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I love being wrong

I love being wrong

Most of the time I feel smart, successful, and driven - like I’ve got it all figured out.

But last month my wife and I broke up after four years of trying to make a bad match work. It knocked me on my ass, hard. I’ve never felt so wrong and lost. It hurts, bad.

I vulnerably called on friends for help.

  • Amber reminded me to pull my head out of today, and think long-term again.
  • Jeff told me to get my swagger back and hook up with every hottie in town, just relishing the moment.
  • Ariel said I should really accept and feel this pain, instead of moving on so fast like I always do.
  • Aly flew out to New Zealand to spend an adventurous and extremely distracting week with me.

Each different perspective made me feel good for a while, then I’d fall back into the whirlpool of destructive thoughts.

Whenever something’s wrong in my life, I’ve asked myself this amazing question:

“What’s great about this?”

But now my only answer was, “Nothing. This just sucks.” I tried asking it again every day or two, but the answer was the same. Down the whirlpool I went.

After moping at the bottom of the ocean for a few weeks, I got a bright memory from my former self.

I actually love being wrong, even though it cracks my confidence, because that’s the only time I learn.

I actually love being lost, even though it fuels fears, because that’s when I go somewhere unexpected.

I pursue these things in small digestable doses. I love little lessons that surprise my expectations and change my mind.   (This is why I aim to make my TED talkssurprising. If we’re not surprised, we’re not learning.)

But I finally answered “What’s great about this?”:

Getting knocked on my ass made me humble as hell. It’s been years since I’d cried for help. It’s been years since my cup was so empty. It’s been years since I was so open to advice.

I smiled, thinking of how much I’ve learned from my friends these past few weeks. I realized how ultimately happy it makes me to be so empty, even if it really fucking hurts at first. It’s better than thinking I’ve got it all figured out.

And with that, the sun came up and the whirlpool went away.

Thank you, life. Thank you, friends.

(Photo by David O’Hare.)

Originally a professional musician and circus clown, Derek Sivers created CD Baby in 1998.

It became the largest seller of independent music online, with $100M in sales for 150,000 musicians.

In 2008, Derek sold CD Baby for $22M, giving the proceeds to a charitable trust for music education.

He is a frequent speaker at the TED Conference, with over 5 million views of his talks.

In 2011, he published a book which shot to #1 on all of its Amazon categories.

Derek Sivers lives in Singapore, where he is creating his next company.

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