- Thoughts for inspired living

December 9, 2007


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:21 am

I went through my Grasshopper Notes Journal this morning and found this entry from September of 2004.

Preference vs. Right & Wrong

“Labeling ways of doing things or thinking about things as a preference will give you a broader perspective vs. the cultural conditioning of right and wrong. This broader view will give you more flexibility in life and open more doors.”

That notation led to the following piece of a newsletter I sent out soon after.

John Morgan Newsletter – S P A C E S


Right and wrong as a way of thinking causes many unnecessary problems that can be avoided if we opt for the word “preference” instead. Right and wrong are cultivated by culture and even within that culture there are disagreements about what is right and what is wrong. The world of right and wrong is a sticky wicket because there are so many versions of right and wrong. The word “preference” personalizes something and helps you take ownership of your position on something instead of hiding behind the apron of mother culture.

If you tell someone they are wrong about something, there is an immediate wall built between you and them. No one likes being wrong. When you say, “I’m right,” the immediate implication is the other person is wrong. Notice what happens if you say to someone, “I believe your information is inaccurate” vs. telling him or her they are wrong. You’ve done two things by saying that.

1. You have put the onus on the information, not them.
2. You have used a high school word vs. a parental judgment word that has been carrying negative baggage for you since before you were five.

That’s a nifty way around right and wrong and here’s another option.
Get into the habit of saying you have a preference for something instead of taking a cultural position of right or wrong on it. That immediately tells people you are not arguing the merits of right and wrong and it also demonstrates ownership of the preference. You may have a specific way of doing things that other people do much differently.

Let’s pretend you have a specific idea about how to raise children. You instinctively know other people have other ideas. If you declare you have the right way or the best way to bring up children, you are going to set up a polarity response with many people. Notice what happens if you say you have a preference of bringing up your children the way you do. This gives credence to other ways of doing things without you having to defend being right. Having a preference will give you more flexibility without having to abandon or defend your way of doing things.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!