In life there’s being “right” and then there’s “being right”.
At first glance it may seem like the difference between the two is not that big of a deal. But the unfortunate reality is that the difference between the two destroys relationships, businesses, organizations and families.
A simple and silly, but clear example is this.
Imagine you are sitting with a good friend and get into an argument over what 2+2 equals. You say that the answer is obviously 4. However your friend is emphatically arguing that the answer is 22 and has reason after reason after reason to justify his answer (all of which make no sense to you).
In this instance, even though you are “right” you now have a choice. You can continue “being right” and the argument will continue on and the relationship will suffer, your friendship will be diminished, grudges will be held and so on.
Or you can let go of being right and just let your friend have his opinion.
It is possible for you to be “right” without “being right” about it. “Being right” is where things get messy. It’s an attitude, a position that one takes on something. And once someone take that position they start to defend it and hang on to it for dear life, even if it means harming the relationship.
So forget the simplistic example of 2+2. That one is easy because it can be easily proven. Where this gets really ugly is where the argument is about someone’s opinion versus another opinion.
Imagine the conversation is with your spouse about how to raise your kids, with a parent about a big life decision, about politics or about religion. This is something you see everyday in the news, between family members, co-workers and friends.
Let’s deal with something that hits a little closer to home, something you can all relate to. You don’t have to imagine this one because you are in the middle of it right now.
Look at what “being right” about Gen. Choi’s legacy and the interpretations of his last words did to the ITF after he died.
You’ve got everyone so busy “being right” about what Gen. Choi wanted, and all that has led to is a large number of unhappy masters and instructors, very little real leadership and five or six organizations claiming to be the one that is truly fulfilling Gen. Choi’s legacy.
In short, all of the “being right” has let to nothing but a big mess. Which is one of the reasons I started 1 TKD and this newsletter. I wanted to create something that would bring masters and instructors together no matter what organization they belonged to.
We can waste our time, our money and our energy “being right” about and arguing about who’s better, who’s really carrying out Gen. Choi’s legacy, or even who is the real ITF.
Or we can collectively pull our heads out of our asses and start focusing on being inclusive, bringing people together, and acting consistent with that thing we all know as the Taekwon-Do Student Creed.
In case you forgot, General Choi created this:
To build ourselves physically and mentally based on the Taekwon-Do spirit.
To keep friendship with one another and to be a strong group.
To never fight to achieve selfish ends.
Time for a reality check.
Are you building yourself physically and mentally based on the Taekwon-Do spirit?
Are you keeping and developing friendships and creating a strong group?
Are you being right about something to achieve selfish ends?
Now, those questions can be answered with a simple yes or no. But the real test is in answering HOW and WHY you are doing those things if you are doing them.
I invite you to take the time to do the thinking for yourself regarding these questions.
Have the courage to identify where you are “being right” and begin to create what you can do start bringing people together, being inclusive and building a strong group where you are.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org