We have been taught since the first day we went to school, that being right is a good thing. Our grades reflected how well we did at always being right by getting the right answer on a test.
Without us ever realizing it, being right gets woven into the fabric of who we are from a young age. We expect to be right and are comfortable with assuming this whenever we think or decide about something. No matter if we spent a lot of time on the thought or decision in front of us.
What you learn later in life is that life itself is not made up of absolutes. in most cases not involving ethics, there is no right or wrong. There is simply better or worse. Was it right to paint your house orange?
Life is made up of cooperation, connection, relationships, and resources. There are short or long term goals we would like to achieve that presents us with a whole different way of looking at our effectiveness when making choices along the way.
Our expectation of the future, together with what choices we make along the way, sets up the discussion of evaluating what we did or are doing as being better or worse. With the knowledge we have we chose to do “X”. If we had more knowledge around what we are about to choose, we might go with “Y”. Facing something for the hundredth time may lead us to a different choice than if it was the first time.
We haven’t even talked about our talent or lack thereof. Do we have the skill to implement the choice we choose successfully. In most matters, do we let our emotions guide our decisions? Or are we the rational, Mr. Spock type, that lets reason hold our hand along the way?
Being right is fools gold. It just simply never is real to the degree we believe it is. Yet I have seen it over and over in many discussions, that people truly believe they are right before they have listened. Before they have reflected on what new information or feedback they have been given.
Our ego, once again, amplifies the belief within us that not only are we right but we deserve to be. Blame it on school if you like. The tests that mattered left out the fact that most of our lives resemble more of the essay question rather than the multiple choice answer.
Figuring out and moving on from being right to looking at what is better or worse frees you to actively engage and participate in the world. Willing to choose, to make mistakes, and be vulnerable always seeking to get better while abandoning the deep need to always be right.
Embracing better or worse also captures life’s essence of how things are more temporary than we think and fertile ground for improvement by making different and better choices along the way.
As you make this a way of life, your conversations should evolve from insisting you are right to exploring if what is proposed appears better than the alternatives based on what you know today.