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Mike Robbins


Be Real Not Right

Posted: 10/24/09 04:45 PM ET

Do you like to be right? If you’re anything like me, I bet you do. I’ve spent much of my life being obsessed with “rightness;” having the “right” answer, doing the “right” thing, acting the “right” way, winning arguments to prove how “right” I am and more.

As I’ve learned and you’ve probably noticed as well, it’s not only impossible to be right all the time, it’s exhausting, stressful, and no fun (for us or others). The great saying, “you can either be right or happy, not both,” is so true!

On our journey of growth, fulfillment, and authenticity, one of the best things we can do when we notice ourselves focusing on being “right,” is to take a step back, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves, “what’s real?” When we look within, there’s always something much deeper going on when we want to be right. Maybe we’re feeling scared, passionate, angry, excited, helpless, joyful, embarrassed, or something else.

When we focus on being right we’re fixed in our thinking, we’re often self righteous in our approach (which is almost always annoying and ineffective), and we’re usually covering up our real emotions (because it’s easier and more comfortable for us to be right than to be real and vulnerable).

Take a moment to reflect on the important areas, aspects, and relationships in your life right now. Are there places where you know your overly focused on being right? If so, you’re not alone! With honesty and compassion, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do I have the need to be right with this person or in this situation?
  • What am I afraid will happen if I give up my righteous position?
  • What is it that I really want from this person or in this situation?
  • What are the underlying emotions that I have not been willing or able to express?
  • What would it take for me to let go of being right with this person or in this situation?

Asking and answering these and other honest questions can lead us to deeper place of authenticity within ourselves and with the other people involved in the situations in our lives that may cause us stress, worry, or pain (i.e. the ones where we’re obsessed with being right).

We live in a culture that has trained us to be “right” at almost all costs. While I’m not advocating that we give up on our passions, beliefs, and values – I’m challenging us to tell the truth and get underneath our righteous opinions to a place of deep truth, realness, and vulnerability.

From this place of authenticity we can have real power, freedom, and connection in our lives. If we stay focused on being right all the time, we’ll “win some and lose some” on the surface, but ultimately won’t have the kind of life, work, and relationships we truly desire.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info -


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