I was listening to “The Quote of the Day” podcast by Sean Croxton where he featured an audio by Wayne Dyer revealing the four magic words that have the ability to end all conflict: “you’re right about that”.
Just saying it out loud feels disarming to primitive egotistical need to be right.
Unfortunately, we live in an era where being right is more important than being happy, which is, sadly, very evident in key pillars of society from politics to religion and science. Vicious disagreements are fueled by the righteous beliefs of the parties involved. If John’s belief is different than Joseph’s, then John must be wrong AND he needs to be set straight. Right?
Why do we so desperately crave to be right? Why can’t we just agree to disagree or just say “you’re right” even if we don’t really mean it? It could easily avoid conflict and save relationships – even lives.
We know why. We know the culprit. In fact, he’s is in control most of the time – we can’t leggo our E.G.O.
For the ego, the mere possibility of being wrong is a direct threat to its survival. When confronted, it becomes extremely defensive and recoils into a corner, barking at the opposing idea attempting to scare it off so that it can resume roaming freely like it owns the place.
But it does it with a purpose – to protect its identity.
Think about it. What are we made of? We are a collection of memories, beliefs, stories, morals (or lack of thereof), behaviors and thinking patterns neatly (or chaotically) organized in such a way that ultimately define us as an individual. It’s our identity – our blueprint in this universe. Or so we’d like to think.
It’s no surprise we are so reluctant to change and so hostile toward opposing ideas. Merely acknowledging a different perspective can sometimes feel like a self-betrayal thereby creating a level of discomfort too hard to let go. When our our cognitive processes and behaviors are questioned or when we start acting uncharacteristically, our ego goes into identity crisis. Like cats, egos are set in their ways and deeply dislike any routine changes. Don’t you dare.
We are so defined by what we identify with that it can be very distressing to contemplate the possibility of being on the “wrong” side of the fence – as if it was that simplistic. We begin to question the accuracy of our perceptions and information processing in all aspects of life. And that’s good.
Questions are the answers.
The questioning allows us to pinpoint where faulty beliefs and associations could be hiding so that we can update it, reprogram it and improve our operating system. This laborious process is called growth – and it’s always a work in progress.
So next time you find yourself in conversation where you disagree with the other person and seem to be getting no resolution, instead of getting defensive, see it as an opportunity for self-improvement. And maybe the first step is saying the four magic words: you’re right about that. You don’t even have to mean it, you just have to say it. In the end, who cares who’s right?
As Wayne Dyer wisely stated “you have to free yourself from this need to make somebody else wrong”.
Am I right?