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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    Jul 7 2011: Vignette from a Marriage

    Me: I lent you my SD card, can I have it back, please?

    Husband: No, I gave that back to you.

    Me: I don't think so. I remember lending it to you on our trip. Can you look for it?

    Husband: (Showing me the empty SD slot in his laptop) See? It isn't here. I don't have it. I gave it back to you.


    Here, I was right. I lent him the card, he didn't return it. I could have pursued the issue and we would have fought. I didn't. By saying he returned the card, my husband is indicating that he has no idea where it actually is. Getting him to admit that he lost the card doesn't bring it back. I bought a new SD card. I also made a mental note to never lend my husband an SD card with five weeks worth of vacation photos on it ever again.

    I was right, but I chose to be happy instead.

    This is exactly the daily trivial stuff that comprises the bickering of a typical marriage. When you let some of it go, the relationship gets mired down much less frequently. This is what I take Ric to mean.

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