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Giving Up Being Right

The number of different ways of looking at the world is limited only by your imagination. There is no substitute for your willingness to experiment with different pairs of glasses and notice what happens when you do. In other words, there is no right way to see things. In fact, we are going to recommend that you give up needing to be right. Of all the possible ways of looking at the world, the one most guaranteed to cause you stress and strife is the one that insists that your way of seeing things is the right way (Osterkamp & Press, 1988).

Giving up trying to always be right is a really hard thing to do. Why? We all love being right. Right? We've been taught since our youngest days to do the “right thing” according to the authority figures that surround us. We are rewarded for it. We feel good about ourselves for doing it. We try to figure out what the right thing is because we want to succeed, to win. Our culture worships winning. We remember the winners and display their names prominently in our stadiums, magazines, and commercials. Winners generally make a lot of money. Losers don't get the endorsements and the high praise. When you win, you typically feel good about yourself. Losing often hurts. And losing can be threatening to your self-esteem. Remember, any time you feel threatened you begin to engage the fight-or-flight response.


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