win-lose win-win





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Do I Need to be Right?

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Mark Twain

Take a moment and reflect on your relationships – at work, at home and at play – and ask yourself, “How much does the ‘I’m right – you’re wrong’ dynamic play out in my everyday interactions?” Be honest.

Truth is, most everyone is challenged by this dynamic – in face-to-face interactions, in phone conversations, in emails and the like. Perhaps unconsciously, perhaps consciously, we very often engage in situations where we feel we need to be right, and not only be right, but to be right we need to make the other be or feel wrong.

Our need to feel safe and secure

Our ego personality is the culprit here as it wants and needs to feel strong, safe and secure – mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or psychologically.

When the shoe is on the other foot, and we experience the feeling of being “wrong,” our ego personality reacts and we feel fearful, bad, stupid, insecure, deficient, lacking, diminished, small and/or invisible.


The deal is that someone always has to lose in this “win-lose” dynamic. And, needing to win, or experiencing being “wrong,” we find ourselves enmeshed in interpersonal relationships characterized by mistrust, conflict, competition, separation, frustration, anger or sadness – all based on fear.

The solution for this dynamic is to choose not to live in the world of polarity – right vs. wrong – but to live in a world of inclusion – a  world of “both/and,” not “either/or.”

The challenge for our ego is how to live in relationship in a way we can transcend the personal win-lose dynamic and focus on commonalities. In the world of the ego, it’s all about being separate and independent  win-lose, “I vs. you.” In the world of commonality, community and inclusion, it’s all about “you and me” – win-win. It’s about “we.”

The questions underneath the question are:

“What excuse am I using to rationalize and justify a win-lose, me vs. you dynamic that creates disconnection and disaffection?”
“Why can’t I feel content about being right about something without needing to make someone else feel or be wrong?”
“Why do I live from an ‘I’d rather be right than happy’ perspective much of the time?”


The truth is we’re innately heart-felt, spiritual beings who, by the way, are human and have egos. Somewhere along the path of our growth experiences we separated from the heart-felt and interconnected aspects of our being-ness, our essence, and began to focus on being separate from one another – the human and ego aspects of our personality. In our early developmental growth process, we were indoctrinated with beliefs, assumptions, expectations, perceptions and world views that we identified with and took on to be “me.”

As a result, we live in a world of folks who have assorted beliefs and opinions. That’s as it should be. However, when we live life from an ego-directed place, then it’s “all about me” and in order to feel safe and secure as “me,” our initial reaction to someone else’s different beliefs and opinions is fear – a fear of losing “me,” of feeling that “me” is being threatened. So, we conduct our relationships based on our need to be “right” because being right means that I can be “me;” not being “me” (i.e., feeling I am “wrong”) is a very scary and threatening proposition for many folks.

Letting go

When we’re able to let go of our need to be right, we’re able to live in a place that fosters inner peace, well-be-ing, harmony and connectivity – a place from where we can create more conscious, honest, trusting and healthier win-win relationships.

As you move through your day – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – can you take the time and periodically conduct a self-inquiry into your underlying motivations when you find yourself engaged in win-lose conversations? Do you need to “win” for selfish, manipulative or fearful reasons? That is, what’s your intention when engaged in win-lose interactions?  Why?

Some questions for self-reflection are: 

  • What will happen if I let go of my need to be right?
  • What won’t happen if I let go of my need to be right?
  • What will happen if I don’t let go of my need to be right?
  • What won’t happen if I don’t let go of my need to be right?
  • What is threatening to me about not being right?
  • Do I feel enslaved by a need to be right? If so, how does this feeling affect me? Affect others?
  • How do I feel when I am “wrong?” Why do I feel this way?
  • What was it like to be “right” and “wrong” when I was growing up? What did “being right” get or not get me? What did “being wrong” get or not get me? How does this dynamic play out now in my adult life – at work, at home and at play?
  • Would I rather be right than happy? Honestly.


(c) 2014, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, or pvajda(at)
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.