Why People Need To Be Right

Ok, here’s a question for you…

If you walked into someone’s church, synagog, mosque, temple, etc., and completely changed everything around and then told the congregation how YOU think they should worship and then turned around and expected them to thank you for it, how well do you think that would go over?

Exactly! Not very well!

You’d probably be lucky to get out of there without first being stoned to death. lol

There are two things we are told to never talk in the company of strangers, Religion and Politics.

churchI think all of us recognize the importance of a person’s religious beliefs and we all know better than to ridicule them if we expect to retain their favor.

I mean, if you’re a Christian and a Muslim New Patient walked into your clinic, you wouldn’t take the opportunity to bash their religion would you?  I would hope not.  lol

Well, here’s the funny thing, when it comes interpersonal relationships, we often act in such destructive ways.

We do this, when we set out to make someone “wrong”.

Why does making people “wrong” have such a destructive impact on our relationships?

Because one the most important things a person must have and must know is the ability to to effectively determine what is real and what is not real.

This all goes back to our survival instinct.

How can we effectively survive in a world that we don’t understand?

So when someone tells us we’re “wrong” about something, that “something” becomes far more important than the situation actually calls for.  The reason for this is, when we are made “wrong” our sense of stability is threatened.

One of my favorite story’s about Abraham Lincoln is this one…

Abraham Lincoln once asked his son a very specific question:

“If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?”

His son answered, “Five, sir.”

Lincoln responded, “No son. The answer is four. Simply calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.”

Now, this advice should make perfect sense to people like you and me. (people of sound mind)

But when it comes to interpersonal relationships, this advice can be disastrous!

For example, let’s say you meet someone and that person really truly believes that a tail is a leg.  If you point out to that person that a tail is not a leg, but is in fact, a tail, you will immediately lose them.  They will no longer befriend you or want a relationship with you.

Now, here’s another question.  …does the fact that they believe that a tail is a leg actually harm them?  No.

Does it harm you? No.

So why do you feel the need to correct them?

Ahhhhhhhhhhh…… “Why do you feel the need to correct them?”

Because this is our side of the hidden addiction coming into play.

You see, our biggest obstacle to allowing other people to be right is often nothing more than our own need to be right.

Have you ever heard that old saying,

“It’s better to be rich than right?”

This is a very, very true statement, but it’s easier said than done.

So the question then becomes, “How do we change someone’s mind and still allow them to be right?”

Here are two very simple strategies for you…

First, set aside the issue in question, without looking like your setting it aside.

Years ago I was listening to an interview with Dr. John Demartini on VoiceAmerica. During the interview they opened up the lines demartini marketingfor people to call in and ask questions.

I remember a couple of people called in and started calling him a scam-artist and a conman.

One guy said, “How does it make you feel knowing that you’re  getting filthy rich off your followers?  Because I believe that you’re philosophy is doing people more harm than good.”

Now clearly, Dr. D. had to dispute these claims or he would lose credibility in the eyes of his audience.

I sat there listening and wondering, “How in the hell is he going to deal with that LIVE ON AIR?” lol

Well, he started off his response with some really magickal words that I’ll never forget.

This is how he responded,

“Your point is well taken and I completely understand your position. You actually bring up a very important point and I’m really glad you asked this question.”


He used these phrases before he ever uttered a word about his position that was in dispute.

The sign of a true master.

Now let’s break these phrases down so we understand WHY they work so well.

#1. They DO NOT say that the other person is wrong. You see, most people would start off with phrase like these…

  • I’m sorry you feel that way, but you are mistaken.
  • You obviously haven’t done your research.
  • That’s simply not true.

The moment you start off a rebuttal like that, you instantly create a dispute.

You’re RIGHT and They’re WRONG!

It’s now a epic battle of the EGO!  …and SOMEONE must LOSE!

And here’s the irony…you BOTH LOSE!

#2. If look closely at these phrases, you’ll notice that they almost appear to express agreement with the other person.

For example, when you say, “You’re point is well taken.”  What does that really mean?

Honestly…NOTHING! lol

It doesn’t mean a damn thing, but it sounds like an agreement.

It’s no different when you say, “I understand your position.”  No where does this statement imply that I agree with what you’re saying or that I even accept what you’re saying, only that I understand it.

But it’s effect on the listener is as if we agreed with them.  The second you do this, their defenses immediately drop and now you can engage in effective communication and persuasion.

chiropractic hatersI’ve used these phrases myself and they really do work.

Being in the Chiropractic Spotlight by teaching marketing, I’ve got my share of haters.  …and almost every chiropractor that has ever written me a hate email, calling me a scam artist, conman, etc… I’ve responded by opening up with these phrases and I can tell you that the majority of them calmed down and we were able to talk like real human beings.  What’s even cooler is that once the channels of communication were opened up, the majority of them even apologized to me.

#3.  Another way to correct a person without making them feel wrong is to simply use one of the other hidden addictions we’ve discussed in this process.  If you absolutely have to correct someone, and there will be times when you have to, you can make the “correction” go a little smoother by offering them a scapegoat.

In other words, let them know that even though they are wrong, it’s not their fault.

When you offer a scapegoat, you aren’t actually making the person wrong at all.  You are making the other person wrong.

Other person? What other person?”, you may be asking yourself.

The person they got their information from in the first place.

It’s so much easier for us, as people, to accept that someone else is wrong than for us to have to accept that we are wrong.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson and I hope you found some value in it.

If you thought this lesson was informative and you found it valuable, please “Like” this page. I would really, really love and appreciate it if you did.

If you have a questions, please leave it in the comments section below and I’ll be sure to answer it quickly.

In the mean time,

Keep Saving Lives,

Chris Burfield


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