The Art of Being Wrong

What if I told you there is a way to never be wrong? That there is a way to never lose? To never fail again?

what if I told you

Well, the secret is actually quite simple. The secret can be summed up in two words:

Keep failing.

This will either come as a shock to whoever is reading this, or it won’t be surprising at all, but… I never went to college. I was always skeptical of it since middle school. College just seemed like High School Version 2.0 with a $50,000 price tag. I suppose I got lucky in thinking this, because it seems to be accurate. People everywhere are now starting to realize that college is almost (almost) a scam. Most degrees do nothing except give you credentialing, which most employers are starting not to care for anymore. Everyone does it, so now it basically doesn’t mean anything. Not to mention, most colleges have lowered their standards so that more people can qualify to enter and it’s easier to graduate. Also not to mention, many skills can be learned online, if a person takes the time to do their own research and experimentation. And most important of all, most skills should be learned on the job, and many employers are waking up to this and are now starting to offer on-the-job training instead of looking for college grads.

I used to be a welder, but I didn’t go to college to learn it. I was trained by the people who hired me for the job. The company’s thinking was, “We’d rather train our own employees, not retrain some college grad.” They wanted their own welders, not somebody else’s. Soon I’ll be joining another trade industry that will also train me on the job.

So, what’s this have anything to do with the subject at hand? Simple. All the skills and all the knowledge I have now, I learned from experimentation of some kind. From writing, to welding, to general coexistence with the outside world. I even used to train in Wing Chun (my favorite martial arts). I was a damn good welder; just ask anyone I used to work with there. But I didn’t get that skilled easily. I was actually slow to learn it all. I wasted A LOT of scrap metal practicing. But in the end, I became better than most. I did it better than the machines.

In all the areas of life where I am knowledgeable, I did not get that way from somebody just sitting me down and explaining it, then throwing me out of the nest hoping I’ll fly. Trial and error is how I’ve always learned. Meeting challenges head-on is how I learned. If you think about it, trial and error is kind of the only way to learn anything.

The only difference between a master and a student is the master has failed more times than the student has even attempted.

I’m not only talking about skills here. I’m talking about virtually anything in real life. From skills, to artwork, to knowledge itself. In most things in life, it is possible to be among the greatest out there. It is possible to hardly ever be wrong about anything. But the secret is: Embrace your failures with open arms.

Every time you fail, every time you are wrong about something, you have gained new knowledge. You have learned what you should not do. And every time you gain new knowledge, you are more powerful than you were before. Like a tower that keeps getting taller. Eventually people will notice your splendor. But first, you must start at the bottom. If you think you are already at the top, you will never truly be at the top. A wise person understands they will never reach the top but they keep climbing toward it anyway.

From now on, in your day-to-day life, if you are wrong about something, if you made a mistake, if you failed at a task… Embrace it. Own it! Make it part of your shield and your sword.

That is the only way to truly be wise, to truly become skilled, to truly be strong…

Will you ever become perfect? No. My opening for this article was a tad bit misleading. You will always fall short, BUT you can always reduce the number of times that happens. As long as you see your failures for what they are, and learn from them instead of succumbing to them.

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