Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?

We’ve all been in arguments that go on so long that someone finally chuckles, “What were we fighting about again?” Then the other person chuckles. You chuckle together and almost make up, until one of you remembers and starts the fight again.

That’s because it doesn’t really matter what you’re arguing about, what matters is that you win. And the problem with trying to win an argument is that most of the time, you’re both right. In my mind I’m right and in your mind you’re right. Both right. And probably nothing either of you say will change that. So yes, arguments/debates/religious wars, whatever you want to call them, will go on a long time. Until one of you is “the bigger man” and “lets” the other person “win.” (Lotta sarcastic “quotes” in that sentence.)

So next time you’re in an argument, ask yourself, “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy?”

Here’s an example of when I thought I was right.

Account Executive: Client needs it by end of day.
Copywriter: I guarantee they don’t need it by end of day.
AE: Yes, they do.
CW: I know how this works. We’ll bang it off, then they’ll sit on it for a week, before telling us they don’t like how banged off it feels.
AE: That’s their right as client.
CW: But our job as agency is to give them the best product, even if that takes a little more time, which they guaranteed have!
AE: You’re an asshole.

And so on, and so on. For ever. Because both sides are right. That’s why debating’s so fun. Both sides have a legitimate case. And while it’s good to state your case, where we get into trouble is when we need the other person(s) to accept our case as truth and right, and theirs as wrong and shit. People generally don’t waver in their beliefs that easily. And even if you “win” the argument, you haven’t won their respect and adoration for showing them the truth, you’ve won their begrudging acceptance that you’re more stubborn than they are.

So ask yourself that simple question. If you’d rather be happy, then let it go. You’ll realize you didn’t really feel that passionate about what you were talking about, you just wanted to win.

And if you still strongly feel it’s important the other person think you’re right, or to win every argument, anything I say probably won’t change your mind. So you win. Just know that I’m happier than you are, so suck it!

Successful debating. Photo © KevinThom.com

.                                                                                    NO, your shirt is nicer!                                                    Photo © KevinThom.com

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