Prepare To Be Wrong If You Really Want To Get It Right

According to the latest issue of Barron’s, the Fed and everyone else got the economy wrong. The same thing could be said for the central bank in Canada. The prediction was that by the end of 2022, the economy would be in recession. Instead, the U.S. economy grew 1% from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the fourth quarter of 2022 – five times the level the central bank had predicted just a few months before. Canada’s economy is also red hot with a booming job market, rising wages and slowing inflation. 

There’s now solid evidence that the link between employment and inflation may not be as strong as we once supposed. In fact, there is actually an inverse relationship between wages and inflation at the moment, with inflation falling fastest where wages are rising the most. The simple truth is that it is impossible to apply old rules to a new economy, one that has been completely – and permanently – transformed by the Covid 19 pandemic and no longer responds in the same way to rising prices and tighter economic policy. 

What’s true for the economy is also true for each one of us personally. We all have mental models that need a major overhaul. A mental model is how we interpret the way things work in the real world. It’s how we explain life to ourselves and others. Our mental models determine our internal reality. And it’s our internal reality that defines how we think, feel and act. Think about it: we act as though our internal reality is the only reality. We live as though OUR world is THE world. When we’re in a bad mood, we think, feel and act as though the world is a bad place. When we believe someone is bad, We think, feel and interact with them as though they’re bad. If we perceive something as dangerous, we think, feel and treat it as dangerous. 

I have been a coach and motivator for 30 years. I have never seen so many people struggling with their mental models as I am today. In the past, status quo was satisfactory. What worked yesterday worked just fine tomorrow. Today, it doesn’t work at all. Relationships between everyone and everything are being dramatically reset. The changes are seismic. Whatever is taken for granted will be taken away. If you want to win, you need to re-examine everything you believe. Keep what works. Let go what doesn’t. Take on what will make you powerful, influential, and valuable.  

If you’re feeling confused, overwhelmed, fatigued or frightened, you’re normal. If you don’t, you probably don’t know what’s going on. Courage means being willing to confront your doubts and fears. It means preparing to be wrong so you can embrace what’s right. It means constantly exploring and experimenting with new ways of working. Whatever happens next, trial and error will be integral to your progress. Fast fumbling, stumbling and failures will be the hallmarks of those who lead the way for others to follow. Some of your failures will be in private – those are easier to handle. But some will be public – those will be painful. Either way, you must go through them. 

I am talking from experience. Over the past year, I have pivoted and pirouetted my way through shocks and surprises. Just like you, I have endured losses that have brought me to my knees. Every time I thought I had mastered the situation, I realized I had it all wrong. But I got through every gut-punch. I got back up from every setback. You know why? Because the alternative is never an option. Resignation, misery, cynicism, pessimism, despair, bitterness, anger, resentment, or victimhood is toxic to your wellbeing. It’s also a choice you make – consciously or unconsciously. As the famous psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

So here are Mike Lipkin’s 4 steps for Recalibrating Your Mental Model 

  1. Think about 3 important situations where you’re not achieving the results you want. They could be personal or professional. It’s where you feel like you’re being blocked, thwarted or frustrated in your endeavours. 
  2. Think about your Mental Model regarding each situation. Specifically think about how you are contributing to the breakdown or failure or lack of progress. What are you saying or doing that is causing negative results? See yourself through other people’s eyes. Get feedback. Find a colleague or a friend who will share their perspective with you. Be open to their point of view.
  3. Think about the changes you need to make. Decide what to stop doing. Decide what to start doing. Decide how you’ll monitor your effectiveness. Decide who can help you stay on track. 
  4. Take action. Experiment with different approaches. Be willing to be awkward on yoiur way to being awesome. Be authentic and vulnerable with the people around you. Tell them that you’re trying out new ways to increase your effectiveness and contribution to them. 

I promise you that you will achieve extraordinary outcomes if you take these four steps. You’ll be amazed by how quickly the world opens up to you and how positively the right people respond to your efforts. Let me know about your breakthroughs so I can help you create more of them. Until then, remember: now is the right time to act because the time is always now.  


One thought on “Prepare To Be Wrong If You Really Want To Get It Right

  1. Wayne K. Spragge

    I found your book Dancing with Disruption at Value Village while waiting for my wife to shop there. I am in year three of my recovery from a massive stroke and Bilateral brain hemorrhage on February 27, 2019. When they got me to the Ottawa Civic Hospital I was given a 2% chance of surviving the night well, as this note shows they were wrong. I am now in the top 2% of survivors of that type of medical situation.
    My recovery includes a three-year gap in my memory, limited continuing physical limitations, and an enormous desire to get on with my life.
    Prior to the stroke, I have been a Psychologist, International Food Buyer, Chef, Regional V.P., Human Resources for the second largest printer of currency in the world responsible for the plants in the Americas, and an assessor of criminals charged and found guilty of sadomasochistic sexual assault, murder, rape, torcher, terrorism and acts of criminal mass harm.
    I now find myself struggling to reintroduce myself into my own life. My approach to life is summed up in the phrase found on the top of my computer, “Life is for participants Not observers” I am looking constantly to regain that reality. Then I started to read and actually consume your book, which brings me to you. First of all, thank you for your writing talents, pointed awareness, and incredible insights. Reaching out for your book was much more than a simple decision it is turning out to be a roadmap back to being ME.
    Wayne K. Spragge, Ph.D., Psychology


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