We choose what we say, when we say it, and how we say it. Each choice has a huge impact on the type of person we become.
Here are some examples and extremes to illustrate (maybe some will sound familiar):
- “I always say what I’m thinking. I don’t need a filter. I know I’m right. I know what’s important. I know what we should be doing. If people can’t handle my views, too bad. They need to toughen up and deal with my honesty.”
- “I’m worried that my views might offend someone. I don’t do well with conflict. I like to listen to all sides. I appreciate everyone’s views and hope they agree with mine. I’m sure they know more about this than I do. I wish they’d do this the right way.”
- “I don’t like it when people come out and ask me, point blank, what I’m thinking about a subject. That puts me on the spot. It’s not productive to be in such a challenging environment. I’m not in a position to influence the outcome anyway.”
- “I need to be less critical of myself. If people could hear what I’m saying to myself about this, they’d be shocked. I have to filter-out almost everything I’m thinking when I talk, especially at work. I’d get fired if they knew what I really thought. I know they won’t listen to my ideas anyway, so why should I speak up?”
- “Here’s what I’m thinking, but you have to promise not to tell anyone. You’re the only one I trust and those others aren’t to be trusted. I’ve never liked them. I usually disagree with them. They don’t know it, and that’s the way I like it.”
- “Dude, you have no idea! Jerry is such a mess, he’s got us chasing shiny objects all over the place! The guy has no clue about what he’s doing. Why should I help him? He got himself into this situation, he has to get himself out. Besides, I knew he’d fail, and this will finally prove it.”
- “I’ve been thinking this might happen, and now it has. I knew it would. I hate being right.”
I’ve known each of these people, and truth be told, I’ve probably been some of them at one point or another in my life.
Each “person” assumes that “I’m right on this, and my approach is the right one.” Not only that, they need to be right and want others to know they’re right (even if they don’t say it).
Why this need to be right? For some, it’s simply a matter of winning (the argument, the situation, the test of wills, the day, etc.). For others, it’s a way to calm that internal voice that describes their flaws so accurately.
The theory goes: “If I can be right and have others acknowledge it, maybe that’ll convince my internal voice that I’m not so bad.” Don’t count on it.
Here’s a challenge:
- Consciously think about the things you give voice to each day, each week, each year. Think about the amount of time and effort you devote to “being right.”
- Imagine spending that time focused on doing things that bring true joy instead (like diving into some water).
- Now that you’ve imagined it, put it into action. Focus on doing those things that bring joy to you and to others.
Being right will find itself whether you worry about it or not. Enjoy!