The Two Great Dangers of Being Right
Now that I think about it, I used to be kind of a jerk.
When I was in college, I thought I knew everything about everything.
I held on to my opinions tightly, and I was sure that I was right about them.
Now that I'm in my 30s, I realize how dangerous my thinking was.
And I realize how much I was hurting my mental health in the process.
If you want to avoid the pain I experienced from trying to be right all the time, you need to learn about the two great dangers.
The Great Dangers of Being Right
1. You Close Yourself Off to New Information
For me, this is probably the most dangerous.
One of my core values is curiosity, and I know now that if I think I'm right, I'm no longer being curious.
To be right is to say, "I have everything I need. I don't need any more information."
This doesn't seem dangerous, and, in fact, modern society loves people who move through life with great confidence, but it's a risky way to be.
Because to be right is to put yourself at risk. When you've decided that you are right, that means that others must be wrong if they don't agree with you. In this world, we can only accomplish the great tasks of our lives with the help of others.
Think about any challenge you've faced that, at one point, seemed insurmountable. I'm going to guess that you had considerable help to get over that barrier. I'm going to assume that you had considerable assistance to make it to the other side.
Why cut yourself off from new information that might assist you?
Why go it alone when you go farther, together?
2. You Decrease Your Chance for Human Connection
What happens when you spend a lot of time around someone who thinks he's right all the time?
Does that make you want to trust that person with your innermost secrets?
Quite the opposite.
People who think they are right all the time are off-putting because they aren't vulnerable. It's like they walk around with an inner tube around their waist that says, "Don't approach me."
Part of the human experience is accepting that we don't know very much and that we're never going to know very much.
This might sound depressing at first, but it's not.
Not knowing is where wonder comes from. Not knowing is what leads us to the pursuit of truth. If you knew absolutely everything, what fun would that be? Life would lose all meaning.
The same applies to your interactions with others.
One of the best ways you can connect with another human being is by being vulnerable.
I get the most responses from readers when I share my darkest secrets and my deepest struggles--NOT when I tout my wisest wisdom because I'm a super-smart person with the power to bestow great depths of knowledge. (Even writing that sentence made me barf in my mouth a little bit.)
If you aim to be right, you're really aiming to be alone.
I'm not saying that you should stop trying to find the truth.
Theoretically, it is possible that you have uncovered great truths that others do not yet understand.
But how likely is that?
To get far in this life, you're going to need others. And to bring others closer to you, you're going to have to show your flaws and admit your weaknesses.
In Conclusion - Being Right is Overrated
As someone who thought he was right most of the time--and was proud of it--let me tell you this:
I'm so much happier pursuing truth instead of thinking I'm right.
It may not seem like there's a difference between the two, but the difference is vast.
It's the difference between a trickling stream and the Grand Canyon.
Sure, a trickling stream is nice to look at.
But the Grand Canyon shocks you with its majestic expanses and vibrant colors.
So, I have one last question for you.
Would you rather trickle?
Or would you rather awe and inspire?