Have you seen two or more people believing that they are right and the other side is wrong? That seems to be quite typical. In politics it can get quite heated. Religion is no exception. Each one will scream that they are the only one. Siblings, friends, customers, managers, other family members and the list can go on and on.
Yet, when it comes down to it, each side only digs in deeper and nothing get accomplished. Many times the arguments are so petty that at the end neither side knew exactly what they were arguing about. So what is the answer?
One of my favorite books is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. In it he told a lesson he learned that to argue only created animosity. He stated it this way, “You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.” He stated that people are very prideful and never want to feel inferior. When you win, the other person will resent it.
Believe me; I’ve made this mistake many times. I knew I was right and I set out to prove I was right. All this did was to create an enemy out of a friend. Even now I have to catch myself. From my mistakes and the lessons of others, I’m going to give you some pointers on what you can do, instead of arguing.
~~Admit that you may be wrong. And that you frequently are. Simply tell the person that you want to make things right. Then say to them, “Let’s take a look at the facts, okay?”
~~If you are truly wrong, admit that you are. And acknowledge to the other person that he or she was right. Then thank them.
~~Realize that each person has formulated their own patterns of beliefs. They have been influenced by life experiences including family, friends and culture. This leads to how they perceive the world. In Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) as well as in General Semantics (GS) we call this their “Map or Representation of the world.” Learn to understand where they are coming from. Hence the old saying, “Walk a mile in another person’s shoes” in order to know how their life feels like.
~~Focus on areas where you both agree. The more areas that you can agree on will help for both of you to realize that you both want the same result. Just because you may have one way or the other person may have another way, doesn’t mean that one is right or wrong. It’s just getting to the end may take different paths.
~~Questions are powerful! Too many people trying to get their point across will simply talk and talk and talk. Instead, ask questions. Encourage the other person to express their own thoughts. Even if you disagree, don’t say anything. Just listen. You may be able to find a tidbit of information that will help get you from their representation of the world into where you want them to go. That goes back to finding areas where you both agree.
I hope these few pointers will help you the next time you decide to argue. And if you disagree with me on any of these, let me know. I may be wrong. Thanks.
Bob Choat works as a Peak Performance Coach, Trainer, Professional Speaker, Author and co-owner of Optimal Life Seminars
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