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I’m Right versus I’m Learning

July 17th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

A problem with being right is that learning tends to cease.

There is a problem with being right or being on the right side in many senses of the phrase: learning tends to cease or at least greatly decrease.

Consider what I used to tell boys when I coached them in various sports. It was a paraphrase of what consultant and author Jerry Weinberg told me: “You can’t always choose to win, but you can always choose to learn.”

In sports and games and such, “winning” is often out of my control. There are other players, there are coaches, and there are referees of one sort or another. I don’t choose to win or lose. I can choose to learn from whatever the contest or outcome may be.

I go to a job each day. I don’t choose the outcome of the day. Things may “go well” today (that usually means they go MY WAY). Things may not go quite as well as they should. Still, I can choose to learn whatever the process or outcome may be.

Sometimes we have disagreements on how to proceed. If I am “right,” i.e., I get MY WAY, well that is great. I go home unchanged. Well, maybe that isn’t so great as unchanged means that my thinking hasn’t changed in any way. Rats, I haven’t learned anything. I was so intent on being right, things going MY WAY, that I forget to learn.

I can, however, be “right” and still learn. Yes, that is true. The trouble is, at least the trouble with me is, I tend not to learn when I am right. I tend to glow in my right-ness, and that bright light blinds me to new information and learning.

Have I been “right” a little too much lately?

Tags: Change · Learning

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