Mistakes are an optionBeing Wrong is not a Bad Thing By Paul Dion, STL
FEB. 25, 2011 -- This is NOT anathema. I don't have to repeat the story of Thomas Edison who, after failing to make a working light bulb for what (watt ?) is reported as being hundreds of times always referred to his ineffective attempts as "lessons of how not to do it the next time." (Paraphrase)
The other night I was attracted to a PBS television presentation during which the new owner of the intellectual company TED said, "The fear of being wrong is the greatest enemy of progress." His example was our common experience of the growing child. Being wrong for a growing child is not a negative. It is a positive attempt to conquer a personal deficiency. The lesson should be that as adults we should also be free to be wrong.
But early in life that freedom is taken away from us. There comes a time in our social development that we are belittled when we make a mistake. From that moment on, learning becomes more difficult because there is the added emotional burden of shame. It gets worse when we go to work. The goal is "zero defects"; "perfect attendance"; "five minute weekly PowerPoint presentation with only three slides",etc.
There comes a time when we live under a crushing weight of correctness pressure. There comes a time when we decide that the pressure that is camped on us we will transfer to everyone with whom we deal too. I know, I do some of that. You know what the sad things is? I know better.
I read a book one time (One after Dick and Jane), and it was about psychology being a science. The author repeated several times the premise to his thesis that psychology is a true science because the "theories" that make up the foundation of the practice of psychology are all open to be proven wrong.
I never forgot that. I happen to subscribe to that thought. Real, solid truth is never afraid of being open to the possibility that it could be shown to be only partially true, therefore wrong. Think of it.
Take God, for instance. Have you heard an attack on His truth lately? Do you have some questions of your own, maybe? Huh? Doesn't seem to bother Him much, does it? See what I mean? Look at my favorite Italian, Galileo and some of his buddies. They weren't 100% right, but they were right enough that the rest of us learned a lot trying to poke holes in their assertions.
Therefore, Boys and Girls, for the little time that we have left, it is my pleasure to have thrown something at you that you perhaps have not given much mental time to lately. So, have fun. Go out and get something wrong, for a change...on purpose...just to get someone else in an uproar...see how far that gets you!!
Blame me. I'll defend you.
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