TED Conversations

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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  • Jun 25 2011: Being right is very important. but what is more important is to realize that in most cases we are far from knowing what right is. most of the time we don't have or can't analyze all the factors affecting an event so we can't really say for sure what is wrong and what is right. so many issues that cause arguments are subjective and by far no one knows what right is.

    in this cases, to insist that you are right, is taking your happiness away from you and people you care about and it shows that you are far from being a mature person. I think this is what he meant because he said he had not been fighting with his wife. human fights are most of the time not about facts (e.g. if earth is flat) they are about preferences (e.g. let's go see that romantic comedy).

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