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A Blurb From Bruce

A Blurb from Bruce - “I’m pretty much always right”


Have you ever worked with someone who thinks they are always right?  I know I have.  They think they are right…about everything…all of the time.  As a life long (so far) student, I have embraced the blended emotions associated with learning – unimaginable joy and labored challenge.  Whether it is hearing new ideas, creating a new plan or simply (or not so simply) acknowledging that we, just might, be wrong – it’s a tough battle, especially for the type A personality – and we all know a few those!

So, is it right to think that we are always right – or is this the one area where we might be wrong?  In order to understand more, I did some digging; some self reflection; some intelligible conversing and what an awesome experience it has been.  Inexcusable and unprofessional as you may think it is, I would encourage you to read on for some shared insight on how to handle that special someone in your life who is “always right”.

Living in the nebulous cloud of self-induced correctness can make you “uneducable”, in other words unwilling or unable to learn.  Being uneducable can lead you to become an isolated and lonely person, as represented, pictographically, above.  Even though the clouds and colors are nice, YOU ARE ALL ALONE!  Combine an uneducable person with an uncomfortable topic and WOW – can someone say defensive!  Right?

Before we jump to conclusions or manufactured opinions about this – let’s lay down a few more thoughts.  Striking the delicate balance between a few of the forces at work in an uneducable person can help bring awareness and understanding to this frustrating personality.  Are you (or they) assertive and bold, or arrogant? Selectively passionate or ignorant?  Sometimes the small difference between those characteristics lies in the very essence of being or NOT BEING uneducable.

So are there ways to help those who seem uneducable?  ABSOLUTELY!  Here are a few easy ways to help:

1.  Rejection or dismissal of an idea or project IS NOT a rejection or dismissal of you. Every time you feel your idea is getting rejected, remember that it is not a rejection of you as a person!!  Although your initial reaction to rejection might be rejection, remember this - we all have different opinions; and this is perfectly allowable.  Rejecting someone because of an opposing opinion is wasteful and unnecessary.  This emotional and circular response needs to be interrupted; take any chance you have for resolution.

2.  Always being right can make people feel worthless. Think about it like this; you make me feel worthless, so I start to feel worthless.  Because I feel worthless, I make you feel worthless, which in turns makes you feel worthless, which then makes me feel worthless and so it continues.  Perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words… (see below)


3.  As the author, and subsequent authority in YOUR life, YOU can allow access to and open up gateways to others; others that may know a bit more of a particular subject than you. This does not devalue and deconstruct you and your profile, but rather empowers you to expand and engage the person you currently are.

4.  In a stressful moment, when you feel the urge to claim your correctness –STOP and THINK – assume for a minute that everything you have learned may be wrong! Surprisingly, you may just open yourself up to learn and treat new experiences as they are.

5.  Remember, the opinions of others have been shaped by their learning and their experience – that they have lived. It, in no way, shape or form, needs to reflect your learning or your lived experience.  Lending an ear probably won’t kill you, and it just might, in some small way, allow you to learn from their channeled experience – from them to you.

6.  Attacking the channel or its source (aka the other person), only devalues yourself; not them. In the words of Lishui Springford “embrace every contact as though it is well-meaning and helpful”; “just enjoy the attention, and learn from the experience”.

The world we live in, especially EMS and critical care, is far from utopia.  That is what makes us special – recognize and realize it.  You are a part of this profession, for better or for worse.  No one is ever right, about everything, all of the time.  Relax; take a big breath, let go of whatever it is that is holding you captive to the force of chronic correctness!





Bruce Hoffman is a critical care nurse, paramedic and current graduate student.  He works as both a clinician and educator in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland, with background in the division of critical care (ICU, ER, Cardiology, and Flight).  He enjoys professional gigs in clinical and distance medical education, advocacy, leadership, consultation and blogging.  He is a frequent and national lecturer for a host of Emergency Medical Services and Critical Care continuing education programs. He remains a member of his hometown ambulance service where he has served in a variety of administrative and operational roles. In his spare time, Bruce enjoys spending time with his wife Stephanie as well as traveling, hiking and biking.



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