Monday, April 11, 2011

Two wrongs never make a right

If my coffee is too sweet, I never add more sugar to fix the problem. It’s the same with our lives. Sometimes we get into difficult situations. We may have made a wrong turn and have lost our direction. Survival books will tell you that the best thing to do in these situations is to stay calm, stop and regain your composure. Usually we do the opposite: we panic and keep moving, ending up far off course.

This happened to my mom when she was in an unhappy marriage. Because she never stopped to regain her composure, she ended up far off her original path. Instead of leaving my dad and finding herself, she made her life much more complicated by finding another man. She says this was her escape route. This new man was the complete opposite of my father. He was young and immature and brought much heartache into our lives.

My mom still lives with this regret and apologizes for the pain this relationship caused her children. Looking back, she knows it was the wrong choice. From her experience, I have realized many valuable lessons. One of the most profound is that two wrongs never make a right. If you have made a bad choice, you can find your way out. The trick is to STOP. Don’t make anymore decisions, evaluate your situation and stay calm. Find a trusted, all-knowing friend, and brainstorm. Throw every possible solution into the air. Write them down. There is no right answer at this stage—just options. Think about them all, weighing the pros and cons. Who will get hurt? What will cause the least damage? Can it be fixed? Come up with plans A, B and C. Then make a decision. Hopefully it will be the right one.

You may know instantly that plan A was the incorrect choice, but don’t give up hope. Move onto plan B, and then all the way through Plan X if needed. If you have made a wrong decision, there is a 50% chance the next one will be right. And always remember, no matter how you add, subtract or multiply, two wrongs will never make a right.

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