This is part 3 of the Indestructible Mindset series.
The endeavor to understand is the first and only basis of virtue.Baruch Spinoza, Ethics IV, 26
In our previous article, we issued a mindset challenge. The point of that challenge was to make you comfortable with the feeling of not knowing – with being uncertain. Hopefully, it unsettled some lower-tier beliefs or at least showed you that there is always higher wisdom that informs ideological convictions.
Embracing that sense of the unsettled will carry over nicely to our next challenge.
What does it mean to be right?
And the speed of today does bring about a sort of hectic anxiety to be right. (Just look at Twitter!)
We don’t need to speculate on whether or not humans were “built for” the fast-paced internet age. It would be a waste of time to think about. The era is upon us no matter our speculations about man’s suitability.
To survive, a person obviously needs to make the right decisions. But do all opinions then need to be right?
Where a person equates the mere fact of an opinion made with the correctness of estimation, that person will not learn.
If a person simply adopts the opinions of others, he is even farther away from truly being right.
Where is it important to be right?
So what must a man absolutely be right about?
He really needs only be right about the necessities for survival: shelter, food, defense, and procreation.
These things encompass a man’s job or career. They encompass his personal fitness and the health of his body. They encompass sheltering and defending self and family.
You can extrapolate this simple list into myriad activities that require correctness of estimation and execution. (Fittingly, all the subjects we cover here on Men of Order!)
You will find that the typical man is willing to put in the effort to really learn these things. Which is to say – if he is a man – he will continually seek to correct what is wrong with his ability to perform in these areas.
In these areas of absolute necessity, not recognizing where you are wrong can have disastrous effects.
Naturally, then, they are the first places we need to start.
Learn how to be wrong
This is the next Mindset Challenge:
1. What assumptions have you made about acquiring or keeping shelter? Your job? What assumptions do you have about health? What about defense? Dating? Marriage and raising children? List them out.
2. Assess the quality of these things. Does anything about these facets of your life make you miserable? Do they cause trouble or concern? Or maybe you’ve simply given up on some of them. List those out by subject.
3. Now, match up that assessment with those assumptions in step 1.
4. Realize that maybe some of your assumptions – no matter how convincing they seem – are wrong.
It would be a good idea to note the mental and emotional sensation of being wrong as you do this.
It would also be a good idea to note the mental and emotional sensations associated with thinking you are right. They are different for everyone.
Some people find they have a smug, defiant attitude when they only think they are right (but are not actually).
This can be a sort of “tell” in the future – for example, when you start feeling smug and defiant, it can be a clue to step back and really look.
What’s the point?
The reason to become skilled in being wrong is so you can recognize it. This opens the door to self-correction.
Only in recognizing that you are wrong can you move forward to actually learning to be right.
Maintaining one’s equanimity in the face of being wrong is definitely an ability necessary for the Indestructible Mindset.