• Gay Saxby

How to be wrong and mean it

Updated: Jul 21, 2019


One of the tools that coaches like to use to help clients gain insight into what it is that might actually be holding them back, is to make distinctions for them.


I am currently reading Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, an experience which for me is a little like having a stone in my running shoe: I find much of what he says

and how he says it to be highly annoying, but try as I might, I can’t ignore it once I’ve realized it’s there. And eventually I actually have to loosen my shoe and have a look at what

it is that is creating the discomfort.


One particular stone-in-the-shoe moment from his book was the suggestion that sometimes we have much to gain from being a little less certain about things. He proposes, in fact, that that we should make a habit of posing ourselves the question: “What if I’m wrong?” Not just asking it, in fact, but actually meaning it.



Another, more coachy way to ask this question might be: “What possibilities would be opened up – and what possibilities would be closed down – by being wrong?”

Sometimes when we can admit that the stories we tell ourselves might actually be wrong, we open up a bunch of possibilities to act in ways that we hadn’t previously considered.


For example, everyone in our family is keen on triathlons except for me. I tell myself that this is because I’m not good at swimming. But what if I’m wrong? What if I’m actually just scared of looking incompetent? Entertaining this idea opens up for me the possibility of actually trying it out, perhaps by taking classes. And possibly finding out that I’m not useless at it. And that perhaps I do want to give a triathlon a chance after all.


You see? Perhaps give being wrong a try, and see how that changes the picture for you…

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