We high-achievers are convinced that if we choose to argue a point, we are right. Right?
Always being right not only hurts your relationships, but it is also a heavy responsibility to bear. You have to work harder to discount other people’s ideas than if you just looked for the value in their suggestions.
Yet, because “being the one who knows” is foundational to your sense of self, you may feel uncomfortable letting go of this persona. The practice is worth it — life is so much easier and healthier when you don’t have to be right.
Opening my mind to the possibility that someone else could come up with a useful idea was a breakthrough in my relationship with my former boss. I was complaining to my coach about how my boss disrespected me by forcing me to accept his ideas without hearing mine when she explained,
“He is doing his best with the amount of light he has; his light is small while yours is large. But he is doing his best with what he has.”
I loved that explanation until she added, “Now, you have the responsibility to model what big light looks like.”
I knew she was right. If I was truly “the person who knows better” then I had to slow down my negative reactions to his contrary ideas.
Funny thing—when I quieted my defensive mind enough to hear him out, I found some interesting kernels in what he proposed. When I began acknowledging his ideas, he in turn asked to hear mine, which he then praised.
That’s when I realized that two people who like to be right will never have a satisfying discussion until one of them lowers the wall.
Here’s my challenge to you…let someone else be right this week on something that matters to you. You can offer another point of view, but only after you acknowledge that their perception has value. Let me know what happens.