Do You Always Need to Be Right?

An old Harvard Business Review article told the story of a man who made a million dollar error. When asked why he didn’t get fired, his boss said, “Why would I fire you, you are worth one million dollars to us now.” In other words, the man’s mistake was looked upon as a benefit to the company.

Needing to be right all the time is not beneficial to us or others. For one thing, the insistence of your assertions can be annoying to others. Perhaps you constantly interrupt your family members or your team at work. Being right crowds others out of their chance to shine or fail, as noted in the above paragraph. Failure can lead to success.

The need to be right can be harmful to your relationships. You can be perceived as overbearing and brutish. Your wife wanted to learn how to operate the compound miter saw. Instead of instructing her calmly, you insisted there was a right way and wrong way to operate it. You may have had her safety in mind, but your your tone of voice was harsh. You wife stormed off.

Why do you insist upon being right? Is it because you have a need to feel in charge or valued? You may be smart, but consider taking a close look at your self esteem. If you are pushing your loved ones away and people at the office walk the other direction when they see you coming, maybe it’s a good time to get into therapy.  

In therapy you could examine the merits of being a good listener. Listening to others may give you an innovative idea of which you wouldn’t otherwise have considered. Give the other guy a chance to shine. Show you care about what they think, or what’s going on in their lives. Listening is a way of connecting to others. You don’t have to have the stress of being at the top of your game day in and out. You can take a breather, relax and feel relief from the need to be right.

You can practice letting go of being right. One way is to agree to disagree. Another is to acquiesce in a disagreement. This could improve how you are perceived—he’s softened around the edges. You’re not out to win a popularity contest, but everyone needs friends and family members who like being around them.

 

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