A question I often ask of a group is the following: “What is most important to you, to be right, or to be happy?” People look at me like the question is a “no brainer” as they answer, “to be happy of course!” I then ask, “how do you behave in your everyday life? The answer is usually accompanied by a smile of realization as they reply, “To be right”.
The thing that the ego hates the most is to not be right. So much discord is created by the ego’s need to be right. We are all guilty of this. I certainly am. For example, you are arguing with someone close to you (the longer you have known the person, the more likely this will occur). You might see that there is a glimmer of merit in what the other person is saying but your desire to be right is so strong that you cannot admit it. You are already reacting in autopilot mode! You have to keep on proving that you’re right; winning is everything! However, if we are able to bring our attention to the situation as it unfolds in the moment, we see that we have the compulsive, unconscious need to be right, the need to win. (When we see this, we can respond rather than react). We are victims of our pride which creates a basis for disrespecting others and for the occurrence of suffering. Pride (our need to be right) makes us not appreciate others or respect the good qualities of others and prevents us from learning anything.
Why not develop the antidote to this attitude? Listen!
Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood.
Listen without any objective except to understand the other person.