Some things just are…no matter what we think

An interesting little story of pride and how it can ruin you.

When I was in high school, I made average grades. By average, I mean a “C” average. I did not enjoy school work that much but did enough to just get by…most of the time at least.
One day, in my English class, we had a vocabulary test. I couldn’t tell anything about when the test was except that it was my Senior year and I was most likely 17 years old or older. You know, the age where we think we know EVERYTHING! So on this test it was multiple choice and one of the questions was to identify the meaning of the word “detrimental”.

Now most of you probably are saying that is easy, but this test I apparently did not study very well for. One of the choices for the definition was “important” and I selected it. This test was an exam that would not be returned to me so I had better do my best.

So when the test results came out, I passed with a “B” or “C” and I assumed that I knew which definitions I had gotten wrong.

Fast forward about 15 years later…I am about to give a speech to a pretty large group about adoption. Most of the people knew me, but some did not so I felt that I needed to emphasize many points. I used this word “detrimental” as meaning “important” several times. Afterwards, I was approached by someone who asked if I really knew what I was talking about. They then informed me of my mistake.

My credibility was definitely shaken and I did not speak in front of crowds for quite some time afterwards.

Besides the point that I heard a wise man say that to be successful in life, you must master the use of your language to get across your point in as few words as possible, I learned a valuable lesson that day. That learning experience cost me years.

Make sure that you understand what you say, whenever you say it. Your reputation may be riding on it.  Have you had a similar experience?  Some may profit from it if they read it here.