Being Wrong but Useful

Alyssa Wright reflects on how creating value and being right don’t always align. Beliefs shape lives, but the utility of those beliefs is often more important than their truth.

We all want to be right, to have a true understanding and right perspective on the world around us. We look around at different perspectives that clash with our own and think those people are ignorant, stupid, or evil. We look into the past and see all the times people were wrong and laugh at how stupid they were.

But in the future, people will look back and laugh at us and how stupid we are. Are, as in right now in this current moment. We are wrong about a lot of things, and don’t even know it. Probably a majority of what we believe to be true isn’t.

In some cases, our wrong beliefs have a functionality. If they have enough sense, they cohere with the rest of our understanding of the world. In science, models are simplifications of reality. In the past, models for atoms were incorrect or an oversimplification. But in high school chemistry class we still learn about Bohr’s model of the atom before we learn about the more complex, more current models. Because there’s a usefulness in the wrongness. The model is inaccurate, but it helps simplify the concept so it is comprehensible.

For this post, I’m drawing from two videos. “On being wrong,” a TED talk by Kathryn Shulz, and “You have no idea how wrong you are,” a video I watched during Praxis last month.

We’re wrong, a lot. Kathryn Shulz said in her talk, “Being wrong feels like being right.” And it does, until or unless we realize we’re wrong. But in the realm of religion or philosophy or etiquette or any number of other things, we will never know if or that we’re wrong. We can change our minds, sure, and think we used to be wrong in what we believed, but we can’t know.

For example, I don’t believe in any god or gods. But a lot of people do. I used to. I don’t know if I’m right or if some of the people who believe in a god or gods are right. I could very easily be wrong. They could very easily be wrong. Everyone is probably wrong. And we’ll never know what’s right. But what we believe is right shapes our lives.

That most of what we think and believe is true doesn’t entirely matter. Most of it is probably wrong. Whether it works and makes sense in relation to what we know and understand of the world matters. Though most of our understanding is probably very wrong. But it works, just like Bohr’s model of the atom. It has a utility.

When we can relate to the world and to each other in a way that makes sense and use that relation to create value, we can succeed. Even if a decade, or century, or millennium from now people look back and think we’re stupid for how wrong we are. If it works and we can use it to create value and improve people’s lives, including our own, we’ve succeeded.

How right we are doesn’t matter. How much value we can create does.

First Value Prop

The details of Alyssa Wright’s first value prop, for Fundera.

Last week I created my first value prop for Fundera. They’re a business that helps other businesses get funding, make financial decisions, and learn about running or starting a business.

I wrote on my blog about learning SEO to write an article for them. I also learned about crowdfunding to dissect the pros and cons of using it. Both of those articles can be found here.

I had a lot of fun writing those two articles for Fundera. I learned a lot about SEO and crowdfunding, and I pushed myself to write quality articles in a short amount of time. I did all my research and all my writing for those two 1500+ word articles in only ten days total.

It was a bit stressful at times, but I pushed through to completion.

This week I’m working on my second value prop. I’ll share the details on that next week.

Recap: Forward Tilt Ep 40

This is part of a series of posts called Recap. In it I will share my notes on the content I consumed followed by my response. The content could vary from a podcast to an article to a Youtube video to a book I read. When applicable, I will link to the content.
I’ve also responded to Episodes 9, 29, and 36.
Episode 40 is called the Rough Draft Mindset. I’ve listened to this episode twice, first early on in Praxis and again now that I’m entering Placement.

Notes

Having raw material to work with is easier than starting from scratch. Early in the program, Praxis participants build some beginning things. First instinct is to ask open-ended questions for ideas. Once there is a rough thing, it’s easier for people to give feedback for improvement. It’s so much easier to edit when you’ve got something started. Before you seek input and advice, have a rough draft. Difference between surveying people, which is abstract, versus creating a prototype and offering something tangible. Isaac Morehouse’s son wanted to start sandwich business. The first attempt got one order, so he brought free samples and got 30 email addresses of people who liked his sandwiches and wanted to order next time.
When you want info and/or feedback, come with a rough draft. Don’t schedule a call about your idea. Have the first draft, have something tangible created and ask for feedback on it. If you get a bunch of generic feedback, you’ll be less likely to act on and talk yourself out of it. If you do a bit, you get a taste, you’re more likely to be able to adapt, respond, and not get analysis paralysis before you’ve even started.
When you have real tangible problems you can get real tangible feedback. Don’t just present an idea, ask for feedback on a rough draft.

Response

It was easier for me to build my pitch deck from a template than from scratch. When I got stuck, I looked at some of the other participants’ decks to see how they approached the deliverable. Before I shared my deck for feedback, I talked with Hannah Frankman, the pre-program advisor about an aspect I was struggling with. After I had feedback from other participants, I edited and refined my deck. Having a template and examples of what I was building (a rough draft of sorts) made it easier for me to build my pitch deck.
I’ve started from scratch on a lot of projects and had to build the base for them myself. In creating N’Zembe, I first had to decide how many planets there were, what they were called, and which of them supported life. Then I was able to expand to the size of each, the length of their rotations and revolutions. From this base I can create the geography and figure out where people live in order to create the history. To go with the history, I am creating the first language, the origin story of the language and the writing systems, etc. I keep building on and with what I’ve already created in order to create more.


Goals and Stress

I’m showing up. I’m done with today and worn out, but I’m still here.

I stayed late at work three extra hours because they needed help. One person was scheduled to be on line from 4-10 and close, so I stayed til 7.

I was gone all day and still had content to consume for Praxis, this blog to come to, Mystical Warriors to write, and the reading I want to do outside of Praxis.

It’s getting late, and I want to give myself a break. But I also want to meet all the goals I set for myself. I’m not always good at balancing my responsibilities with my leisure time. I’m aware of this. Often it seems I try to do too much of either at once and wear myself thin. Too much of work, work, work and I feel I desperately need a break. Too much fun, fun, fun and I stress myself out because I have so little time left for what I need to do. I’m still working to find a balance.

I try to do everything I need to early in the day and then relax and have leisure time in the evening/night. That’s not always what happens, but I think that works best for me.

Happy New Year!

It’s already 2019! It’s always crazy how quickly the new year comes. Time seems to be flying by faster and faster.

I have a lot planned and a lot of big goals for this year. I’ll be writing for this blog and Over the Invisible Wall and working on my novel! That plus Praxis is going to be insanely busy, but I know I can figure it out.

The Mingling of Inspiration and Goals

This whole blog has a lot of unplanned content written when I sat down to write. I’ll readily acknowledge that this is one of them. But I had some great ideas while driving home, and that inspiration led to the idea for this post.

Earlier this month, I wrote about how I experience inspiration. This idea is similar but is specifically on the intersection of inspiration and goals.

On the drive home I suddenly realized I wanted to write a sequel to The Diary of Kaashif Sarwan. I recognized despite my excitement, though, that if I want to finish my novel, I need to focus on that first. This idea is thrilling and has more appeal because it’s shiny and brand spanking new. But I committed to myself that I would finish my novel.

My approach to this dilemma is two-fold. On one hand, I won’t be giving up my goal of finishing my novel in 2019. On the other, I may allow myself to start the new stories after I finish the short story I started and in addition to any daily work on my novel I’m doing. Because I have a big goal and I’m sticking to it, I have to be strict with myself. I want to do both, but I have prioritized one over the other.

Inspiration has at least initially fueled all my story ideas, but it doesn’t decide what I do when. I wrote down the ideas I had, so I will more easily recall inspiration when I’m ready.