Is It Right to Be Right?

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I love this summer pic of the pineapples in the pool. Has nothing to do with todays’ post, but I hope you enjoy it anyways ;-).

Summer time brings pineapples, swimming pools and in my case a lot of reading and thinking time. When I was at school and later university I enjoyed my two months off in summer reading all the books I had no “time” reading throughout the year. And I also took the time to think and philosophise a bit. About everything and nothing, about the immortality of the crab.

Now it’s summer again, and the feeling is still the same. I can smell holidays in the air. Fruit, ice cream, suncream. And my philosophical wondering brings me to the question:

Is it right to be right? 

See, I used to be a person that always searched for the RIGHT answer.

What does a right answer mean?

In my interpretation it’s first of all a “correct” answer. We get educated at school to find the correct answer, which usually means one right answer only. So correct vs erroneous, like in What is the right answer for 2+2?

Second, it implies a fair, a just answer, like in What is the right punishment for this crime?

So in the search for the right we are looking for everything that is correct and fair. And that’s the point that makes me wonder: Should we really do this? Should we judge right and wrong, get obsessed with the “right”, feel good when we acted in a right way, etc?

Some time ago I would have defended a clear YES. Yes, it is what we’re supposed to do. It’s the most reasonable thing to do. I am reasonable, so I will go on doing this.

But I changed my mind. Because I asked myself a tricky question. The most important question to ask here is:

Does it bring me somewhere and give me what I’m looking for?

It’s a question of purpose and progress. 

And often the answer is NO. No, it doesn’t lead me anywhere at all. 


If it doesn’t lead me anywhere, is it right to look for the right? 

If I have an argument with someone and I know I’m right, is it worth going on defending my rightness? Does it lead me anywhere?

I know that it’s right to be respectful to others. When I see someone acting in a disrespectful way I judge them and feel injustice. I feel bad as it’s not fair that I am respectful and they aren’t. Who’s right? Perhaps me, perhaps not. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am the one that feels bad about it (and not the other person), and this way of thinking does not lead me anywhere at all.  

When you work in a team and your colleague hasn’t done a task assigned to him resulting in the whole team being affected by this, you may say that it’s not fair. The one who was supposed to do this was your colleague. You’re right. But once again, being right doesn’t lead you anywhere, the fact is it hasn’t been done. Don’t look for what’s right and what not, look for the solution.

Your ego will always try to play this right/wrong game. Because it loves being right.

The question you’ll need to ask yourself is:

Does it lead me to a solution or does it make me stick to the problem?