Right vs Happy revisited

In last week’s post, I asserted that life always only provides you with two choices: you can either be right or you can be happy! Unfortunately, far too many people think that the way you get to be happy is by being right. It just doesn’t work that way. Whether you like it or not, or agree with it or not, those two choices are mutually exclusive.

The most common response I received said things like: “sometimes you really are right about something.” Or another said “is it fair to not confront someone who is doing something wrong?” And, of course, my super religious readers weighed in with their opinion that in their version of God’s world, there really is right and wrong.

What get’s missed in all of this, and the point I want you to at least consider, is that all of these responses involve judgments and, more specifically, judgments on the part of the person or organization that asserts that something is right or wrong, whichever the case may be. And I understand that. People have experiences that cause them to draw conclusions and, especially after many similar experiences, those conclusions seem totally valid. So, when another operates inconsistent with those conclusions, it makes complete sense to conclude they are “wrong.”

But what isn’t fully understood or appreciated is that with seven billion people on the planet, it is surely possible, and even likely, that seven billion different conclusions could be reached given the exact same circumstances. With that reality, whose conclusion is right and whose is wrong? I’ve gone to an extreme to point out that every conclusion, every opinion, every judgment is only true for the person making it. And to think that any person is in a better position than any other to conclude what’s “right” in any situation is just not feasible or logical.

But it’s so easy to not see this when another is acting in a way which violates our standards. But if you can take a moment, in the heat of the situation, and see that what is happening is violating only your standards and might be totally fine in the world of the other, the temptation to make the other person “wrong” quickly dissipates. With that gone, it’s entirely possible to have a non-judgmental conversation with the other and end up with both of you happy. Such is never really possible if you insist on being right.

As I concluded last week, if any of this makes any sense, and I surely hope it does, here’s my recommendation: choose being happy. Now I’m sure that in reading that, your reaction is: of course I want to be happy! Unfortunately, what it means is that you are willing to give up the need to be “right,” about everything. It means giving up being judgmental, making people wrong, taking sides, playing win/lose and good/bad. It means you let all of that go. Sound like a tough assignment? Not really, because doing so comes with a huge reward: you get to be happy! Give it a try and see for yourself.

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