When I lived in Oakland, I would do pub trivia with a few friends every Tuesday.
We never won.
We got pretty damn close though. At one point we were getting 3rd place semi-regularly.
The music round was always fun. We had to guess the artist for the song blaring on the loudspeaker. When we didn’t know the answer I would shout “DAVID BOWIE! DAVID BOWIE!!!!!” with earth shattering consistency. Then one fateful day, “The Width of a Circle” played. I lost my shit and a hearty guffaw was had by all.
There’s nothing wrong with wrong answers. In this case, the wrong answers were right in their own way. Not objectively, of course. But I’d rather contribute to a running gag than have all the right answers.
We can’t know all the answers all the time, to anything. Is there any benefit in beating ourselves up about it? Nah.
I had no way of knowing which songs were worth knowing. Getting pissed at myself for not listening to music I don’t listen to? Where would that get me?
Nowhere. And I wouldn’t be laughing.
We might as well make light of this inevitable condition, the inescapable dynamic of life:
We can’t know what we don’t know yet.
And if we’re doing something different, something outside our comfort zone, there’s A LOT we can’t possibly know. Every new pursuit is like learning a new language– Not knowing comes with the territory. In fact, not knowing IS the territory.
That’s not to say that I can just laugh off any mistake I make. Far from it. I’m just as susceptible, if not more so, to being really fucking hard on myself. Consciously, I realize it’s silly to beat myself up for things I have no control over, subconsciously is another matter.
We will never know what the awaits us on the path ahead. We have no choice but to figure things out as we go. This is the culture my online coaching groups operate on: Progress is all one big experiment and we’re all figuring things out as we go.
Next time you feel bad about a mistake, I encourage you to look in the mirror and say “David Bowie”.
Sometimes the wrong answer is the right answer, if for no reason other than a good laugh.
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