That’s the most liberating, wonderful thing in the world, when you openly admit you’re an ass. It’s wonderful. When people tell me, “You’re wrong.” I say, “What can you expect of an ass?”S.J. Anthony de mello – SOURCE: AWARENESS
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”Stephen R. Covey – SOURCE: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The vast majority of conversations consist of two people trying to have their egos validated by proving that one is right and the other is wrong. Often both will agree but even then, in most cases, what they agree is that others are wrong and they are right.
This is a special, saucy kind of conversation where two individuals stroke each others egos instead of their own. “Oh stop it.” “No you stop it.” “Reowww!”
It’s all based on the egos insatiable appetite to be right. To try to make sense of a world it can’t possibly make sense of. To place everything into neat little boxes. So we can get a tick with an A+ next to it.
Well done Timmy you passed the test! You’re 100 percent right! Any other option would have been wrong but you got it right! This is exactly how the world works!
The problem is so many of us have been raised to look at the world through this black and white lens where we’re taught that right equals good. Right equals success. Right equals smart and capable. Whereas wrong equals failure. Wrong equals incapable. Wrong equals dumb.
It’s this kind of thinking that has made being wrong so difficult for so many of us.
It either threatens our identity as being smart and capable or confirms it as being dumb and incapable. In both cases we find being wrong so incredibly painful we avoid putting ourselves out there at all costs.
The question is how do we protect ourselves against this form of thinking? How do we protect against having a fixed mindset?
Well one way is to consider that every single thought you’ve ever had, every thought that anyone has ever had, is in some way, shape or form, wrong. To consider that there is no black or white, only grey.
If you look deeply enough you’ll see this is true. That we are always wrong in someway, shape or form. This argument itself can be picked apart on so many levels.
The reason is there is no possible way you, or anyone else, can know everything there is to know about anything. The world is simply too complex.
The sooner we can see how deeply flawed the ways in which we think are, the sooner we can let go of our limiting beliefs and more forward to slightly less limiting beliefs.
Equally the sooner we can get to grips with the idea we know next to nothing – the more comfortable we can become in not knowing. This actually, paradoxically, promotes curiosity and learning.
It does this by helping us to understand that there is always something to learn. Always some area in which we can grow and get better. Equally it keeps our egos from feeling threatened by the idea that it’s wrong. As a result we become less afraid to learn and ask questions. We become less afraid to put our hands up and ask stupid questions.
This way of thinking promotes a growth mindset.
So next time you have a conversation with someone I suggest dropping all notions of, or attempts at, being right. Instead I invite you consider simply trying to be a little less wrong than you already are. Not only will this put you in a willing mindset to learn, it will allow you take whatever someone else has to say with a huge pinch of salt.
Thanks again for reading everyone. I’m curious what tactics you might have for cultivating a growth mindset? How do you keep an open mind? As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions. I will always take it with a pinch of salt.
You can see more of AP2’s writing here at: https://pointlessoverthinking.com