Be Right or Be Happy?

Would you rather be right or be happy? Or something in between?

If you had to choose to between being right or being happy, which would you choose?
For some people, being right is extremely important but is it more important than being happy? Sometimes happy people are accused of not living in the “real world”, that they wear “rose colored glasses” or of being a Pollyanna.
There is actually some validity to this accusation. In his book, Authentic Happiness, Martin Seligman writes of an experiment in which participants were asked to turn on a light. Sometimes the light went on and sometimes it did not. Those who scored higher on the optimist scale predicted that the light would turn on more than the realist and they were wrong more often because of their optimistic leanings. So the optimist has more hope than the realist. But would you rather be right or be happy? Thankfully the question is not that cut and dried. It’s not all-or-nothing, black-or-white. Yes, the realists were more accurate but not by a landslide. So, would you rather be right and be less happy or be more hopeful and be more happy?
There are a many more implications to this question than first meet the eye. Studies have proven that optimists are happier, have a better quality of life and enjoy better health.
Viktor Frankl was a psychologist before being thrown into the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. In the middle of the most horrific of studies in human behavior, Frankl calculated that when prisoners lost hope, they were dead within two weeks. Was there reason to give up hope? Plenty. Statistically, the chance of getting out of there alive were extremely poor. But the optimist lived longer purely because of his more optimistic point of view.
So, now you get to decide: where on the continuum of hope would you like to live? If you are a realist, you would be willing to let go of your death grip on reality in favor for a little more happiness, opting to be an optimistic realist. Or go even a little further into optimistic territory adopting the title of a realistic optimist. My hope is that you will join us among the ranks of optimists. Wherever you find yourself on the continuum, I hope you are doing so as a conscious choice. Choice is a drum we beat a lot in Happiness 101. One choice you could make would be to pick up Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How of Happiness. One of her twelve Happiness Habit strategies is Cultivating Optimism. Another choice you could make is to join us in Happiness 101. It is a FREE class about Happiness I teach every Monday at 7pm. Click here to check out the upcoming class schedule or call 877-476-6338 for recorded information.
~Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor

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