After my recent post regarding why it is okay to be wrong about spirituality, I have found myself continually pondering the whole idea of “wrongness.”
Maybe this is because I am somewhat of an expert at being wrong. And, in at least one respect, I think that my aptitude for “wrongness” has served me quite well. Perhaps I should clarify what I mean, in this particular case, by “wrongness.”
There are a number of skills, actions, etc. that, throughout my life I have always done “the wrong way”:
• I hold my pen/pencil “the wrong way”
• I tie my shoes “the wrong way”
• I frequently shake the carbonation out of soda before I drink it (“That’s the wrong way to drink a Coke,” someone once told me)
• I learned to read two years before before I learned to write (“So you learned it the wrong way,” a teacher once said to me)
However, I am of the opinion that this whole idea of doing something “The wrong way” is just a load of bull.
I would venture to say that I write well enough, despite how I hold a writing utensil … I would even say that I write more than well enough, to be honest, considering the fact that I now make my living at it. I take great pride in this, since my 3rd Grade teacher screamed at me “You’ll NEVER be a writer! How could you, when you’re too STUPID to even hold a pencil right?” (for her part, this rant occurred during a fit that she had after spending a number of futile months trying to force me to change how I held my pen/pencil, by use of these tyrannical little rubber triangles that I consistently chewed down into pencil cushions)
My shoes have never fallen off … and since I am the type who tends to trip over my shoelaces, I have found that my way works better.
Shaking the carbonation out of soda basically turns it into caffeine-infused sugar water … and this is a method I adopted back in my martial arts competition days … I learned that doing this allows the soda to give the drinker more energy, and more quickly.
It’s true that I somehow managed to figure out the basics of reading around the age of 3 (no one seems to know how this happened … but my favorite theory is that it was due to all the Sesame Street and Electric Company I was watching on a daily basis). However, until I was around 5 years old I lived under the mistaken belief that the act of writing consisted of scribbling lines of continuous zig-zags on a piece of paper while saying your thoughts out loud. And, once again, it was due to television. You see, the only actual writing I had ever witnessed by the time I was three years old was on Charles Schultz’s Charlie Brown. When ol’ Charlie Brown would write, we would hear his inner monologue as a series of zig-zagging lines scrolled across his paper. For years, I would take pages of these to my parents and ask what they meant. And for some reason they always made something up, and it was never what I’d intended to write … which only led me to wonder what I was doing wrong to cause the meanings to change. Luckily, a year before I hit kindergarten, my father finally got sick of me bringing him page after page of nonsense and told me “It doesn’t mean ANYTHING, Nathan! You know how to read, don’t you? To write you just make the same letters that you read.”
Wow…talk about a light bulb going off. Even at 5-years-old, I couldn’t believe I’d never made that connection. So, I began working on writing every day. Believe it or not … this is also why I hold my pencil/pen “wrong.” My “closed fist” style of holding my writing utensil eventually evolved into a weird, chopstick-like posture that I use to this day.
Sorry for the digression … but I needed to explain these in order to make my next point about doing things “the wrong way.”
Seriously. Who decided that there was only one “right” way to hold a pencil? And that any other method was “wrong”?
The same with all the rest of my examples.
When someone has told me I was doing something the wrong way, I would always ask them WHY it was wrong. If I didn’t like their answers … I did it my own way.
Not to say that there haven’t been times when this has come back to bite me in the ass … but that’s a subject for another day.
So, the next time someone tells you that you are doing something “the wrong way,” I challenge you to reply with something along the lines of “Says who?” or “What makes it wrong?”
If you don’t feel that their answer justifies their claim of “wrongness” … then forget ‘em. Do it your own way … find your own path.
I say do it wrong.