To Be or Not to Be: Right or Happy?

Today, let’s look at a question with far-reaching implications: Would you rather be right or happy? There are probably as many answers to this question as there are people to answer it. Let’s look at a few results of answers to this question.

Some people sacrifice a lot in order to be right, because they think the way to be right is to make other people wrong. They spend a lot of time and effort doing so. Of course, people who are set up to appear wrong or poorly informed aren’t crazy about the feeling, so those who make others look bad, also make themselves disliked. And it’s a sure-fire way to undermine teamwork in a department.

People who need to be right won’t take many risks either, and they avoid uncertainty like the plague. Often, they would rather lie than say, “I’m not sure,” or “Gee, I don’t know.” The risk to their self-image is too great. And when risks aren’t taken, creativity and ingenuity aren’t invited to help solve challenges to productivity or performance.

On the other hand, people who would rather be happy than right don’t care much about how smart they look. They realize that we are all on a long learning curve. They know that the best way to help each other grow is to stop competing and start cooperating.

You see, life isn’t about showing other people up. It is about helping each other to see and understand. How much happier are we when we are working with someone toward a goal, than working against someone? We have a lot more energy and creativity to give, when we aren’t saving it up, to ensure our place at the top.

Each of us gets to decide for ourselves how we spend our energies, and whether we are willing to give – and accept – help. We get to choose whether we are going to be right or happy. Sometimes we can do both. But if you had to pick just one, which choice would it be?