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Daniel Vineberg


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"I don't try to be right, I choose to be happy" ... wait, what?

With no disrespect intended to RIc or any readers with opposing views, I take issue with the quote I pinpointed. The pursuit of happiness is a great thing and all, but I don't think it should actually take precedence over being right.

Now I know there's a fine line between "being right" and "doing the right thing". After all someone who tries to "be right" on every minute issue can get very annoying fast ( -- ever met someone who insists on correcting grammar when it's clear what's being said? case in point).

But on larger issues I would like to suggest that proving that you are in fact right constitutes doing the right thing.
eg. Galileo would've been a lot happier if he just agreed the earth was flat and stopped insisting he was right -- but aren't we happy he was stubborn?

more recent eg. Fighting tolerance / discrimination. Though intrinsically rewarding, most of us can live an easier, happier life by turning a cold shoulder. But who would argue that this is good advice?

I don't mean to pick apart Ric's quote and use it out of context. All I would like to show is that what may help you live on a micro level may actually promote apathy on a macro level. I'm only twenty though, so I'm still at the idealistic age where I think some hard work can save the world. But isn't that what TED's all about? :)


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  • Apr 27 2011: Hi Daniel, I know what you're saying, I agree, and I think I have something helpful to say. Right versus happy isn't an all-or-nothing choice.

    We should pick our battles wisely. That's the answer.

    We are sometimes faced with a choice (this is from John Bradshaw): do we want to be right or do we want to be close (to someone). Lets make that choice conciously. As the annoying grammarian is probably not doing.

    By the way, I'm not religious, but this reminds me of a quote from Jesus: "I bring not peace, but a sword." This seeming contradiction from a great champion of peace is about rocking the boat when what's right is important enough. But he did it with love and non-violence. Maybe that's the way to be right AND happy...

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