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Why Being Right is Overrated

Why Being Right is Overrated

How many times have you found yourself arguing a point just to prove that you were right and the other person was wrong? It’s an easy situation to get into, and one that most of us fall into more than we’d like to admit. It can be so easy to start off with a discussion and then before you know it you find yourself saying anything at all to prove that you were right. The very thing that you began discussing can even get lost in this desire to be right.

What is it about ‘being right’ that’s so appealing? Because let’s face it – no one wants to be wrong. The thing is, I’ve discovered that being right is actually over-rated. If you think about it, being right is about ownership of knowledge; we prove ourselves to be right by using supporting evidence or knowledge.

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Usually this evidence is based on experience. We might say “I know that this is right because I’ve experienced it.” Or “this fact proves the point.” But existing knowledge can actually hinder our creative process. When we feel like we’re right, we become narrow minded because we close off our mind to other options. This can lead to a stubbornness that’s not rally that helpful in any kind of discussion.

In my opinion, being right can also at times block our creativity and how open we are to new solutions. If we are so focussed on being right then it leaves no room for other creative ideas to flow in – it brings our creative expression to a halt. Plus, no one really likes a know it all because they can come across as arrogant, stubborn and superior. Really – it’s actually impossible for someone to be right all of the time. And why would they even want to be?

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Being wrong, however is just perfect. Once you allow yourself to be wrong, you stop striving for perfection and the irony is that through the process you find an imperfect perfection. This is a perfection where you ultimately free yourself from the rigid boundaries of ‘being right’. Anything is possible when it’s OK to be wrong.

What this approach does is open us up to infinite possibilities and this is where our true inner genius can really flourish. We are no longer wasting energy trying to be right because we have shifted our attention to what matters – to finding a solution. Sometimes knowledge can weigh us down like a lead balloon. Sometimes we just need to let go of being right and open our minds to what is truly possible.

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Here are 5 reasons why being right is overrated:

1. When you focus only on being right your attention is solely on your opinion. This intent focus can cause a narrow-minded attitude that will block potential solutions.

2. When you give yourself permission to be wrong you literally open your mind. Instead of just focussing on one thing (your opinion) your mind is open to receiving new solutions inspired by the views of others. This is where creativity and solutions can flourish.

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3. While knowledge and past experiences can be helpful, it’s important not to rely on this too much. Excessive knowledge can confuse instead of provide clarity. Sometimes a clear head is what’s needed instead of a head full of knowledge.

4. By allowing yourself to be wrong you’re no longer striving for perfection. When you let go of perfection, it’s easier to try new things because you have let go of a fear of failure. And if you’re willing to try then who knows what might happen!

5. No-one likes a know it all. You will gain more respect from others by admitting when you’re in the wrong than by always trying to be right.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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