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We are addicted to being right

I enjoy reading the posts of The Reformed Broker. He is in the financial services business and blogs about markets, politics, economics, media, culture and finance.

I came across this post on his blog today and thought it was very interesting and relevant to football.

Are we addicted to being right? Is being thought of as being right more important to us than actually being right?

You tell me…

From the Harvard Business Review:

In situations of high stress, fear or distrust, the hormone and neurotransmitter cortisol floods the brain. Executive functions that help us with advanced thought processes like strategy, trust building, and compassion shut down. And the amygdala, our instinctive brain, takes over. The body makes a chemical choice about how best to protect itself — in this case from the shame and loss of power associated with being wrong — and as a result is unable to regulate its emotions or handle the gaps between expectations and reality. So we default to one of four responses: fight (keep arguing the point), flight (revert to, and hide behind, group consensus), freeze (disengage from the argument by shutting up) or appease (make nice with your adversary by simply agreeing with him).

All are harmful because they prevent the honest and productive sharing of information and opinion. But, as a consultant who has spent decades working with executives on their communication skills, I can tell you that the fight response is by far the most damaging to work relationships. It is also, unfortunately, the most common.

Interesting because the Harvard Review was relating the discussion to a business context, but I thought that this applies to every day life including one of my passions – sport in general and football in particular.

There are so many times when football supporters get into lengthy and acrimonious debates and out which team is better, which player is better and ultimately nobody listens to anybody else.

As the post notes, the emphasis on being right prevents us all from being honest and really sharing information and opinions properly. It could ultimately be a load of nonsense, but you can make up your own mind.


About Ticha Pfupajena

I'm beginning to get the sense that my career as a professional footballer may not happen. As a result, I'll try write about football and sports instead....


2 thoughts on “We are addicted to being right

  1. Bravo… I see this being played out in Pubs and other social settings every week! The most humorous ones though are when PUNdits / analysts on a panel stoop down to this level and ignore the facts and instead engage in amusing, and at times embarrasing, acts of one-upmanship. The latest debate will be on the whole Nani Champions’League red card issue. The FIFA laws are simple….BUT their interpretation……well not so much…

    Posted by pardonthepun-dit | 06/03/2013, 10:07
  2. Having worked in large corporations most of my life I very much agree with the article. Many Company Executives do not make decisions based on what is in the best interests of positioning the company to be very competitive. They are driven by how it affects their power, their position in terms of promotions and general protecting their turf. They then find legitimate reasons to support their decision. It is a pity but it is true.

    As for the Nani issue, whoever decided to knight Alex Ferguson when he was still active in football management made a blunder. It gives him an unfair advantage as he commands more respect, to the Brits at least. 10 man have been known to win games very easily.

    Posted by Kule | 07/03/2013, 18:11

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Ticha Pfupajena

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