03 August, 2009

Do You Want to be Right or Do You Want to Win?

In game play, we always seek to win. That is our objective. It doesn’t have to be that way. But most of us have been conditioned to try and win when we play. We develop strategies of how we can best our opponents and we try different strategies to determine what works best with each opponent and then we employ those strategies.

In life, though, many esteem something as higher than winning; and, that is to be right. Most don’t even realize there is a difference in the two. People who are stuck in this category often confuse winning with being right but the two are very different. In fact, they couldn’t be farther apart.

When a person is stuck here, being right is more important to him than most anything. There’s no concession made to consider that another’s view might be right. All that exists for that person is him being right. Maybe the individual is caught up with the avoidance of looking bad at all costs. If so, that could be one potential reason that he might always desire to be right.

But regardless of the cause, this person has collapsed being right with winning so that they occur for him as being one and the same. He will always argue his point to try and get the other person to concede his or her view. The art of strategy is always at play with this person as he learns what best works against other people, what buttons he can push, and what other arsenal he has at his disposal for aiding him in being right and winning. Unfortunately, those in this category will always esteem being right above winning and they will lose out on their desired outcomes much of the time as a cost of being right.

Before going any further, I want to examine the definitions of Winning and Being Right:

Winning – has you obtain your desired outcome.

Being Right – has you be right about your chosen position.

So, Being Right simply has you be right about your chosen position, but, you won’t necessarily obtain your desired outcome. If you always take the position of being right, you will most likely leave casualties in your wake. And repeated offenses of a person having to be right will result in the losses of: credibility, trust, confidence, favor, cooperation, and the admiration of others. Looking at that list, one can readily see how this position would end up costing the antagonist in the end.

What kind of difference do you think it would make for you if you were able to view life as a game? If we could simply view most of our lives as a game, we could reduce the significance that we place on everything (after all, we don’t physically die when we make a wrong move in a game). If we could approach life as a game and simply seek to win at the games we’re playing, we could all work together; we could actually help others to win the games they are playing and in return, receive help from others to win the games we are playing.

When one takes on winning his games in life, he will best be served by giving up having to be right. Being right only gets in the way of winning. And, being right is at the root of every argument.

I once heard a story about two men who were viewing the same mountain from two different sides of the mountain. Neither could see the mountain from the other’s vantage point. As the two met later to discuss the activity of the day, they came around to describing what the mountain looked like. However, the descriptions relayed by the two men didn’t match.

In the story, we don’t expect the two descriptions to match because we realize that mountains aren’t symmetrical – they don’t look the same from every vantage point. Unfortunately, in life, we sometimes get stuck in the thinking that every situation we encounter is symmetrical and every person who views it should see the same things. Life doesn’t work that way. We bring our own unique pasts to everything we view. We view things through filters. And, we always see what we’re looking for – and usually miss that for which we’re not looking.

Winning our games in life has us seeking to find the solution that will work to provide the outcome we desire without hurting others. This usually takes some finesse in working with others and ensuring that their needs (sometimes their needs are emotional) are met. Winning at our games almost always looks like helping others win at their games too.

Do you want to be right? Or, do you want to win? In game play, we always seek to win. But, in life, most of us seek to be right. There’s a huge difference in strategies. And, there’s a huge difference in the outcomes. For which outcome are you playing?

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