Would You Rather Be Right or Be Happy?

Do you hold a strong need to be right all or most of the time? Are you judgmental and do you spend a lot of time keeping track of who’s right and who’s wrong? Do you often benefit from allowing others to share their opinions? Is your need to be right enhancing or limiting your life and happiness?

The need to be right is deeply embedded in our culture. Being right affirms and protects the image we want to project to others and ourselves. A personal investment in being right can naturally lead to wanting to impose our way of thinking onto others.

What if there are few – if any – fixed rights and wrongs in the world? We all have our own preferences that have been shaped by our past experiences and what we have been taught but what if there are fewer rights and wrongs than you imagine?

The fact of the matter is that each of us views the world through our own lenses. Convinced that we are right, we often try to force our opinions on others. But trying to control the opinions others is futile and doomed to fail. This becomes very clear when two people are asked to describe the same event and they deliver two very different accounts. How can we declare that we, alone, are right about anything when we don’t see things the same way and everyone has their own mental model of the world?

It may be time to ask yourself: would you rather be right or would you rather be happy? Invariably, the compulsion to be right sidetracks our lives and diminishes our happiness and learning. The inflexible thinker lives life on the defensive and often alienates others by showing rigidity and intolerance. On the other hand, you will be more approachable and you can feel more at ease with your life when you relax your need-to-be-right attitude.

Loosen your grip on your need to be right. Extend tolerance to other people. Give up proselytizing and trying to “fix” others. Release a lot of unnecessary anger and frustration by accepting people for who they are rather than whom you want them to be.

Make the choice for happiness by extending tolerance, accepting others, and releasing your need to be right. Be a friend to yourself and others. Enjoy – instead of curse – the wonderful diversity of ideas and opinions that make up our shared human experience.

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