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Interaction At Work: Do You Need To Be Right?

Posted Feb 02 2009 10:57pm
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Mark Twain


Dr. Peter Vajdais our guest contributor today and tomorrow as we look at the deeper issues that impact influence, managing differences, and building relationships on and off the job.

I'm Right, You're Wrong

Rightwrong Take a moment and reflect on your relationships at work and at home.

Ask yourself:“How much does the ‘I’m right – you’re wrong’ dynamic govern my everyday interactions?”  Perhaps we’re not aware of it at the time, but we consistently encounter situations where we feel
not only need to be right, but  make another be or feel wrong.

Our ego personality is the culprit here;  it wants and needs to feel strong, safe and secure.

When the situation is reversed and we have the sense that we are “wrong”, our ego personality reacts in a way that has us feel afraid, bad, stupid, insecure, deficient, diminished, small and even invisible!

Does Someone Have To Lose?

There's a real problem with this dynamic: someone has to lose. As a result, these kinds of interactions breed mistrust, conflict, competition and separation — all based on fear. 

The solution is not to consistently live in the world of polarity, but perspective, to live in a world of differences, not in a world of debate, to live in a world of “both/and”, not “either/or”. 

The challenge for the ego here is how to relate in a way that transcends the personal in order to focus on commonalities. In the world of the ego, it’s all about being separate and independent — win-lose, “I vs. you”. In the world of commonality, it’s all about “you and me.” 

Here are a few questions to help uncover what's going on:

  • “What excuse am I using to rationalize and justify a win-lose?
  • “Why can’t I simply feel content about being right without needing to make someone else appear wrong?”
  • “Why do I live from an “I’d rather be right than happy” perspective so much of the time?” 

In the next post we'll look at how people got to a point of right/wrong thinking and offer more diagnostic questions to help move away from it.


Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D, C.P.C. is a founding partner ofSpiritHeart, an Atlanta-based company that supports conscious living through coaching, counseling and facilitating. We thank Dr. Vajda for joining the discussion this week and point out that the material is (c) 2008, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and SpiritHeart. All rights in all media reserved. 

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