Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right?

Many people care more about being right than being happy. This is a statement from James Clear. And thinking about it, I am sure this has happened to all of us already, right? Some things must be clarified, or we don’t find peace with that topic. I am sure you have had such thoughts too in the past, right?

A small example is the famous dishwasher. For whatever reason, in most relationships, you have one partner with a particular way to fill the dishwasher. Every piece has its place in there. Let’s call this partner Jim. And there is the other partner, Jenny, which doesn’t care about such stuff. Most of the time, Jenny places used dishes on top of the dishwasher instead of in the dishwasher. And even if Jenny spends the effort to open the dishwasher door, the dish will end up in there in the wrong place.

This is very upsetting for Jim, resulting in myriads of explaining, scolding, and or simply grumpy uttering. Jim tries, again and again, to educate Jenny to do it the “right” way. But guess what, Jenny will never do it the way Jim wants to see it. But Jim doesn’t give up. Why is Jenny not getting it? What’s wrong with that person? I need to try harder. I want Jenny to understand that I am right!

This is just an example, and there are plenty of others. It is simply not so easy to let go of something we believe to be right. So we keep fighting as if there won’t be a tomorrow. But there are other strategies, aren’t there? One would be to reflect. Why is it so important to me to be right in this case? What is the best possible outcome? That Jenny says, “Yes, Jim, you are right. From now on I will do it your way.”? How likely is it that this will happen? So why keep trying to make her acknowledge that you are right? She won’t. Already her pride will prevent that.

Jim could also approach Jenny with: “Hey Jenny, we always have this stupid fight about the dishwasher. How about this: we alternate weekly. I am using my way, and you are using your way. And the other won’t interfere. The only rule: the dishes are clean after the week or we won’t switch back. Deal? Nice! Let’s go and have fun.” Wasn’t that hard, wasn’t it?