If I was to describe my lived experience of my everyday working life, it would be something like this: imagine a small beetle with the pondering brain of Winnie the Pooh (a brain where everything is entirely possible) and the energy of Tigger.
Now give the beetle a magnifying glass, and drop it in an insignificant crack to excavate for ideas. Every day is an adventure.
In this beetly life, I love it when people email or call me to question the results of my excavations (e.g. my papers, my published views). “What do you mean by this?!?!”. “How can this be??”. “I can’t possibly agree with you!!” It’s like a new adventure opening up in front of my eyes, and the caller is a friend who has just volunteered to travel with me.
Over the years, from these contacts, I’ve noticed two common ways how people seek to refute something.
The first is refuting on the grounds that it’s new to them. An example: I’d written a brief commentary and a therapist who objected to one of the points called me up (good, I am all for it). During the conversation, she kept saying: “How come I’ve never heard about this before?”, implying the point couldn’t be valid because she hadn’t heard of it. ….But… for considering any point at its merits, what does it matter whether or not one has heard about it before…? I don’t understand..? 😕
The second is refuting by insisting that something MUST be. An example: our recent study showed that the factors we therapists assess may not be great predictors of the key outcome. A therapist emailed me “What do you mean that factors currently assessed by therapists are unlikely to explain [the outcome]? They may not fully explain but they must be key… (bolding added by me.)
….But…. What does it mean that something MUST be…? When ever someone says this, it makes me think about when people used to believe the world MUST be flat and the sun MUST circle the Earth. There were really good reasons for believing that these things were true – and yet they weren’t. And I keep thinking “Einstein was a genius, at least compared to me, but I hear a lot of his stuff has been proven wrong so what chances do I have that I’m right?!”
I do realise I am a novelty shark – if I smell something new I swim that way. It doesn’t mean I will jump on any daft idea that comes my way, but my inner beetle genuinely enjoys taking ideas new to it, interrogating them, and judging them at their merits.
So, in my daily life lived experience… I’m in the tiny cracks, excavating ideas… and when I find something, I jump up in excitement to tell others!! And they don’t usually like it 😂.
There is something extremely amusing about being reminded that one is just a tiny beetle using a gigantic magnifying glass, interpreting it all through the brain of Pooh, and reacting to every discovery with the bounce of Tigger.