News flash: you don’t need to be right! But It’s an epidemic -not like the Ebola virus, or Nile virus, or Dengue fever, or polio, or SARS or even Legionnaires disease. The epidemic I’m referring to is you don’t need to be right!
Most everyone living on this planet needs to be right. The need to be right is the most important way the ego is satisfied. It doesn’t matter if other people are hurt, maimed or killed in the act of your need to be right. The “need to be right” syndrome feels good and no one is going to take that away from you. Long live your ego!
If I were inclined to feel a little generous about the human race after years of being exposed to wars and the global killing field, I might give mankind a break and proffer that all this cruel and brutal behavior is a result of the worst inclinations of man’s collective unconscious. Yet, these despicable atrocities seem to have purpose, and frankly I’m not in the mood to cut mankind a break. Most human destruction is caused by man’s obsessive need to have to be right.
- It’s about needing to be right about religion and whose G-d is the best and the brightest, the most creative and whose G-d wrote a best selling book.
- It’s about nationalism and my country needs to capture more land, or it’s my right to take back land that once belonged to my country.
- It’s about needing to be right about social issues on which there are wide divergences of opinion causing extreme polarization.
- It’s about needing weaponry to defend my country against those who we imagine want to attack us – “my rocket is bigger than your rocket and bigger than any other rockets on the planet.”
- It’s about needing to be right about which chief disciple carried forth the word of the Master or G-d or Allah because my disciple is better than your disciple.
Human kind knows no limits when it comes to needing to being right. Nobody’s opinion or idea has any value or worth outside of your agenda. It’s an absurd premise. Needing to be right is over-rated and here’s why:
1. The need to be right comes with a heavy price.
People who have to be right find themselves alone and isolated from groups of friends, colleagues or families. They hold on to their righteous ideology and opinions so tightly that no one can have a reasonable dialogue with them. A heavy shield descends over their exterior, which in turn reflects their inner need to never let go of the person they project to others. The need to be right becomes a crusade. Even though they might suffer emotionally, physically and intellectually, they would never notice the negative effects or debilitating psychic downward spiral. However hard they push their ideological agenda, these people fail to realize that they are more than the thought they are projecting.
2. The need to be right does not respect the individuality of others.
Every person is born with unique DNA. Every brain is wired differently. What you think comes from nurture and nature just as what I think comes from different constructs. This suggests a need for mutual respect. But if someone can’t let go of having to be right, their mindsets become rigid and fixed in patterns that prevent openness to others.
3. The need to be right destroys the possibility of entertaining alternatives.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word right as “conforming to facts or truth; most favorable or desired.” This definition conflates truth with fact. Whose truth? Whose fact? What if two different viewpoints each conform to the truth? Which is more right? Or is one person’s truth the other person’s fiction?
4. The need to be right leads to self-destructive behavior.
It’s human nature to perceive people who have to be right as know-it-alls. This implacable attitude conjures up self-righteousness, pictures of loners, and people who are alienated from interaction in society. The general perception is they are not a team players or don’t work well with others. They are hard to get along with. They turn away connectedness and love.
5. The need to be right cuts you off from possibilities and opportunities.
People who have to be right perpetuate their own isolation and cut themselves off from what the world has to offer because they are convinced they know best. Their rigid ideas and opinions keep them from evolving. They cannot and will not see a future. Life stands still. Worse, they are stuck in the past.
6. The need to be right kills curiosity.
People who have to be right do not practice active listening. They don’t hear what’s going on in the environment. If they don’t listen, they never learn anything new. Curiosity dies slowly and in the end nothing but validation will ever interest a person who has to be right. For a mind to develop, it needs to entertain alternative thoughts, ideas and desires. How do you learn if not through others?
7. The need to be right is not worth the struggle.
It takes so much energy for people to have to be right. Sometimes it even takes weapons to keep their ideas alive and spreading to others. Those who take ideas to extremes with a single-minded purpose and never notice different shades of gray are the true losers in their fight to keep their beliefs alive.
If people just didn’t need to be right, they might notice things differently and start to accept change as not only inevitable, but good. They might actually recognize they are feeling happier because they are more connected. They might accept new possibilities for a more meaningful and fulfilling life.