Choose To Be Right in the Long Term

Ever feel underestimated or misunderstood? Think that other people are clearly wrong about something, or clearly planning something you don’t agree with?

When I’m in these situations, I’m strongly tempted to set things right then and there. I’m a decently eloquent and logical person, so I’m usually pretty good at making a case for myself or for my point of view.

Even so, I’m coming to think it’s not usually worthwhile.

Arguing or fighting people into a belief in the short term tends to have a high cost (you look like a combative and insecure person) with unstable rewards (any consensus gains tends to be quickly forgotten).

You may win in the short term, but these weaknesses just mean that you’ll have to fight the same battle or argument again in the future. In the meantime, you will have spent all your time *arguing* for what you want and little time *doing* what you want.

On the other hand, if you let people think what they’ll think and let reality do the teaching, the lesson is more likely to stick for longer (and with less unnecessary conflict and ego on your part). Better to do the work that will prove them wrong. The best argument is a concrete example.

As much as my emotions might flare up when I hear a bad idea or feel misunderstood, my rational mind remembers back to all the times when I outworked (rather than outfighting) a limitation. The times I proved myself right over a period of a year or more have tended to be much more effective and rewarding.

So keep your peace when you feel tempted to fight. Time and your work ethic will be the judge of who is right and wrong (or whether the disagreement matters at all).

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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