Are You Addicted to Being Right ?

Odd question? Well, what does being right mean to you? Is it about always getting what you want, winning the argument? Do you get cross when things don’t go your way? The new download you installed won’t run. That concert that you were really looking forward to is sold out.

So things didn’t work out the way we thought they would, or decided they ought to have.

What could the universe have been thinking?

In today’s world of instant gratification it’s easy to get addicted to expecting things to go our way all the time.

But extremely unwise.

Such concepts as success and failure, winning and losing, are polarities created by the mind.

The need to be right often lies, not so much in striving for excellence, as it does in avoiding looking foolish. This betrays the real insecurity that underlies such linguistic monikers as success and failure in the first place.

It derives from personal history, our need to prove something to ourselves. It can also be a tribal thing. Fear of letting down the team. The team here may be your family, your best mate, the school you went to, even your country. All these spurious obligations cloud our vision.

Attitude of Gratitude

I talk about gratitude quite a bit on the uss, and it really is a great way of neutralising the polarity between success and failure. Does that mean you should be thankful if you fall and break a leg? Well, why not, you could have broken the two! However, without being facetious, it genuinely is good to look for the benefit in any situation. Here it could be the opportunity to rest and reflect on where you’re going. Perhaps you were rushing around trying to do too many things at once, and life is giving you the opportunity to re-evaluate your life. Whether we like it or not lying on our back is a good way to do that.

Or it could be steering you in a new direction. If you apply for a job and get turned down that can seem like a blow at the time, especially in these recessionary times.

But what if around the next corner lay the perfect opportunity for you, leading to doing the work you love, not just a job, and to limitless financial freedom? Now, undoubtedly had your first application been “successful” you would have missed that life-changing opportunity, and condemned yourself to a life of tedium and drudgery.

So wasn’t the first failure really a success?

What if we started looking at life in that way?

All the time!

Rejoice in your life, not just what you think is right

Why not celebrate every aspect of your life, even those things you deemed at the time to be failures. We can be quick to label things as bad luck, failure, poor judgment, loss, but so many of these are really successes in disguise. It’s our addiction to being right and the narrow definition we hold that in which prevents us seeing the fuller picture.

Have you ever considered that when things don’t work out the way you wanted, there might just be a lesson in there? Take the example above of breaking a leg. Now if you think that lesson a bit severe, consider the possibility that you may have been ignoring earlier ones, less extreme. Life is very gentle, it gives us lots of little nudges in the direction that’s right for us. But if we choose to ignore them it hits us with the slam dunk.

Gratitude doesn’t mean we have to like an outcome. And it certainly doesn’t preclude change. I’m a great advocate of regular change. As an antidote to stagnation. Where possible change your own life for the better, and change the world too. But if the change you want to see isn’t possible, at least not yet, then try accepting things as they are. When we resist we create more of what we don’t want.

In time, if it’s truly meant for you, you’ll see the change you wanted.

Be wrong!

Concomitant with this obsession with being right is a paranoia that one might just be wrong. In other words we have made it wrong to be wrong. But when we do so this leads to a lot of unnecessary, and misplaced shame and guilt. All life is really one great science laboratory. Everything is experiment. Things not working out or going “wrong” is a way of uncovering what does work. If we try to eclipse the wrongs we will never learn anything.

Every successful person learns what it’s like to fail. This is the bedrock of their success. This is true in sport or in business. The Olympic athlete will miss the prize many times but this is never seen as failure, only as a stepping stone to eventual victory.

The entrepreneur will invest thousands of dollars testing a new product to determine how it can fail. When all eventualities are eliminated he knows how it will succeed.

This fear of being wrong can make us cling to old ideas and arguments instead of listening to all sides of the debate. It can make us less tolerant. And if we’re less open and flexible to others’ views and new ideas then ultimately we’re the ones losing out.

Strive to do the right thing in any situation, just don’t insist you have to be right every time. And don’t label something as a mistake just because it isn’t exactly as you would like it. There are higher forces at work here. Try tapping into those.

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There is a voice that doesn’t use words - listen!


Reality is merely an illusion - albeit a persistent one.

Albert Einstein