The Best Wrong Answer


Years ago, I had an algebra teacher who would give tests expecting us to come up with the best wrong answer. I never understood this mindset then, nor do I understand it today. Although this way of thinking has caused me to ask if maybe we are living by the best wrong answer.

How often do we allow our self-doubt to dictate the direction of our lives? Our self-doubt may sound something like this, “You can’t write a book.” Because of this doubt, we don’t write the book we have always wanted to write, thereby believing our self-doubt. Then justifying our inaction because our doubt is deeply rooted in our consciousness. This is the best wrong answer. The answer is wrong because our self-doubt lies, but we believe our doubt to be true, for some unknown reason.

When we look back over the course of our lives, can we see times when we didn’t move forward because the best wrong answer was that we couldn’t perform a certain task. The best wrong answer would be, “We do not have the skills, or talent necessary to accomplish the job, so why bother?”

Think of the limiting beliefs we may live by every day that are the best wrong answer; “I need the money”, “It’s better than being alone”, “I’m too short, too tall, too thin, too fat”, on and on it can go. All these answers are the best wrong answer. Wrong because they are not true, and best because we fail to question these answers. Often we talk ourselves out of success before we even begin.

Imagine a world where people like Picasso, Maya Angelou, Beethoven, Steinbeck, and Gloria Steinem, had chosen the best wrong answer, instead of questioning their self-doubt, to find what was true and right for them. They challenged their false beliefs, and the doubt of those around them to have a real impact on the world.

Is the best wrong answer just an excuse for not doing the hard work of finding what is true for us? It’s easy to sit on the couch after a day at our unfulfilling job complaining about how miserable our lives are. Yet it takes courage to look in the mirror and realize that the best wrong answer is in fact wrong, no matter how we justify it.

Any time we accept the best wrong answer, we are limiting the potential of our lives. We are accepting a course of action that will not lead us to what will make us truly happy. Sure life has its challenges, and yes, at times life asks us to do things we would rather not do. But in times like these we can still remain true to ourselves by following the guidance of our intuition, instincts, and inner voice.

When we begin to think of the things we have put off because we have come up with the best wrong answer we may become discouraged. They say the best time to plant a tree is today or twenty years ago. Rumor has it that Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t become an icon until he was sixty years old, Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting in earnest until she was seventy-eight.

Is it because they accepted the best wrong answer, believed their self-doubt, or accepted the false beliefs of others? I don’t know. Maybe they realized it was their time to show their gifts to the world. Because they found the best wrong answer to be wrong, we now have beautiful paintings, and architecture to admire.

If we sit on our hands accepting our own best wrong answer we may never live to the fullness of who we are. How do we get to a place of knowing our best wrong answer is indeed wrong? Look over your life and think of the times when you were truly joyful, happy and content. These positive feelings were telltales of what was true and right for you. Even if these activities were in your past, if they brought you a level of joy you can still pursue them today.

The best wrong answer never made any sense to me. Yet if we are courageous enough to look within ourselves to discover what makes us truly happy, in a self-loving way, we will begin the journey of finding the answers that will always be true and right for us. Thereby living to the fullness of who we are.


How often do we choose the best wrong answer because it doesn’t disrupt our comfort zone?

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I’m always open to exploring the subject further.

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