You’re Doing it Wrong

2 minute read

mr.momposter

On days when I’m rolling deep at a level 1 vibration, my thoughts flood my brain like bats in the belfry. I’m revved up and feel like a raving mad Cruella De Vil. It’s an incredibly hot look, let me tell you.

Sometimes this feeling catches me off guard, and other times there’s a subtle tingling deep inside readying me, like the ding of the airplane seatbelt sign, and I groan knowing what’s to come. Then slowly but surely that light tremble whooshes through my entire body, and I’m gripped with a turbulence of overwhelm.
Son of a bitch got me again.

11 times out of 10 it’s when I’m doing something for the first time.

Everything’s out there when we try something new. We’re raw. Vulnerable.

Whenever I’m faced with uncharted territory – no matter the size – I’m reminded of Jack Butler, Michael Keaton’s character in the 80’s classic, Mr. Mom.  As a newly appointed stay-at-home-dad, due to a surprise lay off, everything is instantly on the line. In one scene he attempts school drop-off for the first time and drives in the wrong way. He is immediately informed by everyone (including his kids) that he’s “doing it wrong.” Yes, I see that. Thank you and screw you.

mr.mom.gif

So, how can we make fun of doing it wrong? How can we ease up on ourselves? Because the answer lies in what shifts our perspective to want to take more chances and get excited about taking bigger risks long term. We become more resilient, and, yes, even excited, of the unknown.

A big part of the answer is in Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset. She helps us course correct so that we do not become consumed with results and focus more on the effort. She breaks our mind down into two groups: fixed or growth. Obviously, we’re aiming for the latter here. The growth mindset is what allows us to strengthen our resiliency and shut up our ego’s nagging judgment. Growth has us shift our perspective on what it means to take on new challenges with gusto so that our sense of worth is nowhere near on the line.
 “Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
– Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Challenge accepted!  I aim to quiet my inner Cruella and allow myself to be uncomfortable with knowing that although I may be doing it wrong atleast I’m doing it.  I consistently have to remind myself that becoming comfortable with the uneasiness of newness is the only path to take. Its the best way to build a habit of living a life going for it instead of one riddled with regret.

Is it easy? Hell no!

If you’re anything like me, being aware of this is tough. It’s in our wiring to hold onto negative experiences for protection for our existence. Like the psychologist, Rick Hansen says, our “brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.”  The problem arises when we consistently connect doing something new and unfamiliar with not so great feelings. Then we program ourselves to steer away from ever trying anything out of our comfort zone and that’s just a recipe for a numb and dull existence.
“Anyone who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.”
-Albert Einstein
So, just like Jack Butler, it’s time to own that we’re all a little clueless and scared that we’re going to make fools of ourselves. One relief is that within all of this uncertainty, what’s in our control is how we think about the experience. We won’t learn how to do it right until we do it. And if you need a scotch before 7 am to make it happen – so be it. No judgment here.


Mr. Mom (1983, Director: Stan Dragroti Screenwriter: John Hughes)
After he’s laid off, a husband switches roles with his wife. She returns to the workforce, and he becomes a stay-at-home dad, a job he has no clue how to do.

Jack Butler: [Enters scene revving chainsaw] How ya doin’. You must be Ron Richardson. I’m Jack Butler, nice to meetcha.

Ron Richardson: Pleased to meet you.

Jack Butler: Huh?

Ron Richardson: I say I’m pleased…

[Jack Turns chainsaw off]

Ron Richardson: …to meet you. I’m just waiting for Caroline.

Jack Butler: Well, uh, you know women.

Ron Richardson: Yeah, I’d like to think I do.

Jack Butler: Wanna beer?

Ron Richardson: It’s 7 o’clock in the morning.

Jack Butler: Scotch?

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