Saturday, 31 October 2009

Do not engage in pointless debates (Part 1 of 2)


It doesn't pay to engage in verbal fights with irrational people. They will dismiss your well-thought arguments. They will ignore facts and figures. They will wear you down and, in extreme cases, they might make you doubt your senses. Most of us would be already millionaires if we had been paid for all the hours that we have wasted in useless discussions.

Nevertheless, no matter what business you are in, you probably make part of your money through your dealings with irrational customers, colleagues, or employees. The world being what it is, there are few ways to make a living without having to deal with some overbearing individuals. Your efficiency and happiness will depend to a great extent on your ability to deal with this kind of persons.

Avoiding nonsense altogether is hardly a feasible approach, since no one can remake the world according to his personal preferences. Getting angry doesn't work either, since you would only create stress for yourself without improving anything.

A workable system to put an end to a pointless debate consists of admitting that you don't know. Saying words such “maybe" or “possibly” in a polite tone has the same effect. This approach is not a compromise with irrationality, but a necessary method of self-protection. Let me show you a few examples of what happens when you use this strategy against everyday nonsense.

[1] When someone tells you that the world is coming to an end and that you should be anxious and depressed, you can admit that possibility and indicate that you will start worrying when you actually see civilization fall apart.

[2] Should you get to hear that saving is useless and that you would be better off by living in the moment, thank that person for the advice and reply that you will stop saving when you have tangible guarantees that your financial future is properly taken care of.

[3] A similar approach can be used against someone exhorting you to read the newspaper every day, warning you that, without constant new information, you will soon lose your competitive edge. Remain serene and refrain from giving a snappy reply. Say that you take note of the remark but that you are satisfied with the effectiveness of your limited-information approach.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Riverbanksoutdoorstore under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Do not engage in pointless debates
(Part 1 of 2)


It doesn't pay to engage in verbal fights with irrational people. They will dismiss your well-thought arguments. They will ignore facts and figures. They will wear you down and, in extreme cases, they might make you doubt your senses. Most of us would be already millionaires if we had been paid for all the hours that we have wasted in useless discussions.

Nevertheless, no matter what business you are in, you probably make part of your money through your dealings with irrational customers, colleagues, or employees. The world being what it is, there are few ways to make a living without having to deal with some overbearing individuals. Your efficiency and happiness will depend to a great extent on your ability to deal with this kind of persons.

Avoiding nonsense altogether is hardly a feasible approach, since no one can remake the world according to his personal preferences. Getting angry doesn't work either, since you would only create stress for yourself without improving anything.

A workable system to put an end to a pointless debate consists of admitting that you don't know. Saying words such “maybe" or “possibly” in a polite tone has the same effect. This approach is not a compromise with irrationality, but a necessary method of self-protection. Let me show you a few examples of what happens when you use this strategy against everyday nonsense.

[1] When someone tells you that the world is coming to an end and that you should be anxious and depressed, you can admit that possibility and indicate that you will start worrying when you actually see civilization fall apart.

[2] Should you get to hear that saving is useless and that you would be better off by living in the moment, thank that person for the advice and reply that you will stop saving when you have tangible guarantees that your financial future is properly taken care of.

[3] A similar approach can be used against someone exhorting you to read the newspaper every day, warning you that, without constant new information, you will soon lose your competitive edge. Remain serene and refrain from giving a snappy reply. Say that you take note of the remark but that you are satisfied with the effectiveness of your limited-information approach.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Riverbanksoutdoorstore under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]