So as I sit here in Dublin airport waiting to board an 11 hour flight to do the Barbell Business workshop I thought I’d write about being wrong.
I’m sure entirely what I want to say, and this might be a short blog post. (Edit: Turns out it’s not!)
Basically it seems to coming down to a worry or embarrassment about being wrong. But being wrong is the only way you grow, right?
I suppose we also need to talk about what being wrong means. Like we’ve all had it, wrong decisions, wrong relationships, wrong ideas. They’re only wrong in hindsight for a start. WAY back when I was training to be a life coach (guess I always wanted to help people) my life coach told me “you did the best you could with what you knew at the time.” Powerful. And true. I can’t even remember what I was worried about or what we were discussing but that’s stuck with me. And it’s a very good tool for self-forgiveness.
Secondly, nothing’s ever really 100% right or wrong either, is it? We can bust out the old adage that if that shitty thing hadn’t have happened you would have never ended up here (if here at the time is pretty sweet) but I’m not talking about that specifically.
Take programming, for example. I’ll regularly go back and look at the workouts I programmed and think “Jesus, that’s shite!”. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. But I know at the time it was the best programming I was capable of putting together. We all hit Rippetoe’s low bar back squats for a time, believing it was the right thing to do. And we got some gains from it (Just gains with an s, not a z). Combing low bar and high bar was then the thing. Then, it was all about the high bar.
Right now I feel that the front squat is way more important for CrossFit and Weightlifting, with much more “direct” carryover. Having said that the back squat still has it’s place. And I also ‘know’ that chasing strength gains in the squat at the detriment of integrating it back into other aspects of CrossFit isn’t the way to go. It’s a great starting point for putting together a programme, and there’s a great buzz around test week. But there could be a better way.
Funny, even writing the above paragraph I’m questioning myself and getting a little uncomfortable. Almost as if I’m justifying my programming and reasoning. It’s not a bad thing, I suppose, to regularly question what you’re doing. If you challenge it and it turns out to be wrong, at least you can stop it then.
I don’t want to be wrong because I don’t want to cause harm. That’s a big part of it. I do best when I focus on what’s going right and trying to do more of that. When I feel I’ve done wrong the immediate emotional reaction is to berate myself for it. I guess the belief behind that is I “should” know better, and people relied on me to be right.
But I also know that by looking for and stopping/correcting what’s wrong is a way to improve. And I want to improve. Sure, I’m sitting on an 11 hour flight for a 4 hour wait for another 1.5 hour flight to go to a conference to improve. A part of me wants to get a pat on the back and be told “keep going”. Being brutally honest, I don’t want to go in there and feel humiliated that I’m doing things all wrong (embarrassed monkey emoji hiding his eyes).
A large part of this blog was inspired by Jamie’s post here.
Oh wow, an hour down. As a sidenote to this blog, I’ve definitely noticed since I’ve started journalling my sense of amazement and number of “oh wow” moments has definitely increased.
I listened to this podcast Lewis Howe’s did with Esther Perel about relationships not too long ago. She talked about how we’re too harsh on what we define as a failure. A couple getting divorced after 25-40 shouldn’t be considered a failure, she argued. If they came together (phrasing!) created a relationship, had kids and supported each other for the vast majority of it, only to grow apart again, that’s okay. It doesn’t have to last forever for it to be considered a success. Well worth a listen to.
Another thing on being wrong, is that it very often paralyses us from taking action before it even begins. Hell, I debated investing in this course I’m attending because “what if it’s a waste of time/money?” It’s costing us close to €3000 to attend, and 5 days, not to mention the opportunity cost of staying at home and trying to make money, or the fatigue from me travelling and Derek running the show.
I said ‘cost’ deliberately as that’s how it can feel sometimes. But the right way to think about it would be an investment. CrossFit costs a lot of money. But as I’ve discussed it’s better viewed as an investment with a massive pay off. Harder to see is the very real cost of inaction. The missed opportunities by not taking a shot, and not experimenting. Credit to Tim Ferriss for first bringing to my attention the notion that instead of looking at things as permanent decisions, you treat them as experiments. You take on a new job/relationship/training course/system/programme not as an irrevocable and irredeemable decision, but rather as an experiment to see where in life in takes you.
There’ll never be a 100% perfect decision, what you’ve got to do is take a shot an commit to it.
So it’s a funny thing. I need to be wrong to grow and be happy, but I really wanna be right! There’s a balance, sure, in trusting you’re doing the right thing while also re-evaluating and changing the wrong actions. Finding it is the tricky part!!