There are so many contexts in our lives where being right is rewarded. We grow up going to school being evaluated on how often we are right and wrong with tests and the feeling sticks. Being wrong equates to failure and punishment. Being right means advancing and claiming the rewards. When we’re incentivized to be right for so many of our formative years, how are we supposed to switch modes and interact in a relationship where sometimes being right is less important than being happy?
It takes a lot of work to break a habit, but first you have to recognize the mindset. Then you have to identify: when is it important to be right and when can I be flexible in my beliefs? There are definitely still some situations where being right is critical. If you are wanting to cross through a field, but one person sees that it is full of poison oak that could save the group a lot of unwanted pain and suffering. In that case, you want to be right. If you are going to identify and eat wild mushrooms, you want to be right.
In those cases, being right could save people from pain, but it is a last resort. You are stopping action, calling out a wrong. It is inherently a negative action. Major bummer, dude. When life and limb are on the line, you’re right to criticize someone’s bad idea but it’s still a buzz kill, bud.
It’s a trade-off, though, because in the act of saving the group from potential harm you are hurting the person who had the bad idea. It makes you look like Captain Save-a-bro. What you gain is offset by what you lose. A wise friend wouldn’t want to look for these opportunities, because you’re inevitably going to hurt someone you value to save other people from harm. It is not a great scenario from the jump. In these cases, being right is a necessary wrong.
I’m not saying that you should give up critical thinking. I am suggesting that for me I had to and still have to identify a pattern of wanting to be right that is not always helpful. Instead, sometimes it is better for me to humble myself and to open up to the idea of learning.
Discovering something new is more exciting than being right, for sure. Being knowledgeable is one thing, thinking that you are right is another. If you shift your goal from being right to coming up with the best idea by being open to learning from other viewpoints, then you stand a better chance of innovating and growing together instead of always being stuck in conflict. You gotta follow to lead sometimes, bro.
There are other ways where it’s a benefit to being wrong. I want to be wrong some of the time. I want the world to be safer and I hope that it proves me wrong. I want money to be easier to make and it very well could be. Usually, if we are engaged in arguing and are trying to be right, it’s because we have too much faith in a preconceived notion.
Being open to change means staying honest about how things are going. That might be the hardest part. Understanding that there may be better ways to do things is humbling but can lead to growth. It also helps you to keep your sense of humor.
We develop best practices in life through the habitual adherence to what works. We have corn pone opinions and that’s it, bro, but opinions are not the end all be all. I’m telling you sis, there are other ways to think about this situation. We don’t have to abandon our values to consider the idea that there might be a better idea. The best idea for the common good should win.
Where are your lines? What are your lines? Sometimes having a good rap can help you to steer an interaction in a positive direction. You want to make sure that your rap matches your reality, though. No cap. To rap is to run game. Usually when game runs there are hunters standing by with guns. In this case it is about managing wildlife, not looking for trophies. You can run game to keep the peace.
In other words, you can’t get out of having to be right sometimes, but if you practice techniques of communicating your ideas then you can sometimes steer the course of action in a good direction without impeding the happiness of the group. When life serves you up a situation where you can’t sacrifice being right to being happy, aim for rappy.
Rappy is being persuasive without being argumentative. It starts with your intentions to guide things in a direction you believe to be positive without stepping on your collaborators’ toes. It is about finding the artistry of influence without causing a fight. Listening to other ideas and wanting what they want for them helps to position you so that when you nudge slightly in a different direction you have their trust.
If we can learn to be rappy, it’s going to save us a lot of headaches.