Another Ball of Wax Entirely

Ink on Watercolor – Words: Thomas Szasz

Being an adult is tough, let alone that moment when you realize you are wrong and have the right to be wrong. This is when you thought you knew or did something well, only to realize that someone or some process does it better which means you were wrong. Not the kind of wrong that makes you embarrassed or brings shame, the kind of wrong when you realize that the world is much more complex that just right or wrong.

Life is in reality an existence surrounded by shades of grey. Very little is black and white all the time. We may not have been taught to think that way, as our parents trained us to believe that they were always right, yet not much we experience as we grow up is all black or all white. Being able to handle the grey portions of our daily lives means we learn to give into the shades and nuances of the world. There is right and wrong, and if we are clear in our beliefs we are able to navigate that duality. It is in living with the shades of grey and making decisions within the realm of right and wrong that things get sticky. The day we first find we are wrong and have the ability to accept being wrong, THAT is when our real adult lives begin.

Being able to “see” both sides, understand both perspectives and still stand up to our personal beliefs even if they are proven wrong, that is when we move from infallible to human. Being able to admit we were wrong, or hadn’t thought about “it” from that perspective, being able to give up control and see the light means we become stronger, better, more pliable and more human.

For example, someone who works for you comes up with a better way to solve an issue – more innovative, more flexible, more reliable, more robust – than your way. You can lord your power over them and pronounce that what happens now is fine, move on to more important things. OR, you can admit your way is old, wrong, outdated and face the change that this new idea brings forth. The leader admits, the child lords their power, takes their ball and goes home. Leaders have the wright to be wrong, being able to admit it is another ball of wax entirely.

We all have to grow up sometime. Maybe that is today, maybe it is tomorrow, maybe it happened decades ago and we are still learning to be wrong. Whenever it happens, let it happen, grow up and let it go. Being wrong is human, being able to deal with being wrong means you are an adult.

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