10/6/14

Beware of Being Wrong When You’re Being Right.



Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive.
Friedrich Nietzsche
There is a sense of fulfillment that comes from making a stand, from challenging injustice, from fighting for what you believe in. Being right empowers you to be more as it give you the confidence to confront those who are wrong. And if the general attitude of most people is to be believed, it gives you a license to be an asshole and people seem to like being assholes.

Take a moment to consider the cynical pleasure some people get from saying “I told you so.” You could actually assume that they WANT you to fail, just to be able to do that. Yet these same people don’t understand why, when they are right and are offering good advice, others don’t pay attention or simply refuse to take this advice. Some actually get offended by the other person’s dismissal. So when the time comes around that they were right, they gloat and brag.

This is a horrible downward spiral based on vanity, ego, and a terrible attitude of superiority. Realize that if you start your advice tied to a sense of “I’m right, you’re wrong” you have no intention of helping the person. All you want to do is fill your ego, prove your superiority. That’s why you get offended when the person prefers to ignore your recommendations. That’s why you get that perverted pleasure of seeing them fail, that’s when you show how shallow you are as you voice the “I told you so.”

Worse yet, by telling them “I told you so,” you actually keep them from learning from their mistakes. If we grow from our mistakes, you want them to think how their mistake was not doing it your way. You are feeding your insecurities, your vanity, and your ego with someone else’s misery. Again, you’re just being a bad person.

If your intent is to actually help the person, help them. Don’t tell them how to do it, tell them how you did it when it was your turn. Tell them why you did it that way, and let them make their own choices. As I have said so often, nobody has a monopoly on the truth.

The reality is that they might actually figure out a better way. Maybe they got it wrong, but they will learn from their mistakes, and grow from them. Learn to offer your hand, not your judgments, to those who have fallen. They are already being critical of their own failure. What they need is someone to help them rise up, not someone who kicks them while they are down.