Have you ever met someone who always has to be right? It doesn’t seem to matter what the issue is or if he or she knows anything about it or the about the facts surrounding it. They are right. You are wrong. Period. And so the question—what about you? Would you rather be right or happy?
We’ve talked about this before on this blog and we’re going to talk about it again. It’s an important topic, especially in relationships.
I have asked that question of a number of clients when they dug their heels in and refused to look at any point of view other than their own. I had only one who said he’d rather be right—he couldn’t be happy if he wasn’t right—about anything and everything. It didn’t make a difference how insignificant the matter was. He had to be right. He ruled with an iron fist in both his personal life and in his business. No one else had a say and if anybody crossed him, they were history. He’d have nothing else to do with them. He simply couldn’t understand why his marriage was falling apart and why he couldn’t keep employees in his company. Refusing to admit that he’d ever been wrong, he stood firm. He was a likable guy—nice personality but couldn’t tolerate letting someone else be right.
What about you? Can you let go and let someone else be right now and then? If you know you’re right, but it’s causing a disruption in your relationship, and it isn’t a big deal, can you back off before a fight ensues? Can you work out a compromise that works for both of you?
I’m not talking about life and death issues here. I’m not talking about matters that make or break the bank or your bank account. I’m not talking about issues that change the course of history. I’m asking you if you can allow other people to be right about personal preferences, ideas, beliefs, choices.
- Do you have to make other people wrong or can you be quiet if you don’t agree with them?
- Can you disagree agreeably or does everything become, as we said as kids, “a big hairy deal?” Does a simple disagreement create WWIII?
- Do you subscribe to the belief, “There’s my way or the highway?”
- Can you say to someone, “Good job” even though they didn’t do it your way but still achieved the desired result?
Everyone wants and needs to be right now and then, and no one has the market on total infallibility—not even you. So take some time to reflect on the question, “Would I rather be right or happy?” If your answer is that you’d rather be right, then run, don’t walk, to find someone who can help you because you’re in trouble for the rest of your life.
If you ‘d rather be happy, then watch how you handle disagreements and challenges. When you know you’re right and it’s important, then be assertive in the kindest way you know. When it is not, then take the advice, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and let someone else have a taste of being right.
You just keep on being happy!