Just before the first of the year, we paid a bill that the insurance company ended up covering. So in June we got an unexpected refund.
That same week, we got an bill. It was unexpected too. The bill turned out to be a billing hiccup but, the refund was 5 times bigger than the bill. Guess which one I focused on?
Turns out we all do this. Loss is valued much higher than gain, and not just with money. I can hear great comments on my work for years but, tend fixate on the one bad comment. Michael Lewis unpacks this in The Undoing Project, a book one of my elders recommended and reminded me of recently.
Listen, my son, and be wise,
and set your heart on the right path:
Do not join those who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,
for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags. -Proverbs 23.19-21
Focusing and fixating is what Proverbs calls setting your heart on a path. It’s easy to claim this isn’t a choice but, nothing could be farther from the truth.
A friend posted this on her facebook:
Knowledge: a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom: don’t put tomatoes in fruit salad.
Most of the time we know what path we should set our hearts on. Knowing a fact and doing something with that fact is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Saying 16 presses into how to activate wisdom and how to chose the right path. It’s one word “listen.”
Who do you listen to?
It’s easy to read Saying 16, see the glutton/drunk part, and miss the first word: listen. I know I did.
Listen reframes this saying. Listen asks:
- Who do you listen to?
- Where are you gaining wisdom?
I mentioned one of my elders recommend a book. My elders are a group that I’ve intentionally surrounded myself with. These are the people I listen to. They pray for me, watch out for my blind spots, provide accountability and serve as a sounding board.
How did I get such a great team? I asked.
It may sound overly formal, but it’s not. Most of our communication is on Facebook messenger. But, something awesome happened when I asked people to let me listen to them. Who can you ask?