Reflection – 30 (or 45) days of being wrong

I’ve mentioned in a number of posts during this activity that this was a very uncomfortable and difficult one to do. On the whole, I feel like I did it justice, but it was a hard won success in many ways.

So let’s start by breaking this activity down into its two parts: being wrong and regret. I think that I will start with being wrong, because focusing on regret was probably the more damaging part of the activity.

Being wrong
Going into this activity I was fairly happy that, at least professionally, I was capable of admitting when I had made a mistake and rectifying it. Whilst I am a perfectionist and hate to actually be wrong, I do know that I am often wrong. I think that, like many of you, I am often ‘wrong’ when I make a decision without having all of the facts to hand. This makes it a lot easier to admit being wrong, because it is more a case of revising a decision now that you are better informed.

This was often the case during the activity, that the times I was really wrong at work were because I had overlooked a fact or in the worst case ignored that nagging thought in the back of my mind. And I think that this has been the breakthrough to me trying to re-conceptualise what it means to be wrong. Maybe being wrong is not a commentary on my intelligence or ability, rather it is just a result of me making a decision without considering all of the information appropriately.

I can’t claim that insight as my own, thinking back on Kathryn’s book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error this aligns to a lot of her discussion about being wrong. It’s funny that I didn’t really remember that from the book when I started the activity, but as I’ve been reflecting on it a lot of these things have come through.

So now I just have to remember that wrong is not bad, wrong is how we learn and grow – something I think we all know. For the future, I will try to keep this in mind and take a minute to think about what facts/information I was missing, misunderstood or overlooked that allowed me to be wrong. I’m not naive enough to think that I can achieve this and suddenly it will be alright to be wrong, but I will try to do this for a while and see if I can remove some of the sting that comes along with the experience.

And as for regrets
Do not do an activity that examines choice and success when you are doing an activity looking at being wrong and regrets. It is not good for your mental health or self-image – just saying.

I wrote a lot about what I learned about my inability to actually make choices at times in my life in the reflection post on 30 days of choice. I’m not going to go into it too much in this reflection, but I will say that the majority of things that I regret in my life centre around my lack of real decision making. This not only goes for the things that I did do that I regret, but also the opportunities I did not take (there’s more on that in this post).

What will I take from this?
What I learned in this part of the activity is a reiteration of what I have learned in pretty much every activity to date – when you are focusing on something it shifts the way that you think and act. So when I was focusing on regrets and being wrong, my thoughts and actions became very negative. By rights, I should have known that this would be the case, or I should have at least worked out earlier the impact that it was having and not taken on the additional 15 days.

So I guess I will take two things from this. The first is the new appreciation of what wrong means, to hopefully be a little kinder and less judgemental to myself and others. The second feed into my current activity on time, and that is to try to shift my focus away from negative thoughts of the past and any regrets I might have.

One last thing
This would be one of the only activities that I have done that I would not recommend anyone else take on, especially if you are prone to depression and self-confidence issues. It is a very hard road to travel being so focused on all of your faults and failings. The only thing I’m glad of is the complete serendipity of scheduling 30 days of time to come directly after this activity.

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