Wanting to “Be Right” or Trying to “Get it Right”?

Recently, while listening to a sports podcast, the host said something very profound. Before I share, let it be known that this particular sports podcast usually teaches me more about life than sports. I think that’s why I like it so much. Here’s what he said (paraphrasing):

“I get two types of callers on my show. Those who want to be right and those who are trying to get it right.”

In other words, the first type of caller who “wants to be right” is not calling to get the host’s opinion and is certainly not open to changing his or her mind. This caller has made their decision and is doing everything they can to find evidence supporting their viewpoint. If their opinion is contrary to that of the host and they are not willing to “get it right,” they are usually shut down pretty quickly, which I might add can be very entertaining. The second type of caller is “trying to get it right.” Either they have an opinion and are open to being corrected or they are calling to ask a question and get the host’s opinion.

Conflict is usually entertaining to most people, but that’s kind of where it stays–pure entertainment. Think of the media we all consume. There is almost always a conflict in the story. There’s nothing wrong with wholesome entertainment and it serves a purpose, but what about “trying to get it right?” What type of caller do you think you are? How do you approach conflict and life?

I think for a long time I was the first type of caller. I was not usually interested in others’ opinions or how they handled situations if it was different than how I did things. As I get older, I realize how valuable the feelings and opinions of others can be. It’s amazing how people can respond so differently to a similar situation. As I’ve tried to become that second type of caller, I have been blessed to learn how to better handle conflict in my own life.

The internet is usually the first place people go to find answers to their questions. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad information on the internet. There is of course, good information on the internet too, but there is no truth filter to point the user in the right direction. I think people are often led in the wrong direction because they believe something they researched on the internet without considering the other side of things first.

Take for example, the presidential election. The debates, news reports and social media frenzy leading up to the election are filled with people on either side “wanting to be right.” They couldn’t care less about the opinions of those opposed to their views. The ironic thing is nobody on either end is being persuaded. It’s the people in the middle who are undecided that are the most important voters. Unfortunately, the fury with which each side argues makes them blind to see who the best candidates really are. That is something I recently learned from listening to my sports podcast. Go figure.

So how does this relate to you? The presidential election is definitely important, but are you reaching your own potential by trying to get things right in your life or are you stuck in the same gear by always wanting to be right? If you are the first type of caller, how do you make the switch so that you are trying to get things right and no longer care about building your own ego? It’s not easy but it’s necessary for personal growth. I recently shared a message with a couple of families I know about how our actions affect others. In the spirit of reaching our potential, I feel it’s important to realize the positive effect we can have on the lives of others as we are humble and learn and grow.

Since we all face conflict on almost a daily basis until the day we die, it’s either going to make us weak or build us up. How can we use conflict to our advantage? Although the word itself sounds negative, it’s actually the only way we experience growth if handled correctly.

Good and Bad
I know I use basketball examples a lot, but this one will fit well here. In an article I posted here last summer, I talked about a professional basketball player who is the recipient of a lot of opposition from fans–more so than any other player I know–and for no good reason, in my opinion. The only real reason I can figure is due to his rare talent and people wanting to see him fail. There have been others who can relate to him but not on the same level, especially with the integration of social media in sports. More than ever before, anybody in the public eye is easily scrutinized by the millions of people watching and commenting on their every move. There is however, a common thread in how each of them reacted. Rather than trying to prove to the world that what they were doing at the time was the best and could only get better, they worked on different aspects of their game. When criticized about their less than perfect defensive abilities or their lower than average assists compared to other players, they recognized their weaknesses and worked on making them strengths. Not only did this quiet the critics, it improved the players game overall and made them that much better! On the other hand, I have seen the exact opposite happen when a player is criticized but refuses to acknowledge their weakness. I have seen this in the past as well as the present day. Not only does it stunt their growth as a player and as a person, but it’s disappointing to those who recognize their potential, only to continue to watch them try to “be right” over and over again. The silver lining here is that we can learn from both the good and the bad examples.

Get it Right
Who are the good examples in your life of “trying to get it right”? Have you seen the negative effects of those who are just trying to “be right”? Who can you learn from if you would just have an open mind and be willing to change? How could trying to get things right improve your life as an employee, a spouse, a parent, etc? Who could you possibly inspire by being humble and teachable? I invite you to ponder these questions and find ways to improve your life and the lives of others. As you do this, there will no doubt be failures along the way but know that in the long run, you will get it right!

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