“Duh, of course I’m right! I’m always bloody right!” That would be the younger version of me. I would tell my mother the same. However, she was always right and I was wrong. Now, I don’t want to be always right. I refuse to compete with my mother. She’s a tough antagonist.
In the past, a friend persistently asked me whether I wanted to be right or happy. My answer was the obvious one for me. I wanted to be right. I thought that if I was right I would be happy. I was wrong. I was plainly self-righteous. I asked myself who died and made me God. No, I don’t want to be always right. Imagine the expectations!
Back when I was much younger, I complained quite a bit to a good friend. I insisted that I was right about my persistent nagging about my partner’s drinking. My reasoning was because I was asking him to do what was right for both his body and mind. I said it would have been different if I were asking him to rob a bank. The true friend that she was, she disagreed with me, asking what if his body craved it and it was what felt right. “Well, he is mistaken,” I said. “How can alcohol be right for anyone?”
I had to reconsider. Perhaps, as a Scottish person in South Africa, another country that loves its liquor, he had a high alcohol tolerance. I was told that alcohol for some was simply a form of relaxation. In fact, some Scots may even have a little whisky with breakfast. I thought I just had to be patient, maybe something life-changing needed to happen. Or maybe his body could withstand the toxin. My friend had said that the space that was right for my partner was most probably wrong for me. I would have liked to debate that but considering numerous possibilities it could easily be true. Is being too open to a horizon full of possibilities, even some unthinkable, going to be my downfall? I hope not.
I once had an intense argument with an employee in a legal firm. The gym went bankrupt before my contract with them expired. Prior to the finalization of the liquidation process, having heard the news that the gym went bust, I stopped going to the gym. Of course, I also stopped paying for my account. I presumed that if there was no gym to go to, I did not have to pay. I was told later that some gym facilities were still operating.
A letter of final demand was sent to me. apparently. I never did find out to whom and where it was sent. The consultant with whom I first spoke could not tell me to which address it was sent as I had two on their records, she had observed. She was referring to my physical and postal address. There were indeed two. I did not tell her that normally posts would be sent to the postal address. I asked for proof hoping the letter was registered but no, they only had the original letter saved as an electronic file.
I argued that anyone could type a letter and not send it. I knew I was right. Although there was no agreement reached initially, I conceded to the balance in respect of the number of months that payments were not made until final liquidation. I asked that the legal charges be reversed because as far as I was concerned they did nothing to warrant the fees they claimed to have earned.
I would have gone to court to prove my point but the amount I owed them, including their legal fees, unearned, as far as I was concerned, was less than the legal fees I would have incurred if I took them to court. Similarly, taking into consideration the time and energy I would have wasted, the opportunity cost far outweighed the actual cost of accepting liability. And I did. I could not afford to insist on being right. It would mean unhappiness and sweat.
Principles mean nothing to junior employees who work according to a cheat sheet on how to deal with angry customers. These are employees who are told that frustrated and furious customers are not worthy of the time of a firm’s senior partner. Continuing an argument with a contact center consultant would be barking at the wrong tree.
I may have been unhappy about agreeing to pay but I had to give up being right.
Then, there were times when I was really wrong. I made poor judgements on many occasions but I just do not remember them. This reads: I choose to not remember them. Humor me and read between the lines here.
And when I’m wrong and it’s really difficult for my ego to concede, please go easy on me. I had always been right before – in my previous life. Now, you know why I’m here again. 🙂