to come to a place that asks questions and starts inquiries that are so fundamental to our way of living, yet we don't see hardly anywhere else.

    Speaking of wrong becoming right, and the non-absoluteness of perspectives, yesterday I found myself actually wishing for a minor accident to happen to my car ... specifically I'm asking the universe for another car to bump gently into my driver's side door, in a parking lot, with nobody getting hurt. Why I'm asking for this is not so important, but I mention it as an example of how a normally unwelcome event could actually be of benefit sometimes.

  4. Hey Guys, what an amazing blog and wonderful ensuing discussion! As I've been sitting here reading I realized that some of my best moments have come points where I discovered I was wrong! For example, discovering that it's not really the transmission (as I was sure that it was), but instead, just a bad tank of gas. Or, discovering that I hadn't actually deleted all my important files. The list goes on and on. Here's to the joy and delight of being wrong!

  5. Sree, I'm smiling/chuckling at why you might be playing with the desire of someone to 'bump into' your car? For a free ride with an insurance co, to have a natty-looking damaged vehicle? or a unique way to interact with another? I'm reminded of a critically nominated older film called CRASH which portrays life and bumping into people, how life weaves us all together, in our 'crashes.' Wondering if anyone else was 'bumped' by that moving movie? (not the 1996 one) I see it was even nominated for an academy award.


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