There are these little phrases that feel so… moving. When I think of or hear them, I hold onto them because they’re a great tool for reprogramming how I think, act and show up in the world.

Today, I had one as I was thinking about what I know to be true, and how I feel when I’m proven wrong. It’s a little humiliating to think you know something and then realize something has changed since then or you are misremembering.

Everything is constantly changing — not just the world, and the technology that surrounds us, but we are changing and so is every person around us.

Every night that we go to sleep, our brains rewire themselves and incorporate the events and new information from the day. So, every day we wake up with a “new” brain that has new information to act on. This is true for everyone. Some of us may change more than others each night, depending on how much novel stimuli they’ve had in a day, but we all do. We wake up with a slightly different understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Our desires and values and opinions change. Our knowledge grows. We become the sum of our life, with that extra day added, and that’s a different sum total than the day before.

So, we can never truly know who another person is, how they feel, or what they want because they are always changing. It’s even true for ourselves. How can we predict what we will learn in the next 24 hours and how that might alter us?

It’s a humbling thought. We want to have the confidence to say we know, but in reality, we know nothing.

Not only can we not trust our expectations of the future, but we can’t trust our memories of the past. All memories are fallible, influenced by emotions and beliefs and attention.

Between that and the constantly, non-stop changing world, we can’t know anything with 100% certainty. You can’t guarantee there isn’t a flaw in your sources. You can’t guarantee your sources are up-to-date and nothing has changed. You can’t guarantee that there aren’t exceptions, nor that you have all of the background information and correct assumptions to base your response on.

The way you want to convey something may have some inaccuracy, insufficiency, or ambiguity. You also can’t know how the other person will hear what you say and if they will truly understand the meaning beyond the face value of the words, since they hear with a different world view and belief system than you. Their perception, even of something as minuscule as each word, is so very different than yours – laden with different connotations, implications, connections, and emotions.

But choosing your words is still a very powerful thing. When you start to phrase things with more consideration, you set clearer expectations. The mutual understanding is improved. The emotions someone has in response are different, and events unfold differently.

Ultimately, you can’t know anything, you can just do your best to provide the answer, and that’s where these phrases I like so much come in to play.

“I remember seeing…” & “I’ve just been told that…” & “I read that…”

Tweaking how you present information has a huge impact on what others expect from you and also what you expect from yourself. Eventually, that can save you from some negative feelings and fall out when those situations where you are wrong do present themselves.

Use these phrases enough, and you may start to realize that you’ve actually become a more humble person.

Keep it sunny,

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