Lesson 31: Would you rather be right, or happy?

How many times has someone, usually your parents or a boss, told you to “think before you speak,” or, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”  I lost count of how many times I have heard either of those phrases but they hold true.  They are timeless.  It is advice that can really take you places in life.  This also serves as a continuation of lesson 30: You are not as smart as you think you are.

Debates can be healthy.  It forces you to defend your position while also trying to understand the opposing position.  You will either dig in deeper to your position, or you will consider the alternative and possibly discover a better way.  Arguments, however, can be dangerous and unhealthy.  They are unproductive and almost always end up with a winner and a loser.  Essentially, even the winner of the argument is a loser because all that is gained is a new adversary.

It is important to stick up for yourself and stand your ground on the things you believe in, but that does not give you the right to attack people over what they believe in.  Hollywood may be able to turn bullying into comedic entertainment, but there is nothing that is truly funny about being a jack-ass.  You may prove your point to someone and enter the land of I am right and you are wrong, but you also most likely succeeded in turning that person against you.  Congrats on your momentary victory.  Hope it was worth losing a friend or loved one over.

This can also be tied into Lesson 17: Know when and how to properly walk away from a fight or argument.  When things get heated, it is easy to lose focus on what really matters and get tunnel vision.  All you can see, all you care about, is making your point and proving that you are right.  It is easy to overlook how the other person is going to react to having their personal opinion or belief attacked.  You may end up being right, but by the time you realize you just made an enemy or broke someone’s heart, it is too late.  The damage is done.  It isn’t worth it.  Either listen with an open mind and discuss the matter calmly or walk away and cool off.

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