“The world is divided between those who think they’re right.”
I don’t remember when I heard Tara Brach say this, I just know that I had to immediately write it down.
I do remember that my first thought was, “Right! They all do that!” and I also know that I must pull back and remember that I think I’m right too. In fact, sometimes I know I’m right.
So many of our challenges – at work and at home, as individuals, groups, and even countries – stem from how much we think we’re right.
At least that’s what I think, and I feel pretty right about that.
Which reminds me to – every time I can and especially when I don’t want to or it’s hardest to – stop and ponder these questions:
- What might be another explanation or answer?
- Why might someone think or know differently than I do?
- What might I be missing?
- What are my assumptions?
And my favorite, at times:
- What if I’m not right?
We have so many mental biases that keep us knowing, or at least thinking, we’re right. First, confirmation bias is our tendency to listen to and notice information that supports what we already believe. Second, actor-observer bias is our tendency to attribute our actions to external circumstances and others’ actions to internal ones. And lastly, negativity bias keeps us searching for danger and noticing what’s wrong, so we can’t see beyond our belief that we’re right.
When I remember that my certainty is probably very uncertain, and that I may not be right (or even close), I can be more open to other possibilities…and other people.
I can be more Thoughtful.
What do you know you’re right about? What might you be missing?
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