You Don’t Know Everything (And That’s Good News)

You Don’t Know Everything (And That’s Good News)

Last week a friend of mine discovered that she was wrong three times!  And it made her really happy.  Normally, we think of being wrong as something that costs us money, valuable time, opportunities, cherished hopes and dreams, even our reputation. Lets face it: It’s a drag to be wrong.

But in this case, my friend, being wrong, landed two easy gigs doing the work that she loves. By ignoring some negative assumptions about the potential of two prospects, she called them anyway. And put $10,000 in her pocket within 48 hours.  The third time she was wrong involved her accountant needing a four-year-old financial detail, which meant that she had to call her state’s revenue department. (Who likes to call the tax office at any time of year, much less the week before Tax Day? Raise your hands.) Having grown up in Washington, DC, in the 70s, she knew from first-experience that dealing with the government wouldn’t be a one-phone-call proposition.  But not in this case! She got what she needed (or rather what her accountant needed) and was off the phone in less than five minutes. She had been wrong. And she loved it!

Now my friend is a highly creative person whose success depends on possibility thinking. But even she will admit to the fact that she routinely gets in her own way by what I call Immediate Negative Response (INR) thinking. It comes in a variety of flavors, including:

  • What’s the use?
  • That will never happen.
  • What are the chances?
  • If it was a good idea, someone else would have already thought of it.
  • They didn’t want my offering then, they’re not going to want my offering now.
  • It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be boring. I’m going to hit a dead end before I barely get started.
  • I’ve had experience with that type before; I’m just setting myself up for frustration; disappointment; a waste of time.

Granted, one of the good things about being a grown-up is that we can use our past experiences to help us avoid frustration, disappointments, and wastes of time.  But one of the drawbacks is that we’re tempted to think we can see into the future or read minds – predicting that some of our efforts will be wasted. And so we miss out on opportunities.

 There’s a difference between being judging and judicious. Sometimes we can be too smart for our own good.  And sometimes we’re better off not trying to know everything.  After all, just imagine how much free time we’d have on our hands if we let go of all that negative thinking?