Richard Carlson’s book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. . .And it’s All Small Stuff  has a chapter entitled “Let Others Be Right Most of the Time.”  

I think he’s right.

Think of all the energy it takes to defend your opinion, to take a stand, to be right all the time.  It’s exhausting.  As Carlson asks us to ask ourselves, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?”

We’ve forgotten how to say, “I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers, I have room to learn, I don’t have to always be right.”   We’ve lost that art because in our society, it’s a giant no-no.  We are encouraged to always be bright, knowledgeable, and have all the answers. 

But the truth is: no one has all the answers all the time.  It’s okay to let the other person be right.  And it’s okay not to know.  

Letting the other person be right is a very giving gesture.  And it saves you tons of mental and emotional energy.  It opens up our curiosity and leaves room to learn and grow.  Not knowing is one of the fundamental aspects of Beginner’s Mind.

When I was young, I was embarrassed to say “I don’t know.”  Deep down I always had a little place of doubt where I knew there was more for me to learn and more for me to understand than I currently did.  So I often let others be “right” about things.  

At the time, I saw this as a weakness.

Now I see it as one of the most spiritual and generous stances I could have taken.  TZT