“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”~Mark Twain
Sometimes I think that nothing gets in our way as much as our certainty. We argue with others incessantly, steadfastly insisting how right we are on a specific topic, even when they have proof as to another answer. We maintain that our view of a situation or a person is the Truth, and simply refuse to consider that others may view things differently. Somehow we’re simply sure, and nothing can convince us otherwise.
I’ve seen this surety stall work teams, threaten business outcomes, and ruin personal relationships. I’ve seen this surety freeze careers and wreck brainstorming sessions. I’ve seen this surety get in the way over and over.
I’ll admit it, I can be as sure as the next person. I can be as unwilling to change, or even consider a different way. I can be as difficult to live with. But the more I see surety leave ideas, bodies, relationships, and lives in its wake, the more sure I become that I simply need to be less sure – and more open to what just ain’t so.
Next time you “know for sure,” look for other ideas and answers.
Where are you sure you’re right? Where might you need to be open to other possibilities?
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