Our desire to be right

I was sifting through a comment thread of a popular blog recently. The post was related to climate change and I was struck by the nature of the discussion in the comments. The observation that stuck out the most was around our desire to be right.

There were many on the thread who approached the conversations with high levels of conviction based on what they believed. I’m not certain where they got their facts from or the method with which they interpreted said facts – but, regardless, it was fascinating to see them double down on their arguments.

We are in the midst of watching “The Da Vinci Code” (based off the Dan Brown bestseller). While it is a work of fiction, it was interesting to revisit human history and view the bloodshed from a different point of view. It got me thinking about the many wars we’ve fought. And, it is amazing how we’ve always found reasons to wage war and kill each other over the past millenia – our certainty in the beliefs we hold and our desire for more power being the top reasons.

Certainty, conviction, and a desire to be right are important drivers of progress. They spur action and forward motion.

However, like other drivers of progress, they’re double edged swords. And, I wish we made it a habit to add a bit more doubt into the mix as we attempted to work through difficult problems.

Perhaps we’d learn to stop worrying about who is right and, instead, focus on what is right.