Getting Better by Being Wrong

Do you surround yourself with people who confirm your view of the world, people with whom you enter into an implicit agreement to keep one another comfortable, safe and secure?

Or…

Do you surround yourself with people who challenge your view of the world, people with whom you enter into an explicit agreement to explore, to question and to learn why and how things have happened, good or bad?

If these questions are even remotely interesting to you…if they spark even the slightest bit of curiosity…you MUST listen to this podcast: Getting Better by Being Wrong. It will push you, uncomfortably and unrelentingly, to confront your commitment to learning and your willingness to surround yourself with people who won’t let you get away with the same old explanations for why things are the way they are.

I referenced this conversation with clients three times today, after listening to only the first 40 minutes.

If I don’t have you convinced to check it out, maybe the “official” podcast description, from The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish, will help:

“I have wanted to do this interview for a long time. On this episode, I am thrilled to have Annie Duke, former professional poker player and author of the new book, Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts.

Annie has a very interesting background that makes her uniquely qualified to speak about high-level decision making. As an author, speaker, world-class poker player, and academic in the fields of psychology and cognitive theory, Annie understands the intersection of luck, skill, and making decisions in uncertain, chaotic environments better than most people on the planet.

This is a whirlwind of an episode, and we cover all kinds of fascinating topics, including:

  • The strange circumstances that shifted Annie’s path from finishing a Ph.D. in linguistics to becoming a professional poker player
  • What it was like to be a female poker player in a predominantly male sport (especially before poker had become socially acceptable)
  • What drew Annie into such a high stakes, time-pressured environment and why she felt like poker was the perfect fit for her
  • How her graduate work in psychology informed the way she approached the game of poker — and helped her rack up wins
  • How she finds the signal in a very noisy stream of feedback
  • The big mistakes Annie noticed other players making that were stalling their progress in the game but allowed her to make giant leaps forward
  • The role that mental models played in her learning process (and which models Annie liked to lean on the most in a high stakes game)
  • The power of surrounding yourself with people that can help you expand your circle of competence — and how that made all the difference in Annie’s development as a player
  • Confirmatory and exploratory thought, and how one helps us to be “accurate” and one helps us to be “right.”
  • The secret pact you should be making with the people who are closest to you

And so much more.

This episode is just under two hours long, but there’s no fat in it. Annie delivers a masterclass in making the smartest decisions we can, even when our hubris insists otherwise. Do some finger stretches before hitting play, because you’re going to be taking some serious notes.

Please enjoy the interview!”


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.

The Blessing is Outside Your Comfort Zone

The title of this post is taken from an OnBeing interview with Ashley Hicks, co-founder of Black Girls RUN!. Buying new running shoes for her second marathon she tells the salesman that she is nervous and concerned about the upcoming race. In response he says, “Yeah, the best thing for you to remember is that the blessing is outside of your comfort zone.”

She continues, “Whenever I’m challenging myself to something new, I keep saying that. The blessing really is outside of your comfort zone. If you stay and do what you’re comfortable with you’ll never experience something new and incredible.”

When I agreed to teach undergraduate business school students last fall I found myself on a new edge, one that had me both frightened and energized. I have given hundreds of talks and facilitated at least as many classes, the longest of which was three days long. A semester’s worth of preparation and impact with something as important as a grade attached to it was brand new territory and I was concerned that I had the ability to sustain it. That concern was baseless. It came from my lizard brain and threatened to sabotage an experience that I knew could be extraordinary.

And it was, because the blessing is outside my comfort zone.

Earlier this summer, I agreed to teach a new class for the same college this fall semester. My lizard brain’s reaction was swift and startling. Despite two consecutive semesters of successful classroom experiences my default reaction was to resist and doubt myself in the face of the unknown.

The edge of possibility, the threshold of growth and blessing, is always attended by a voice of doubt. If it isn’t then the edge is not an edge in the first place! It is not my job to conquer it, to arrive at some plateau of uber-confidence where I never feel the twinge of fear. My good work is to feel its presence and use it to remind me that on the other side of that feeling is the version of myself I most aspire to be.

Fear has no chance in the face of a blessing.

DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.