Give Up The Need To Be Right
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I have a question for you.
I want you to be really honest with yourself when you answer this question:
How much of your life is dedicated to “being right”?
I’m currently taking a seminar series and one of the things that has come out of that seminar is the idea that we waste an awful lot of time and energy focusing on the idea of being “right”.
If you honestly reflect on this, you’ll see that I’m right! (ha!)
But the real issue isn’t about being right or wrong. The real issue is about how long you hold onto that feeling of righteousness. It’s also about the cost of that sort of mindset.
Let me give you an example: Two friends are driving somewhere new for the first time. They are old friends and haven’t seen each other in a while so they have a lot to discuss. They are having a fantastic conversation when the road comes to an end and they can only turn left or right. There are no signs to indicate which way they should go and the directions they were given didn’t include this information either. One friend, we’ll call him Mr. Left, says “I think we should go left.” The other friend, Mr. Right, says: “No, I’m positive that we should go right.” But Mr. Left is behind the steering wheel and decides to go with his instinct, so they turn left.
Now I want you to consider two scenarios that unfold from this point.
Mr. Right is very vocal about his opposition to the decision to go left. “You’re wrong. This is the wrong way. Turn around and go back,” he tells his friend. But they continue driving. Mr. Right, convinced that they are going the wrong way, cannot sit still. He keeps fidgeting in his seat and steaming over the fact that his friend didn’t listen to him. For his part, Mr. Left can sense his friend’s displeasure and is now getting worried about whether or not he made the correct decision. Twenty minutes later, it is very clear that they made the wrong choice at the intersection, so they turn around. Mr. Left feels very bad about this. “See, I TOLD YOU SO.” says Mr. Right. Clearly he was correct. The facts have supported his position. But then why doesn’t he feel any better? As they drive back, his mind has escalated beyond being upset that his friend didn’t listen to him and has now started thinking about all the other times his friend didn’t listen to him. And about all of the other people in his life who might have dismissed his ideas or opinions. ANOTHER twenty minutes and they are back at the same intersection, only this time they proceed in the correct direction. “We’re now forty minutes later than we would have been if only you had listened to me!” yells Mr. Right. Ten minutes later they arrive at the destination. They are both very stressed out and neither of them is speaking to one another.
In this scenario, Mr. Left still decides to go left and Mr. Right still thinks that this is the wrong decision. However in this scenario Mr. Right has let go of the need to be right. The two men continue their conversations and appreciate the new scenery. After twenty minutes, it is very clear that they made the wrong choice at the intersection so they turn around. “Told ya so!” jokes Mr. Right. Twenty minutes later they pass the intersection without comment because they are too busy with their engaging conversation. Ten minutes after that they arrive at their destination, having had an extra forty minutes of fantastic discussion.
So, how important is it to you to be right?
Oftentimes we are given a choice between being right and having peace. Peace of mind and peace in our relationships. I’m certainly not advocating that you let people walk all over you in the name of “keeping the peace”. You should still stand up for what you believe is right. My advice is to let go of the need to be right as soon as the decision is made, because if you cling to it beyond that point, you are living in the past. And living in the past can only lead to suffering. Living in the past breeds regrets and resentments. And you and I are above that. We’re after lives that are FEARLESS, FOCUSED and FREE FROM REGRETS, aren’t we?
(You know I’m right!)