The Greatest Wisdom Comes From Being Wrong

Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend.

So, did you do anything fun over the weekend? That’s the common question we ask people as we greet them on a Monday. Half the time we just want to get the formalities out of the way so we can brag on our own adventures, and other times we just really want to hear that somebody else’s weekend was better than our own. I’ll take a seat in the second row today. It happens.

It wasn’t a bad weekend. But for all the talk about relaxing and decompressing, I did pretty much the exact opposite. Sometimes we go into these things with the best of intentions, but life has a way of changing our plans. So, you work your way through and move on.

Today will be a big day for our family – one that could turn out very well or send us back to a home that just feels empty. And there’s really not much we can do but speak the truth and hope that, for once, it matters. I’m finding that, in even the best system of justice, egos and personal whims are still very much a factor, and they do influence decisions. And it’s always the children who pay the price.

I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to at least enjoy the illusion of being in control. And I guess I should explain that statement. There is, after all, a difference between controlling and being in control. To me, being in control means keeping my thoughts and emotions in check, analyzing each situation, and responding in a way that leads to a positive outcome. It comes from within.

And it’s hard to face a situation where it’s likely I’ll come home with nothing more than the knowledge that I stood for what is right. I’m learning that justice isn’t always about finding the truth, but extracting only those elements of evidence that support preconceived opinions. It’s human nature to seek validation of our own beliefs.

This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself in a similar situation, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It happens to all of us. People form an opinion, usually with only a small piece of the puzzle, and once that opinion is formed, it’s hard to change their mind. And you think, “If only they’d take a minute to look at the whole picture, they’d understand.” Truer words have never been spoken.

So, how do we react when we’re on the other side of that equation, when we’re the one who formed a quick opinion and just can’t seem to let it go? Your kid brings home a friend dressed in gothic attire, looking like a zombie. Your initial assessment may not be entirely positive. But how hard does that kid have to work to convince you they’re not a criminal in the making?

If we’re honest, the answer isn’t always what we’d like to hear. It’s one thing to convince another person they’re wrong, but doing it to yourself requires a personal attack on your own beliefs. That’s not an easy pill to swallow. And, too often, other people are hurt by our own inner reluctance to accepting another possibility.

I read a quote years ago that I’ve repeated many times in my life. “A mind is like a parachute – it only works when it’s open.” I believe those are among the most insightful words ever spoken, and they came from the mind of none other than Frank Zappa. Think of how much better we’d all get through life if we kept that thought in mind more often.

Nobody likes being wrong. And nobody likes being on the receiving end of wrong. As I begin my day, I have three simple prayers. First, that the decision-makers we will face can approach the day with an open mind, mindful of the reality that first impressions don’t always paint a complete picture. Second, that I can do the same, today and every day for the remainder of my life.

And finally, I pray that each of you are able to set aside any pre-conceived opinions that are holding you back, standing in the way of relationships, or blocking out the most important part of a picture you’d be thrilled to behold. If you never let your mind be completely closed, it’s that much easier to keep it open. Take care of your parachute. You never know when your life may depend on it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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