Being Right vs Being Effective

A challenging thing to consider is the difference between being right and being effective.

Being right is that state where you feel that you hold the moral high ground, that your view of the world is the view of the world, and you’ll cling to it, you’ll even die for it if you need to. You’ll know you’re here when you use the word “should”, as in, “You should be ready by now, what’s taking so long?!”

Being effective is behaving in a way that aligns best with what is currently real. It’s the Stoic idea of being in alignment with Nature, not resisting Fate or anything true, but instead doing your best to work with what is happening and let go of what you wished was happening.

Recently, a coaching client of mine was struggling with his partner’s behaviour. He had a clear idea in his head of the “right” way for her to behave. She was being slow and disorganised, and he believed she “should” be better disciplined and well organised. He was clinging to that idea, which was just aggravating the conflict between them.

Instead, he could choose to adjust his beliefs to the effective way to behave, which is to work with her just the way she is. And when he did finally make that switch, accepting her as being more laissez faire than him, it only took a few minutes for their conflict to be over.

You can cling to the “right” way that things “should” be, and forever battle against reality, or you can see how things actually are and react to that truth in the most realistic and helpful way possible.

Your choice.

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One Response

  1. Don’t confuse this message to mean that you should tolerate poor behaviour. It’s about finding the most effective way to address that behaviour rather than hoping you don’t have to.

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