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Learning ‘Right’ from ‘Wrong’ may not be the Right Way by Gregory Lay

We have a special guest today!  Gregory Lay, co-author of Life Choices: Putting the Pieces Together (Turning Point International), is here to talk to us about learning right from wrong!

Learning ‘Right’ from ‘Wrong’ may not be the Right Way!

By Gregory Lay

Life tosses a lot of lessons our way. Little events that seem to be petty annoyances are often the vehicles that carry those lessons – but being ready to listen is the challenge. Usually, when I finally recognize a lesson, I also have to recognize that it had been delivered many times before if I’d only been aware enough to recognize it.

My chapter in Life Choices is like that. In my own career, I’ve seen people defending their positions and distrusting others who didn’t share that position. I’ve seen how important it is to be ‘right.’ Naturally, I recognized others’ addiction to proving themselves to be right before I managed to look into the mirror and accept that I spend too much valuable time worrying about my own rightness.

When I started training people in other organizations, one of the first things I noticed was that everybody in my classes was always ‘right,’ and the people that gave them problems were always ‘wrong.’ It was either an amazing coincidence – or else a principle of human behavior that it would be wise of me to understand. When I was looking at others’ behavior from a safe perspective, it was easy to recognize that a big part of their problem was a habit of black-or-white thinking that keeps people from seeing and acknowledging another person’s point-of-view. Looking at others’ behavior helped me formulate the concept that letting somebody be ‘right’ doesn’t make somebody else ‘wrong.’

When people take the energy that is usually spend fighting about right or wrong and spend it on finding ways to be right together, they often achieve worthwhile goals. I’m still working on applying that principle in my own life. I hope that readers of the Life Choices stories will be able to see life lessons as others learned them – and from that safe perspective, learn how to apply the wisdom in their own lives.

Some of the stories in Life Choices are major life events. Some are barely noticeable blips on the screen until the lesson they carry is recognized. The stories in my chapter about ‘fact filters’ weren’t learning moments at the time – a disagreeable person in a meeting and an argumentative neighbor were events to file under ‘snort and forget.’ They weren’t stories with lessons like climbing the highest mountain or winning an Olympic gold medal, but when I stopped snorting about the situation and looked at the lesson, the value emerged.

Not that many people have ‘world championship’ stories, but everybody has ‘personal moment’ stories that are just as valuable when we step back to see the lessons. As you read Life Choices, I hope that in the stories about others’ learning moments, you’ll recognize your own stories and the lessons they brought you.

Gregory Lay addresses workplace issues – from the speaker’s platform and with a syndicated print column. He spent several years in ‘middle management’ positions where he learned that workplace inhabitants who come together to accomplish a similar purpose still go in many different directions based on their ideas, needs, and personalities. His goal now is to provide the needed guidance to help those team members reach a common goal.

He presents Heartily Working workshops to help build positive personal attitudes, inter-departmental collaboration, and organizational strength. Whether responding to a question in his column or from a workshop participant, Gregory is known for down-to-earth, practical solutions emphasizing a strategic approach to problem-solving.

He coordinates activities of the World Champions’ EDGE, a consortium of award-winning speakers and executive speaking coaches. Gregory is certified to present Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Achieve Global educational materials, as well as presenting organizational growth topics for the National Seminars Group, a division of Rockhurst University. He’s active in the National Speakers’ Association, American Society for Training and Development, International Society for Performance Improvement, Southwest Writers, and Toastmasters International.

Gregory Lay is co-author of the self-help anthology, Life Choices: Putting the Pieces Together. Visit his website at

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