Monday, January 16, 2012

Completely Wrong

Do ever wonder, "What if I'm completely wrong?"

Every one of us has been completely wrong lots of times. It's as solid as gravity. It'd be inversely proportional to the odds of winning the lottery except the odds of winning the lotter are too good. Yup, you've been completely wrong lots of times and better yet, you're completely wrong right now, about something or even many things.

It's a question of what, when, where and how. And of course, why?

No I'm Not!
OK, let's just shoot past the denial part. Think about a time when you were completely wrong. The exercise machine you ordered from the home shopping network... The efficacy of infant baptism... Kenny G forever... Eight-tracks over cassettes... Cassettes over CDs... CDs over LPs...

There's the girl you'd have died for or the guy you couldn't live without. There's car you knew would be a good investment or the job you turned down because it paid too little to start. There's the stock that was guaranteed to hit. There's the solution you knew would work and the one you knew wouldn't. There's the guy you couldn't trust and the one you could. There's the hidden agenda you're sure was there and the facts you bet were true.

So fess up. When were you completely wrong? About what are you completely wrong right now?

Managing Wrongness
The first step in managing being completely wrong (or CW) is recognizing that being CW is an unavoidable fact of life. You do it. You did it. You're gonna do it.

The reason the first step is important is that not recognizing your susceptibility to CW dramatically increases the likelihood of CW. Plus, knowing it's gonna happen makes it a bit easier to take. So say it aloud:
  1. I have been completely wrong!

  2. I am going be completely wrong again and again.

  3. In this very moment, I am completely wrong about a least one person or thing.

Go ahead. Say it out loud. It'll feel good. Let your kids hear you say it. Let your partner hear you say it. Ask them to join you.

OK, that pretty much takes care of the hard part.

Who, What, Where, When?
The second step is to identify things about which you've been or are or are about to be completely wrong. Some are easy to spot; they're the ones that are emotionally loaded. People who get you angry or bring you delight. Situations that you don't want to talk about or can't stop talking about. Any person, place or thing with a strong emotional charge is likely to have some completely wrongness.

Why? Because your emotions filter what you see. It's the "my mom told me I'm a great..." effect.

Note that it's just as important to be open to positive CWs as negative CWs. The reason is that at some point you're going to see that you were completely wrong and you're likely to blame the object of your CWness for having changed... for not being who you thought she was... for betraying you. It's amazing how strong an impact pulling off the blinders can have. You see it all the time when people fall out of love. It's as though they'd been duped by their former lovers when in fact they'd blinded themselves to the obvious.

Hold or Fold
The third step in CW-management is deciding whether or not you want to continue being completely wrong. Just because you know you're completely wrong doesn't mean you have to change anything. You can simply continue being completely wrong, but deliberately so. So your lover isn't as great as you'd hoped him to be; it doesn't mean you can't keep thinking him great. So your kid's no Einstein; doesn't mean you can't still believe in his genius. So the guy down the street isn't ever going to return your 20oz hammer; you can still treat him as though someday he will.

Of course, you can also decide to exchange your belief for a new one. You see, you can't just drop a CW; it must be kept or traded. If you trade, the new belief comes with no guarantees; you may have exchanged a small CW for an even larger one.

What do you do when you've accidentally traded up while trying to downsize? Trade again. It's amazing how easy it is to trade CWs.

Often Wrong, Never in Doubt
Accepting your CWness is a key to confidence. Worrying about getting it wrong or being wrong erodes confidence faster than anything. Recognizing that CW is par for the course means that you no longer need to worry. So you got it completely wrong? So what? Try something else. It's no big deal.

Come on. Say it loudly.
  1. I have been completely wrong!

  2. I am going be completely wrong again (and again).

  3. In this very moment, I am completely wrong about a least one person or thing.

Happy Monday,


  1. How do you keep getting inside my head with just the perfect message at the perfect time? It's creepin me out. STOP DOING THAT!

    Wait, that's CW.



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