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October 27, 2022

There can be a reward in the challenge of being curious over being right.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.

“Be right less and curious more.”

Stephen Christopher Szawlowski

Being right is overrated.

I’m not talking about common human decency. I’m talking about living and operating under the pressure to meet a certain unrealistic standard. The word “Right” can come with a confining association for us.

“Right” often means so much more than just “correct” or “accurate.”

“Right” can be code for “perfect.”

“Right” can be suffocating, within this context. This is partly due to the “or else,” mandatory demand of exacting precision as we go about our daily lives. It stretches beyond being detail oriented. It is all about “perfect- versus- complete- failure- that- will- only- create- the- worst-case- scenario- situation- and- therefore- ruin- our- lives.”

Yes, that.

Who can possibly breathe when the stakes are that high?

Many of us, surviving trauma, compulsion, addiction, and other disordered behaviors, are dictating such punishing rules.

Again, “or else.”

Being “right,” (perfect) or else… what?

We die?

We will be unsafe?

We will be alone?

We will never be happy?

We will be destitute, in every sense of the word?

We will not be able to protect and care for someone else who needs our protection and care?

“Catastrophizing” is a catchy term many of us function under. It is the fear and the firm belief that only worst-case scenario stuff will befall our lives and circumstances.

We can easily spin out of control believing such things like a paper cut will become infected, causing us to lose a limb, which will then cause us to lose our health and livelihood. From there, we will only be homeless, dying a painful, cruel death, then followed by an eternity of tortuous fiery damnation and suffering.

All from a paper cut.

Does it sound ridiculous? Maybe.

Yet how many of us have started with something small, only to visualize the worst possible outcome, because, why?

We want to be braced for the inevitable and horrible impact?

Our life circumstances have only showed us that pain, death, loss, and destitution are the only things coming for us?

Being “right,” being “perfect” can paralyze us.

If perfection is what is required to move, then yes, it’s easier to fall prey to being immobilized and rendering ourselves as powerless.


Being imperfect can give us the grace, the opportunity, the permission, the possibility to move FORWARD!

What if?

Challenging the absolute certainty of an imagined catastrophe, can equip us with the movement. It doesn’t need to be a perfect, exacting step. It just needs to be a step.

That’s enough. Being “right,” being “perfect” will always disagree with that.

It’d be worthwhile, then, to side with movement over the paralysis.

Being curious about that movement can be the start for us.

“Right” can stifle creativity.

There’s a method of teaching painting and drawing that employs lightly penciling a grid of boxes, all for the purpose of accurately depicting the exacting shapes that comprise each penciled box.

So, if there is a tree or a human eye, it can be perfectly captured, drawn, and painted, all because it’s perfectly contained in that box.

It’s frustrating to go about that method of art instruction. I know, when I was in art class, I didn’t feel very creative. I felt stifled.

And “rightly” so.

Where was the room for interpretation, for personal style, for expression, for exploration and challenging what is?

I mean, really, did Picasso, Monet, or Renoir grid out their masterpieces?

Don’t think so.

Likewise, being confined and contained, with sole emphasis on perfection and exacting duplication, doesn’t leave much room our perspective, or for our fun, even.

Creativity often exists beyond parameters.

How much can we experience in our lives when we allow that to happen?

“Right” can stop us from learning.

They say you learn more from your failures than from your successes.

Victories in life are enjoyable, wonderful… and they’re important.

But they can also halt such things as character development, learning new things, and grasping a deeper appreciation for the things that matter the most in life.

That sounds cliché.

But if something goes quickly, smoothly, and easily, you and I usually don’t meditate on it for very long.

Sometimes, we take it for granted, develop a sense of entitlement, and can become ungrateful even hateful human beings who only complain and refuse to see the blessings of love, good health, and prosperity that DO exist in our lives already.

Yes, things could be better.

But they could also be worse.

Adopting a sense of curious humility reminds us of the fragility of that tightrope walk. No one is exempt from it; all are subject to change happening in the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately, all too often, we don’t learn until the “unthinkable” happens.

There’s Deeper, More Meaningful Things Beyond Being “Right.”

Curiosity over right/perfect/ victory can help us explore the deeper aspects of life. They can be our greatest teachers, as adversity precedes those hard-fought, hard-won things.

Curiosity involves flexibility, openness, acceptance, and a humble attitude.

We get further, as human beings with that in operation.

Copyright © 2022 by Sheryle Cruse

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