You Can Be Right or Happy…

…Usually not both (particularly in your marriage).

It was Friday night (Date Night!) and I was flying home after a long exhausting week on the road. My wife, Georgia was picking me up from the airport and she had made reservations for us at this new restaurant in downtown San Diego we were excited to try.

To make it special, earlier in the week I called ahead to see if they stocked our favorite French champagne. They did not, so I arranged to have a bottle shipped to the sommelier at the restaurant to be presented at the table as a surprise (along with another small gift I picked up on the road).

Georgia had arranged a surprise as well, knowing I would be coming off a long flight she had bought me a new shirt, had it pressed and waiting in the car when she picked me up. Oh boy, this was going to be a good night!

Even though they had people spilling out the front door, the hostess greeted us with a big smile and immediately whisked us to the best table in the house (apparently we had made an impression with the sommelier!).

Halfway through the heavenly champagne (in other words, we are feeling the magic!) our meals arrived. They were delicious. I offered a bite of my dish to Georgia and she commented on the taste of curry in the dish. I insisted it was turmeric and not curry. She said no it was definitely curry. I ranted on about how wrong she was and threw down a bet that I was right (by my scorecard I am like 1,258,932-to-0 in winning our bets).

I started trying to search for the recipe online from my iPhone in the middle of our meal (I know, super lame). I couldn’t find it so I called over the waitress and asked her to settle our score. She was uncertain, but then (‘make the dumb man happy’ she probably thought) she decided to side with me.

I won! I was right! I did a little victory dance in my chair and gloated a bit longer. However, I now experienced that I had won the battle (battle? I know, I’m embarrassed even as I write this in reflection), but lost the war (the magic of the evening). The rest of the night was spent in austere dialogue, a mostly silent drive home and, well, not much else to tell.

The next morning (still being my ape-like self) I went to the restaurant’s website, found the name of the chef, who had a published cookbook and shared some of his recipes on his blog. The dish I ordered was on there and guess what? The ingredient WAS curry, not turmeric after all. Not only had I ruined the magic of the moment by trying to be right rather than happy, but (comically or tragically, depending on whether you find other people’s pain funny or not) I was wrong after all.

I haven’t told Georgia about this little factoid discovery. Let’s just keep it between us, eh? I wouldn’t hear the end of it! Actually, she probably wouldn’t make a big deal of it since, as the more evolved member of our relationship, she would probably prefer peace and happiness than triumph and righteousness. Me? I’m still in training.

Love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments below.


Darren Hardy is the former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, an entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author of The Compound Effect and Living Your Best Year Ever: A Proven Formula for Achieving Big Goals.

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