They say that the two things that are too controversial to write about are religion and politics and while I’m not about to jump into either subject, they both provide a great example of a point I do want to make: 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.
Is anyone reading this happy about what’s going on in Washington or any other branch of politics? Isn’t it profoundly upsetting and even somewhat disgusting that our Congress can’t seem to get anything done. All the Democrats do is blame the Republicans for ever problem we have and the Republicans do exactly the same thing. Why is it that there seems to be no ability on anyone’s part across the political spectrum to get anything meaningful done? Simple answer: no one seems to be interested in being happy. They’re all too busy trying to be right. And I’m willing to bet that if you align yourself with one party or the other, you too believe that what your party is for is “right” and what the other party is for is “wrong.”
Same story with religion. Every group has their doctrine and, of course, it’s the “right” doctrine, even perhaps the only conceivable doctrine. You saw this played out big time in Ireland many years ago and you now see this played out in Iraq and many other countries in the middle east today.
While it’s bad enough that this passionate need to be right at all costs pits political parties and politicians against each other and people of one religion against those of other religions, it also goes on in our companies and in our personal lives. If you go into most companies, what you find is an environment characterized by arguments, conflict, competition, pettiness, gossiping and righteousness. Have you ever experienced any of those things? Of course you have. You may even see it at work on a daily basis. And what drives all of that is this passionate need to be “right,” even if it means that happiness is unavailable.
If any of this makes any sense, and I surely hope it does, here’s my suggestion. 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.