Reflection: What’s wrong with being right? Not much at all. What’s wrong with NEEDING to be right? Sometimes nothing, and sometimes plenty.
I’ve seen workplace and family disagreements burst into flame when people assert their rightness – in fact or opinion – and go on to declare that, since they are right, others must clearly be wrong. The assertions and counter attacks fuel an inferno of conflict. Net result: more stress and a tragic waste of energy!
One of the things I’ve learned from life is that situations are not always that clear cut. Fact lives just around the corner from fiction. There is ALWAYS another point of view – or two or three! Many viewpoints are just as valid, and may even be more accurate or insightful than what I might have seen from where I stand.
This lesson was reinforced on my first tour with a group of painters. Each time our group of 15 artists settled down to sketch a landscape or streetscape, we all set up in roughly the same area, with pretty much the same materials, looking at approximately the same view.
And yet, two hours later, what turned up on paper was amazingly diverse. The paintings reflected our interest in different parts of the scene, our varied levels of experience, and our assorted preferences in style. Despite painting ‘elbow to elbow’, the sketches diverged with our ability to ‘see’, to capture, and to interpret.
Fifteen different sets of eyes and hands led to fifteen different points of view. Who was right? Everybody. Who was wrong? Nobody.
Action: Here are a few ways to put this insight to work – at work and elsewhere!
- Abandon the need to be right. Replace it with a commitment to be curious.
- Like an orbiting satellite trying to pinpoint an accurate global position, triangulate your impressions with others whenever possible.
- Welcome and accept other points of view. Use them to color your understanding of people, places and circumstances.
Quotes Of The Week
“We begin to learn wisely when we’re willing to see the world from other people’s perspective.” – Toba Beta (Author)
“Once you permit those who are convinced of their own superior rightness to censor and silence and suppress those who hold contrary opinions, just at that moment the citadel has been surrendered.: – Archibald MacLeish (American poet and critic)
“You can be right or you can be happy.” – Gerald G. Jampolsky (Author)
Resource Of The Week: Dewitt Jones, world class photographer, is highly skilled in sharing his points of view with others. Check out his weekly postings, Celebrate What’s Right With The World.
Dewitt has made this practice even more interactive by setting up a FaceBook Celebrations page where one and all can share their daily images and ideas about celebration.
Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, Stretching Time Through Service, Pause reader CG writes: I arrived early at Starbucks located in a hotel. I was very tired. Coffee in hand, I walked through the lobby to the side exit. A young child was toddling around her ‘as tired as me’ dad who was sitting in a chair. I said, “Good morning Sweet Pea!” She looked at me quizzically, and her tired dad smiledThen the 60-something front desk clerk said, “Why good morning to you, too, Sweet Pea.” She laughed. I laughed too; and five or six people in the lobby smiled and chuckled. I opened the door to leave, then closed it, turned around, and said to the desk clerk for all to hear, “Thank you. You just made my morning!” And she had, with her humor; but it all started with my innocent “Good Morning Sweet Pea” to the child. What a ripple effect THAT was! Smiles all around, and I was ready to start my day with energy and enthusiasm.