Beware of Right vs. Wrong

They usually add more heat than they do light. They are side-bar arguments that obscure the central issue.

Things are “right” or “wrong” because people say so. There are no other distinctions possible until they are put to the test.

Perspectives are “true” or “false” depending on people’s beliefs. They are a function of opinions or beliefs. They have no necessary relationship to reality.

Those who argue from “truth” or “reality” are usually seeking to win by a sort of non sequitur – from an argument that people are reluctant to rebut.

So when these red flags show themselves, beware.

You have to know that some things are more accurately related to reality than others. You have to know that some people are more conscientious than others about how accurately they may be saying things. You have to know that some people will invoke right vs. wrong or true vs. false simply to stack the deck in their favor.

You should never engage in this kind of specious reasoning or argumentation.

From a practical point of view — which should always be your way of thinking — it makes less difference whether or not something is “true” than whether that conclusion will get you where you’re going.

To be lied to is one thing. To be taken down a path that is not the “right” path for your purposes is quite another.

Here as elsewhere, it pays to be strategic. What that calls for is interpreting everything in light of your mission.    Speak in ways that are consistent with the path that you need to be on. Listen to others and read about things in ways that are consistent with the needs and the destiny of your organization and your life.

Academic discussions, which are usually attempts to point out the validity of someone’s beliefs or opinions create little more than foul balls.

If people have no particular purposes in mind, then discussions about who is right and who is wrong may be of no consequence whatsoever.

When you are had by your purposes in life, the consequences of engaging in such worthless arguments may take you where you don’t want to go – which is nowhere in particular.

Don’t be misled. Right or wrong, true or false: these are not destinations. They are detours.

There are plenty of substantive arguments of value. Don’t waste your time on those that are not.

– Lee Thayer