Yesterday I was wrong.
In all the excitement of prepping for the 100th episode of the Good Morning Goldendale podcast, I had gone to my bookmarked sources of data from the CDC and the World Health Organization. The WHO website was experiencing issues and presented a redirect link. I clicked the link, nabbed the numbers, and ran the calculations — then I ran my mouth.
Claiming that the U.S. accounted for over half of the world’s covid deaths just sounded so good, commonsense escaped me for the moment. I wasn’t until I actually listened to the podcast that I realized how wrong I was — and I knew I was wrong, because I’ve been following these numbers since the start of the pandemic.
Thus, I rushed to correct the issue, write an apology, and present the proper calculations. The U.S. accounts for about 16% of the total covid deaths — which is much less than half the world’s deaths, but still disproportionately high given we are only 4% of the world’s population, and we spend more money on healthcare than any other nation.
I chose not to take down the original podcast for a few different reasons:
Because the episode was already broadcast across multiple platforms, people had already listened and read, and the email was already sitting in people’s inboxes — thus, the mistake was already made public and couldn’t be taken back.
Realizing it was such a glaringly obvious mistake stung. I wanted to crawl into a hole, but what good would that do? I’m human, I make mistakes, and I must own up to it. That’s why I issued the corrections and apology, with a desire to make it right.
This was also a learning opportunity for me, and for the audience. Always stay curious, always question the facts, always check the references — this mindset drives my research, but it doesn’t mean the facts I find are infallible.
Hence the humble pie!
In Monday morning’s podcast, Ep. 97 – Have We All Been Deceived?, I tip-toed into a discussion about questioning personal beliefs, which is a challenging exercise in humility. We all believe that we are right — but can we admit when we are wrong? How can I expect someone else to question their convictions, if I’m not willing to question my own? How can I expect someone else to question their facts, if I’m not willing to question my own?
Reflecting on the course of the week, reeling from my big mistake, all of a sudden it felt appropriate that my 100th podcast, of which I felt so proud, would ultimately dash my ego against the rocks of reality. Here was my chance to “practice what you preach” and lead by example. Rather than try to conceal the mistake, I chose to embrace it.
Corrections and apologies were made, lessons were learned, and at the end of the day, the world kept turning. As I soaked in a sunbeam on this beautiful Friday morning, contemplating today’s conversation, the following thought came to mind:
When life serves you humble pie, it’s best to savor the flavor.
We grow wiser when we do, and we grow together when we share these lessons with others.