The ineffectiveness of “right” vs. “wrong”

It’s easy for us to classify our decisions as being “right or “wrong.”  

It’s how we were taught. It’s how we live in a civilized world.  It’s the right thing to do or I don’t want to make the wrong decision.

When we label our paths as “right” or “wrong” we place ourselves in a state of extremes. We’re also indicating that we have some evidenced-based answer to what would have been.  Or some representation of what we would have known.  

The truth is when we travel down one path, there are other paths that remain untraveled. This leaves us with no concrete barometer for measuring whether our traveled path is actually “right” or “wrong”.  Because how do we know what would have come of the untraveled path?

It’s tricky because our natural tendency is to offer a definitive label. To want validation.

You see?….It was the right thing to do or I made the wrong decision.

A friend recently asked me why I use the word “effective” so much in conversation in a professional context.  And I explained that it’s to counter this mindset of extremes, especially in coaching or performance-based endeavors.   

Effective is relative.  It’s neutral.  It’s not as extreme as “right” or “wrong”.  It’s not “black” or “white”.  It’s a word to indicate performance relative to an objective without landing in a state of extremes.  It’s…where did you end up relative to the expectations that you set?

Was this decision or outcome effective or not?  Well let’s evaluate the following:

  • What was the goal you initially set for yourself?  
  • How did your perform relative to that goal?  
  • What criteria did you meet or not meet?  
  • What would have made the performance more effective?

With this type of thinking, you’re likely to be more effective in giving your mind a rest.  The scoreboard of “right” vs. “wrong” is just too taxing.