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You Can Never Win an Argument

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In today’s increasingly argumentative world, dealing with differences of opinion can be very challenging. It’s always better to avoid an argument if you can as there are never any winners, but sometimes that’s just not possible. Here are some ways you can handle unavoidable disagreements so you can reduce emotion and come to a deeper understanding of others’ perspectives.

Never Contradict

Often in the heat of disagreeing with someone we’re not even listening to what they have to say – we’re just waiting to make our own point! To refute their argument, we lead with contradiction, an approach that can just inflame the situation. Albert Einstein once said, “The truth of a theory can never be proven, for one never knows if future experiences will contradict its conclusions.” Said another way – you can sometimes be absolutely certain in your beliefs, only to find out new information later that makes you think twice. At the end of the day, opinions can change, information can develop and things can move. Don’t be arrogant – instead, have enough humility to recognize that you don’t know everything. 

Don’t Get Defensive

During a disagreement, the defensive emotions that we had as an immature child can come to the fore. Our instinct is to protect ourselves at all costs but, when we get defensive, we make it much harder for others to hear what we’re saying and to really listen to what they have to say. To ensure a healthy debate, it’s vital to discipline yourself with all your strength not to be defensive. Bestselling author Henry Cloud suggests that, instead of getting defensive, just say, “Thanks for letting me know your thoughts. I’ll consider them.” This is a great way to let people know that you have respectfully heard their point of view and you’re willing to take their opinions on board.

We All Have Something to Learn

In life, no-one knows everything – we are all continually learning and developing. Try to remember this fact when you’re in a heated discussion with someone. A great phrase to reflect on is Dale Carnegie’s “I may be wrong.” You might be firm in your opinions and convinced of your arguments, but there’s always a chance that you’re wrong so keep that in mind!

If you have respect for others’ thoughts and opinions, you’ll be better able to understand different perspectives and ultimately become a person of influence, not argument. To learn more, listen to the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life.” 

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