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Friday, October 30, 2020



As a rule, we are incredibly hard on ourselves when it comes to being wrong and making big decisions in life.

·         If our first five relationships end with a breakup, we think we are destined to be alone forever.

·         If we go to school, get a degree, and spend years training for a job that we end up hating, we feel like a failure for not having it all figured out.

·         If we have a dream of writing a book or starting a non-profit or creating something of value and we stumble on the first try, we say that we are not cut out for this.

In cases like these, when we are attempting to do something that is complex and multi-faceted, you believe that being wrong is actually a sign that you are doing something right.

Here is why…

First Choice vs. Optimal Choice

For some reason, we often expect our first choice to be the optimal choice. However, it is actually quite normal for your first attempt to be incorrect or wrong. This is especially true of the major decisions that we make in life.

For example, …

1.       Finding the right person to marry. Think of the first person you dated. Would this person have been the best choice for your life partner? Go even further back and imagine the first person you had a crush on. Finding a great partner is complicated and expecting yourself to get it right on the first try is unreasonable. It is rare that the first one would be the one.

2.      Choosing your career. What is the likelihood that your 22-year-old self could optimally choose the career that is best for you at 40 years old? Or 30 years old? Or even 25 years old? Consider how much you have learned about yourself since that time. There is a lot of change and growth that happens during life. There is no reason to believe that your life’s work should be easily determined when you graduate.

3.      Starting a business. It is unlikely that your first business idea will be your best one. It probably would not even be a good one. This is the reality of entrepreneurship.

When it comes to complex issues like determining the values you want in a partner or selecting the path of your career, your first attempt will rarely lead to the optimal solution.

Five Lessons on Being Wrong

Being wrong is not as bad as we make it out to be. You have made many mistakes in life and you may have discovered five major lessons from your past experiences.

Choices that seem poor in hindsight are an indication of growth, not self-worth or intelligence. 

When you look back on your choices from a year ago, you should always hope to find a few decisions that seem stupid now because that means you are growing. If you only live in the safety zone where you know you cannot mess up, then you will never unleash your true potential. If you know enough about something to make the optimal decision on the first try, then you are not challenging yourself.

Given that your first choice is likely to be wrong, the best thing you can do is get started. 

The faster you learn from being wrong, the sooner you can discover what is right. For complex situations like relationships or entrepreneurship, you literally have to start before you feel ready because it is not possible for anyone to be truly ready. The best way to learn is to start practicing. 

Break down topics that are too big to master into smaller tasks that can be mastered. 

You cannot look at any business and tell what needs to done. Entrepreneurship is complex and too big of a topic. But you can look at any website and tell yourself how to optimize it for building an email list because that topic is small enough for you to develop some level of expertise. If you want to get better at making accurate first choices, then play in a smaller arena. 

The time to trust your gut is when you have the knowledge or experience to back it up. 

You can trust yourself to make sharp decisions in areas where you already have proven expertise. For everything else, the only way to discover what works is to adopt a philosophy of experimentation.

The fact that failure will happen is not an excuse for expecting to fail. 

There is no reason to be depressed or give up simply because you will make a few wrong choices. Even more crucial, you must try your best every time because it is the effort and the practice that drives the learning process. They are essential, even if you fail. Realize that no single choice is destined to fail, but that occasional failure is the cost you have to pay if you want to be right. Expect to win and play like it from the outset.

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