I’m life coach and sometime philosopher Peter Winslow. When last we met I left you with a question: why do we feel the need to be right, even in the face of uncertainty or harm?
That’s right (har!)—it’s ego. Ego always has to be right. As a rule, every person believes that what he or she thinks is right, and no ego can be at rest with itself when it knows the beliefs it lives by are blatantly wrong.
And yet, we’ve all witnessed people who are never flustered when others disagree with them or charge them with being wrong. How do they do it? These people are generally happy with who they are; it follows that their egos are aligned with a deeper aspect, one which observes without judgment.
You’ve probably asked yourself the question more than once: would I rather be right—or happy? The next time you find yourself baited into an argument, put it to the test. Here’s how:
With all sincerity, tell the person confronting you with an argument that they’re right, and leave it at that. Remember, you are addressing their critical thinking—the ego—which wants to be right. By agreeing with them, you’ll take the wind out of their argument and defuse a potentially volatile situation. They may not even know how to respond to you, and the solution you seek will be much easier to find.
Even if your own ego is tying itself in knots over the issue at argument, this exercise is liberating. The payoff: When people disagree with you, realize they’re not opposing you; their egos are differing with the beliefs and constructs of your ego. Your job is to not take any of it personally. The solution really can be that simple.
– Peter Winslow