The Problem with Being Right


Here’s something that gets in our way. We frequently think that, if only we detail things enough, explain it all just so, show them the data and the logic, or add enough energy and excitement to it then they will see, agree, and act. We want to be nice about it, of course. But, secretly, we think,”I am right and you need to hear it, believe it, and behave as I think your should.” And frequently our need to be right is bound up somehow with our value, identity, or worth. (That’s why being right is such a strong, enduring habit.)

Harsh? Yes, for all involved.

You see, no one wants to be told. Will they seek advice? Sure. Will they follow the leaders’ commands? In short bursts when it makes sense. But telling them what to think, believe, or do only generates resistance.

The good news (there’s always good news): we don’t need to be right and we can get great outcomes without all the resistance. To lead, influence, or sell, enter a dialogue. Ask questions. Let the other person’s genius show up. Listen first and long. Allow yourself to pause, to be wise. Navigate by curiosity. Be willing to be changed.

So much easier.


In your corner,


PS: Sometimes we think, “I am not right; they won’t listen; nothing will change here.” This happens whenever we have run into that resistance so much that we give up. Of course, dialogue, questions, allowing genius, and willingness are the cure for this state, too.


Today’s photo credit: Icky Pic via photopin cc;

2 thoughts on “The Problem with Being Right

  1. So timely. I have a challenge getting past having to be right when I present ideas. I’ve been thinking about this one a lot, and I recognize my pattern in your post.

    1. Hey David,

      One good thing is that you are not alone. We all have inherited this tendency. A lot of it comes down to us thinking that we are, in some fashion, our ideas. It’s not too hard to see that this is silly. And our work is to catch ourselves, see ourselves as something much bigger than our ideas, and start to engage with curiosity and anticipation of amazing results.



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