April 30, 2012

There is No Right or Wrong

There is no such thing as a bad decision.  It is only after we receive more information do we realize we could have made a different one.

I was reflecting this morning on a very productive and engaging conversation last week.  I was reviewing and sharing Lesson One – Embrace Responsibility from the 100Pedals Journey.  In reviewing the words in the lesson I was reminded of the importance of the word choices in our lives.

The words we choose, the words we use, the words we hear, and how we hear them have tremendous influence on us.  The more I focus on my experiences, my vision, and my lessons from 100Pedals, the more sensitive I am to the words I use when I am speaking, writing, or chattering with myself.  For all of these conversations reflect our perspective on our life, our experience, and our future actions.  And, I have become highly sensitized to the word choices of others, as well.

One of the most obvious word selections are “right” and “wrong.”  I have clients who, as we review a sales conversation, immediately say “I didn’t do that right.”  Or a friend will reflect on a life’s choice from years ago and say “I made the wrong decision.”  Impossible.

When we do things in life we are making decisions and choices based on the information available at that time and in an environment constantly supplying us with new data and insights.  Because we made a decision based on the best information available and relied on our best knowledge, skill, and experience at that time does not mean we made the wrong decision — it merely means that, in retrospect, we didn’t make the best decision.

I do not have the time or energy or patience to evaluate the various decisions I made in my life.  I am sure I made some very poor choices.  And, I probably do not always have the best conversations with people — even today, when I am most committed to them.  That does not mean I do things the right way or the wrong way.  It means I am constantly discovering ways to improve and do things differently.

Next time someone tells you that you are wrong — ask them to show you the rule book.  I want to know where it says, “I am wrong!”

When we have a conversation, make a decision, or attempt to solve a problem, we are taking what we know and taking action.  There are times when what we do, say, offer, or suggest may not be the best answer.  And, when able to look at the situation with more insight, we may have done something differently.  That is exactly how we need to treat our choices — discover, learn, improve.

Try this approach: “I am not as confident that I handled that as well I would have liked.  I had hoped things turned out different.  Next time I am in that situation what would I do, say, or offer — based on this experience and this outcome — differently?”

Our life cannot be defined by right and wrong.  And, those that do and are, spend far too much time judging and being judged.  And, they spend far too much time trying to please or satisfy people — real or imagined — which interrupts their ability to freely and openly express their true personality and the gift of their experiences.

Empower yourself to make choices in life.  Trust that these choices are part of life’s experiences, reflect your commitment to pursue your vision, and demonstrate a willingness to passionately take some risks in the learning curve.  Conversations about right and wrong will only slow you down — you don’t have time for that.  You are too busy, too committed, and too inspired about your vision and your mission to let judgment interrupt progress.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.