The Fallacy of Being Right

The fallacy of being right - Photo by Silvan Arnet on Unsplash

I spent most of my career trying to be right. Determining the right vision and goals. Setting the right plan to get there. It was pretty clear to me there was a right and a wrong answer. This belief translates into how I judged my progress and results. I was looking to validate the decisions I had made. It wasn’t about being arrogant and smart. I simply wanted my way of thinking to be right and get me to the desired outcome. I was seeking success.

The fallacy of being right

A recent coaching conversation highlighted to me just how dangerous and limiting this approach had been. We were talking about the required culture and beliefs their team needed to exhibit to translate action into results. I remembered many status reviews where the presenters goal was to show they were right. They would present confirming evidence and get defensive when challenged. Their goal was to come out of the review unscathed with a pat on the back. Validation that they were right.

Predicting the future

As we talked about the behaviors the team needed to role model, it struck me being right wasn’t one of them. I thought about how many predictions about life I make that turn out to be wrong. No big deal, the future is uncertain. And yet when presenting progress against a plan we expect to be perfect. Everything falling into place just as we hoped.

This isn’t real life. It would be foolish to expect to be right more than half the time and that is probably a stretch. The next time you review progress against your goals, how would it be if you didn’t focus on being right? The alternative is to bring a mood of curiosity and I will talk about how to do that in my next post.