On Being Wrong by Kathryn Schultz

1) Watch the 17-minute TED Talk called On Being Wrong by Kathryn Schultz (Links to an external site.). Then submit the following:

a) Three quotes from Kathryn, along with a short explanation of why this quote stuck out for you. For example:

“It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right.”

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“This quote really struck me because…” then yada, yada, yada.

b) A brief story of a time when you thought you were right about something, only to find out that you were wrong. How did you respond? Were you defensive, embarrassed, or angry? Did you try to rationalize your way out of it? For example:

Back in my corporate days one on my job responsibilities was to make the company a fun place to work. February 25 was Chocolate Covered Nut Day, so I had the idea to pass out some gourmet chocolate-covered nut clusters to the employees. As I did, I thought it would be a good idea to connect it to the company’s values in some way. Two of these values were to “’wow!’ our customers” and “have fun.” With this in mind, the vendor and I designed a little note with a playful nut character saying:

“Happy National Chocolate Covered Nut Day! Now go nuts to ‘wow!’ our customer and have fun doing it!”

Seemed basic and simple enough to me. But the next day at least one employee (but perhaps more) told HR that they were offended by the note. To them, the note was essentially saying “Fine. Here’s some stupid chocolate. Now get back to work!”

At first I was incensed. I thought is was a sad example of how the trolling Internet culture that has trained us all to catch each other in our words and shame us for the smallest things done for the best intentions was bleeding into real life. However, as I calmed down and looked at the larger context I saw the point. I realized that to folks working their butts off day in and day out, a few chocolate-covered nut as recognition for their dedication was almost a mockery, and that the words I had chose may have worked in a face-to-face meeting in which I could read the crowd, but not in a little note left with some $5 nuts.

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