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The Dangers of Being Right

By admin | Self Awareness

Jun 26

Let’s start with the obvious: being right feels good. It feels great. It creates a moment in which a mix of our intellect, our intuition, and our courage seems to align with the lunar cycle and produce cosmic justice. We do not brag about it, but we are not sorry for it, either.

However, like all things, this sense of alignment with the universe can become intoxicating. We crave the appreciation and authority that come from being right. Being right makes us credible, reliable, and valuable. At least we think it does.

The reality of being right is grimmer.

We quickly succumb to heated, twisted arguments over small details to prove that our initial inclination, though ultimately flawed, was based on an ineffable truth that our opponent could not see. We obsess over our arguments and lines of logic and completely lose sight of the bigger objective that we set out to achieve. We suddenly wonder how we never noticed what a total a-hole Steve is, and feel genuinely baffled by his inability to see the clarity and elegance of our ideas.

Gary Vaynerchuk has a saying. “Ideas are shit,” he screams. “Execution is everything.”

I do not dislike ideas as much as he does. I also don’t get pitched 75-100 a day, so my idea-exposure is probably less severe. But the message rings loud and true: millions of dollars, thousands of hours, and hundreds of lives pale at the altar of The Right Answer. The Right Way to order food with an app. The Right Way to disrupt the accounting industry. The Right Way to find our passion.

It is all a hoax. The frequency with which one is objectively right is substantially lower, by definition than how often he perceives himself to be right. Yes, that gender pronoun was intended. I am not saying women are not capable or guilty of the same offense–we are just better at it.

In the landscape of entrepreneurship and fundraising, it would be unreasonable to expect the dialogue to change anytime soon. Per the above observation about Gary V., to have anything other than The Right Answer when pitching to an angel or a VC is a qualified way to wait six weeks for a milquetoast rejection and the e-mail equivalent of “Fuck You, but have a beautiful day!”

Where this narrative concerns me is how we apply the idea of RIGHT thinking to ourselves. “I need to have The Right Job, drive The Right Car, meet The Right Person, and live The Right Life.” With bonafide certitude, we forge bravely in the world seeking out that which the universe has declared as right and therefore is what we need and what we want.

Have you ever asked someone what The Right Job is? Or where she might find The Right Person? Survey says that the leading answer is: “I do not know.” 

This reply is not dishonest. In fact, it is much more truthful than the declarative narrative of getting everything Right. We are all born with an innate sense that we deserve good things, especially happiness, human connection, and safety. We do a crackerjack job of explaining to ourselves why we do not deserve them, or why we do not have them, or why we will not ever get them.

I disagree with these sentiments. Wholeheartedly. I think that people can have what they want, and whom they want. I believe that everyone has an opportunity to live a life that surpasses even their wildest dreams. These realities only come to those who are willing to do the work to determine what that life is. Who is in it. Who is not. Where we live. What we spend our time doing. What we are grateful for. What we want more of. Anyone can take the time to identify and pursue these powerful truths. Instead, we pursue The Right Things, and we, as a result, are not very happy.

I am on a mission to help people start to make the small choices that lead to significant changes in their lives. You can start wherever you like. Your career, your relationships, your health. If you want to learn more, visit me at 86 Gravity. I would love to continue this conversation with you.

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