Let me tell you a little secret:
On occasion, dear reader, I don’t know what I’m talking about. I say words; they flow. I offer advice and tender an idea without due construction or examination.
I don’t release a flutter of nothings unto the world lightly. They are beaten from me under the stresses of urgency and obligation. The necessity to communicate anything overrides the value of sharing anything of real value.
And I am not alone.
We’re programmed to believe that our view of the world is accurate and true. That we maintain agency and take positive steps on the daily to continue along the path to fulfilment.
What’s the alternative? Allow ourselves to shudder and fail under the weight of insecurity, which is a world we’ve all visited late at night and yet forged the weapons to fight our way out by daybreak.
Our insecurities can overwhelm us. We’re all aware of the mounting pressures of adulthood and our shared lack of practical experience in overcoming them. The struggle, as they say, is real.
For founders and entrepreneurs, the burden is accompanied by the searing responsibility for the livelihood and wellbeing of the people they employ; by the fiery burden of fulfilling the expectations set by themselves and others close to them.
And, of course, to be right.
Being right – we’re ignoring any ethical or moral regard – propels someone through the twin pillars of fear and anxiety, fuels their cross of the river of uncertainty and drives them towards the promised land of riches and recognition.
And being right leads to sending shitty emails, to talking over your colleagues, to ignoring consensus in favour of guts and a glimpse of glory.
But fuck me does being right feel good.
The cult of perso-vanity takes us all prisoner at some point or another and society (or LinkedIn at least) reinforces our hero complexes by lionising the individual that spearhead the corporate behemoths of our era. Bezos, Musk, Zuckerburg….err…
We long for nothing more than to feel valued and vital. We want to be the centre of our own ever-expanding universe. A vision of being feted like those named & famed inspires us.
That’s a grand setup for 4 simple words: Being right doesn’t matter.
Your job, whatever your occupation may be, is to get the most out of the people around you, irrespective of whether that means managing up, down, left or right. Doing so and being right are not mutually exclusive, but it’s inevitable that you’ll have to choose at some stage.
And when you do choose, remember how we all, on occasion, don’t know what we’re talking about. How our positions are fluid even if our rhetoric is not. How we’ve all tried to exhume ourselves from lost arguments. How our position was poorly constructed and examined under the stresses of urgency and obligation.
History is written by the victors. Those that ascend do so on the broad backs of trusted relationships, not isolated virtue.
Don’t be right. Do something that matters.