We all face disappointment in life. Ask THIS question to get real results!
Like me, I bet you think you’re a pretty good judge of what works best in your life.
And if you're like me, I bet sometimes it feels terribly difficult to get the results you want most.
I often think of the words of Peter Coppinger, an associate professor at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, who says, "A good scientist is one who always asks the question, 'How can I show myself wrong?’”
When we don’t get the results we want, instead of asking, “Why?!” or “Why me?!,” it’s time to ask this question: "How can I show myself wrong?"
When I ask myself that question, I usually discover I made a mistaken assumption along the way to getting what I want. It's typically something so simple that I overlooked it, or forgot to test it again to be certain it was valid before I built an entire strategic system around it.
Here’s an example.
For many of us, running is healthy. If you go running on a cold day, you’d better wear warm clothes or you won’t run far and stay healthy, correct? Seems obvious, because most of the time we make an accurate assumption about the weather before suiting up and trotting out. If it’s too cold, or if we think the temperature might change while we're out, we layer up, because it also makes sense to be prepared.
It doesn’t take an expert to tell us what clothes to wear in cold weather. We've learned this stuff through experience.
What I want to ask you today is really about how much of life you allow yourself to truly experience and learn from in the same way.
Do you rely on an expert opinion for things you don’t understand, like medical care, or do you do your own research to get familiar with the situation?
The best experts in all fields are those who are constantly asking themselves that same key question: "How can I show myself wrong?"
Proving what doesn’t work is often the only way to get to what does work.
This is how Edison invented the light bulb: he tested many things that didn’t work, until he found one that did.
“But relationships/money/career choices/<insert your issues here> are more complicated!” I hear you say. Yes, they are. But don’t lose heart. We can do this.
Think of the some common assumptions you make, and then consider whether or not you can prove that any of them are wrong. If you can, you’ve brought yourself just a bit closer to what is right. This is the point of science — if you can prove it’s not wrong, it must be right.
Here’s a quick way to apply the scientific method to test your assumptions about any issue in your life with which you are having difficulty achieving the results you want:
1. Identify the issue.
On the top of a blank sheet of paper, write one big issue that troubles you. Underline it.
2. Exhaust your assumptions.
Underneath that big issue, write down each of your assumptions about that issue — the things you believe are true about it. Keep writing until you run out of assumptions.
3. Question your assumptions.
For each assumption listed, ask yourself: "How can I show myself wrong?"
You may need to think creatively and courageously about what you ask yourself for each assumption in item three. That’s because no expert can give you those answers. Those answers come from your own understanding of yourself — from how well you know yourself.
If you've been seeking expert opinions about yourself and those opinions haven’t been working for you, this will be a significant shift in mindset. Please don’t think for a moment that any expert can tell you what only you innately know for yourself to be true!
This amazing video is a 90-minute documentary of the first time Tony Robbins allowed cameras into one of his transformation seminars. In it, you will see at least six examples of people whose assumptions explode —yes, get blown apart! —when they had courage to prove themselves wrong.
You ARE the expert!
When there isn’t anything more you can show yourself that’s wrong about any assumption in your life, guess what? That assumption is, for you, true.
You deserve to know yourself that well. You deserve the results that come to people who know themselves that well.
So, what are you waiting for?
You can do this!
Bill Protzmann is a speaker and life coach on a mission to raise awareness about the power of music as self care. Want to join the music care movement? Check out the Music Care website or sign up for lessons.