How I Learned to Handle ‘Getting it Wrong’.

For as much as many might like to say ‘I think I know it all’, there is another side to ‘getting it wrong’.

Once upon a time I didn’t know so much. I was the kid who sat in class and didn’t raise her hand. Few enjoy the feeling of ‘getting it wrong.’ You may recall Lincoln's quote; “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” Yep, I was that fool who’d rather be thought a fool, than removing all doubt. 

All the same, around people I knew and trusted, I used to ask ‘tons’ of questions… and I LISTENED and OBSERVED the behavior of others a whole lot too. I kind of still do. When I don’t ‘really’ know something, I’ll listen. Even when I think I know something, I’ll listen. And ‘listening’ is much different from ‘hearing’.

Hearing involves just that; hearing ‘noises.’ Listening however, requires ‘comprehending’ that noise.

It took a number of years before I finally had something to say… and a number of years beyond those years when I figured out how to handle ‘getting it wrong.’ As you might also know, aside from the fact that there are some careers where there is little wiggle room to get it wrong, mistakes are a condition of being human.

This is where getting a handle on ‘getting it wrong’ is important. For me it took being raised around a big family of debaters. One thing about ‘good’ debaters is that they will challenge you to go back to ‘the drawing board’ and get your facts straight. Embarrassment is a humbling lesson too. There are few things more ‘self-checking’ than speaking too quickly. Hey! I lost a job offer this way (btw, the only place I’ve ever wanted to work), even if in hindsight, thank the heavens I didn't get that job! I am a strong believer in ‘YKW’ covering me when my wants are inconsistent with what is right.

Overall, experience, maturing, and really listening are key instructors for handling ‘getting it wrong.’

And OH! There is one more tutor. 


Now, I’ve read many, many memoirs, autobiographies and biographies. Maybe hundreds, if not thousands. I can’t count how many times I’ve come across stories where the author (native of countries outside of America) so fluidly… and naturally… relates to their ancestry dating back hundreds of years. It’s so common (even for average communities), that while this phenomenon always managed to intrigue me, in as much as it amazed me, I missed how innocuously relevant this information really is. I mean, I have to be among the greatest advocates of family, realizing (however naively) its authentic relevance to building strong communities and thus societies. BUT it wasn’t until reading ‘Of Monkey Bridges and Bánh Mì Sandwiches by Oanh Ngo Usadi (my thoughts HERE), where this relevance became a lot more crystal clear. 

In summary; age, experience, maturing, having been embarrassed, reading, staying open to learning, and being okay with not knowing every.single.thing (in other words WISDOM), not only helps us manage getting it wrong, but is the humbling property that actually lends to ‘Getting it Right’ (more often than not)! 

#ILoveMemoirs #JustReadAnotherGreatMemoir #ILOVEREADING #Wisdom #Storytelling #JustBlogged


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