Watch What I Do Wrong

Watch What I Do Wrong

Nov. 22, 2019

To have Big Points delivered into your Inbox every week, click here.

A strange thing happened the other day.

Only it didn’t seem strange at all when it happened.

I was watching one of my students play before giving a lesson. I’ve been told before to go away, so I asked if it would be okay if I watched for a few minutes.

She said, “I’d love to have you watch. That way you can tell me what I do wrong.


Why did she say it that way?

I know that’s a typical way to say and students have said that to coaches forever.

But isn’t that a weird thing to say?

By putting it that way, it puts the student in a fail-only environment.

Of course I’ll do something wrong. I stink.

But isn’t it just as plausible to say, “Watch me and tell me and confirm I’m doing everything right?”

Isn’t that the same request?

Except one request assumes failure and the other assumes success.

And what is the logical next occurrence if we ask someone to watch what we do wrong?

We’ll do something wrong. Kind of on purpose.

If we do something wrong, we get attention from our coach. After all, we alerted her to our upcoming wrong-ness.

If we screw something up, we get validation. See, I’m right! I do everything wrong.

With a premise based on failure, our brains will seek failure–which is exactly the opposite of what the coach and student are trying to do. Coach and player are trying to make everything work.

Watching what students do wrong guarantees it won’t work.

Everything reverses, though, with a positive twist on the same question.

If a coach is told to watch what a student does right, the student’s brain will try to do something good.

And when the stroke does exactly the right thing, success and connection and validation all follow, but this time it’s in the positive direction.

It’s surprising the damage we can do to ourselves by letting the way we talk to ourselves skew negative.

With just a tiny switch in vocabulary or point of view, we can make guaranteed failure turn into guaranteed success.

All we have to do is have someone watch what we do right.


My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.