Beware of Being “Right”

Steve Stosny:

Those afflicted with this terrible but common habit lose sight of behavioral possibilities that would make them feel more valuable when they most need it—when they feel devalued. They grow alienated from their more humane values, which makes them feel progressively less valuable. To compensate, they inflate their egos to fragile proportions, which seem to need more and more power as defense. This dynamic, fueled by the systematic substitution of power for value, leads to what is commonly and erroneously considered the narcissistic constellation of personality disorders.

Covariant with the substitution of power for value is the persistent need to be right while making others wrong. Seeming to be right justifies disrespect, contempt, and other forms of emotional pollution, which spread like wildfire in our electronic age. In addition, they suffer an illusion of certainty. High adrenaline emotions, particularly anger, create profound illusions of certainty, due to their amphetamine effects. The amphetamine effect creates a temporary sense of confidence and certainty, while narrowing mental focus and eliminating most variables from consideration. That’s why you feel more confident after a cup of coffee (a mild amphetamine effect) than before it, and it’s why you’re convinced that you’re right and everyone else is wrong when you’re angry.