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Do You Need to be Right?

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

There’s an old story abut a captain of a ship that was sailing on a dark, pitch-black night. The captain suddenly noticed a bright light directly in front of him, and he knew that his ship was on a collision course with the light. He rushed to the radio and sent an urgent message, demanding that the vessel change its course ten degrees east.

A few seconds later, he received a message in return. The message said, “cannot do it. Change your course ten degrees west.”

The captain got angry. He sent another message, “I’m a Navy Captain. I demand you change your course.”

He received a message back a few seconds later. It said, “I’m a Seaman Second Class. Cannot do it. change your course.”

The captain was now furious. He sent one final message. It said, “I’m a battleship, and I’m not changing my course!”

He got a curt message in return. It said, “I’m a lighthouse. It’s your choice, sir.”

Many times we are like the Navy Captain; we can be hardheaded and stubborn. We let our ego get in the way and it clouds our better judgment,  often getting us into trouble. We find ourselves holding onto something we believe and unable to look past it.

I find it helpful to ask myself, “Why is it so important to be right? What am I trying to protect? My feelings, my pride?” Often this will give me the answer and I can face my own vulnerability. Then I can be open to considering other perspectives, others ways of doing things, and even apologies from people. So rather than crash into that lighthouse (or be worried, agitated or frustrated), be courageous enough to be open - this creates a feeling of lightness and freedom, and results in a much smoother and enjoyable sail through life.


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