[mis-uhn-der-stan-ding]

noun

1. failure to understand correctly; mistake as to meaning or intent.

2. a disagreement or quarrel.

 

There must be some kind of mistake

There must be some kind of mistake

Working backwards from outcomes to find their cause is a dangerous business. Understanding how prone this method is to the post hoc logical fallacy, you’d think I’d be somewhat inured to making the kinds of assumptions associated therein. Nope; I do it all the time.

I’ve been doing it to my considerable detriment for a long time now. Having been trained in the scientific method, once upon a time, it recently occurred to me I might want to try applying this to my own real world experiment called life. I formed a hypothesis, created controls, and analyzed my results. Turns out, my hypothesis was right: I’ve been doing things all wrong.

As much as this is disappointing on one level – I can’t resist feeling foolish for not having considered this possibility a long while ago – it is also extremely encouraging. I have been sinking under the weight of trying to do everything I can to support myself in achieving the best possible outcomes. I did so operating under the assumption I was doing the correct set of things to accomplish that; even though some of those correct things were odious and my results were deteriorating in quality over time.

What this auto-experimentation tells me is that though I have the persistence to do even unpleasant things that I believe are in my own best interest, most of what actually serves me best are things I feel a more natural affinity for and enjoy on their own account. This is reassuring, as it is nice to know that I can and will act on my own behalf even if it isn’t the path of least resistance. But it is also a profound relief to know that I don’t have to go on justifying the unpleasantness that goes along with these things I have been doing that are not working  simply because they are “good for me.”

In moments like these, I am reminded that sometimes, being wrong is the best case scenario.