mnmlist: 4 Steps in Perfecting the Art of Being Wrong
The other day, my wife asked for some bandaids to put on some blisters she got from her flipflops. I keep a private stash of super-adhesive bandaids for my frequent run-ins with the ground and other unforgiving surfaces. I got them from one of my drawers. I gave her the bandaids and told her to keep them, because I knew the blisters wouldn’t go away in a day.
The next day, she asked me where the bandaids were.
“I gave them to you,” I replied.
“Well, I don’t have them.”
“I distinctly remember giving them to you yesterday. I knew you’d need them, so I didn’t put them back.”
“Whatever…I don’t have them.” She ended up putting some major-surgery-sized bandaids over her tiny cuts.
I was slightly annoyed. I vividly remember giving her the bandaids. I remember saying, “you take them.” I remember not taking them back. I remember the logic of not taking them back.
I am not a flake. I have a great memory. I remember peoples’ names at parties. I was not mistaken: I had given her the bandaids.
The next day I was looking through one of my drawers. I found the bandaids. I had not given them to her. I had not said “you take them”–or if I did, I had not given them to her. My memory had failed me. I was mistaken about what I was so certain about.
With this in mind:
- What are you so certain about? This could be any belief: that something is not going to work out, perhaps it’s something that caused an argument, where you placed the bandaids?
- Is it possible you are mistaken? Is it possible you memory, feelings, intuition, knowledge about this situation, might be failing you?
- How might you act if you weren’t so certain? Might you listen a bit closer to the other person? Might you entertain other possible outcomes to a situation? Might you ask for help should that be the case?
- Allow for the possibility of being wrong. If you find yourself getting defensive of defeated, ask yourself throughout the day, “What if I were wrong about this situation?”