BE SMART: GIVE UP BEING RIGHT
How can it be smart to give up being right? The willingness to give up proving what you know, and to instead step into the confusion and ambiguity of the unknown, is an act of courage. When you choose to discover what you do not yet know, you open yourself to learning and growing. This act of courage is closely aligned with the courage to be confronted, which I have described in other writings. Letting go of having all the answers is another way to understand, appreciate and connect more deeply with others.
As people get older, they become wiser and more open to life only if they cultivate the courage to learn and grow instead of insisting on old ways of thinking and acting. Unfortunately, many individuals grow more rigid and close-minded as they age. I say they have been afflicted with the dread disease, “Hardening of the Categories”, a mental prison that limits understanding, inhibits growth and degrades joy in life.
What can you do to develop the courage to learn and grow? Take note of the times you catch yourself insisting (even in the privacy of your own mind) that you are right. Then choose to focus on how you can be more influential and positive in relating to others. Invite novel information and viewpoints, as described by Warren Berger in his book A More Beautiful Question. You can also pay attention to the actions you avoid taking because you are uncertain or unclear about them. What new information would help you? Do you care to acquire a new skill, or instead to find someone reliable to outsource difficult tasks to? Who can be your ally in learning? Who will remind you that a mistake or early failure is a lesson, not a sin?
Ultimately, it is the courage to learn and grow that shapes our capacity as a civilization and brings big and juicy dreams into fruition. As in all things, this happens one courageous individual at a time. So, what new thing will you learn today?
by Robert E. Staub