My dad taught that it’s better to lose an argument with a smart person than to win one with a stupid person. He said, when you lose the argument with a smart person, you have learned something. When you win one with a stupid person, you’ve learned nothing.
There’s a lot of truth in this teaching, but the truth and reality is, everybody wants to win the point. Nobody wants to be wrong. Everybody wants to be right.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about when a decision needs to be made. I’m talking about ordinary conversation, with each person wanting to win some silly point that has no bearing on anything at all. You know – the small stuff. I always loved the saying – Don’t get stuck on the small stuff – It’s all small stuff.
This brings to question:
1) What exactly is so important about being right?
ANS: It makes us feel smarter and better than the next person. Quite an ego builder, isn’t it?
2) Did you ever ask yourself: Why is it that I always want to be right?
Ans: The truth is, we don’t really feel that good about ourselves and need to be right. When
we truly feel good about ourselves, being right or wrong doesn’t come up – it’s not
3) What do you get for being right? – A prize of some kind?
Ans: Whatever it is you get, can you spend it, or buy something with it? Can you add up all
the times you were right and trade them in for something? IT’S WORTHLESS and MEANINGLESS!
1) What is wrong with being wrong?
Ans: People will think your stupid? Nobody will want to be your friend? It’s shameful being
2) Did you ever ask yourself: Why don’t I ever want to be shown as being wrong?
Ans: The first thing is, if you have a title of some kind (ex: Doctor, Lawyer, Professor,
School Teacher, etc) there is no way you can be wrong – you cannot afford to let others
see you as being wrong.
A parent being made wrong in front of their children, has no choice but to ‘win’ the
point. There is nothing wrong with providing a model of being willing to listen and learn
from someone who may be able to teach you something.
A child being right and the parent wrong, is taboo – Maybe they can teach you something
Power: He who is right, has the power! Actually if you don’t give a damn about being
right, guess who really has the power?
3) What can happen to me if I am wrong (Having lost the argument)?
Ans: This is something that every person needs to contemplate. I have seen marriages fall
apart because of the constant bickering, arguing about nothing things, but each spouse
wanted to be right, to ‘win’ the point. What a way to build up animosity toward each
other. What a way to stop enjoying each other and enjoying a happy and fun enviroment in
your own nest.
I think it starts off from the time we are little.
1) Our upbringing at home
2) Our experiences in school
Growing up I remember seeing a friend get yelled at by their parents for having spilled something, or broken something – of course they were accidental, but yelled at as if they deliberately did it and it was a ‘bad’ thing.
In public school, the teacher would ask a question. Those who knew the answer, would raise their hand to get called on. Of course, if you didn’t have your hand raised, the teacher would call on you (so easy to pick on children). You would be asked to stand up and then embarrassed in front of your classmates. It’s no wonder people grow up argumentative, never wanting to be wrong, and feeling down on themselves. The schools indoctrinate us with these kind of feelings about ourselves.
I remember while eating dinner when one of sons knocked over a full glass of juice. It spilled all over the table and floor, making quite a mess. He looked at me so scared, expecting to be yelled at. I looked at him and said, “Why are you looking at me? I’m not going to clean it up. You spilled it. Get a towel and clean it up. It was an accident” Then I went back to eating without giving him or the situation any more attention – why make something out of a nothing thing?. Parents sometimes don’t realize how a little person feels, especially if they think they did something ‘wrong’.
As a result of these experiences, between school and home, we have a tendency to grow up as adults, not feeling good about ourselves. Then out comes our defensiveness and never wanting to be wrong.
Wanting never to be wrong, or not being able to say, we’re wrong, is totally destructive to all our relationships. In business, home – husband/wife and friends it create stressful moments. It steals our joy, our good times, our experience of life.
The bottom line: Allowing yourself to be wrong, is actually a very mellow, soft place to be. There is no stress. No emotional swings. You just stand there and let the other person go on and listen attentively. No raising your voice, shouting, rubbing each other the wrong way. You find a nice, soft place within yourself, because you really don’t care about being right or wrong – It’s completely unimportant. More important is being calm, at rest and peaceful inside. This is not to mention the ill effects (emotionally and physically) of always needing to be right.
What exactly are you saying and doing with the others in your life? – Think about it.
Good luck and good practicing (BTW: It’s not easy. It requires letting a lot of letting go)
It’s MY LIFE and MY COUNTRY & I want it, is the name of the game,
‘It’s My Money & I Want It!’ is the name of my book
Learn to stand up for yourself and not be the intimidated by the corporations
and their political puppets (or their victims).
Harris Glasser – Author, Lecturer, Business & Personal Consultant, Debt Settling
www.HarrisHelps.org “It’s My Money & I Want It!”
(More next week)