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Eliminate your Arguments!

Discover how to Disagree instead

I couldn't help laughing as I remembered resolving the argument with David, my boss, in London that summer's day. His reaction was hilarious. Although I could now see why he was being right, and stopped arguing with him, he kept repeating the obvious - that he's right.

Now I can't remember any of the particulars, but it had turned into a vehement argument, although we'd started out merely by disagreeing. I had said something, and he thought and then insisted that I was wrong.

Even once I had made the effort to understand his perspective, his arrogance made me decline to agree - he always insisted that he was indeed right. We eventually agreed to disagree and I climbed up the stairs to my much smaller office.
As I trekked up the narrow stairs, I thought about my obstinacy. and reflected on how arguments just waste both energy and time. Nor did I like the feeling. Although he obviously didn't see my viewpoint, since I now got his and understood why he was insisting it was right, why continue arguing?

A Couple of Minutes Later...

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As I got up to my office, I could hear the operator ringing the phone. David was not going to allow me any respite! "You're wrong and I'm right!" he shouted. His offensive manner almost convinced me to keep arguing, but I decided to take the high road now that I understood where he was coming from. "Yes, you are right," I said. He wasn't listening.
Angry Man Arguing on Phone
"You're wrong and I know I'm right because it's like this," he insisted. "I agree," said I, "you're right." He continued not hearing me.

So we went around the same loop a number of times until, eventually, he lapsed into a pregnant silence. It lasted for ages. "What did you say?" he asked. "You are right," I said yet again. Having thought about your viewpoint, I can see why you're right."

Once I stopped disagreeing, what else did he have to fight about? "Of course I am right, I always am" he muttered weakly, and yet again I agreed that he was.

In retrospect, it's even more hilarious than when it happened. Once I had stopped disagreeing with him, he was right off balance. I stopped arguing once I'd put in the effort and understood where he was coming from. Then I became willing for him to know that.

Why Argue, since it Makes You Feel Bad?

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Arguments generally leave you feeling bad, which is a good reason to eliminate this common form of self sabotage. And eliminating them is indeed possible, it's actually very simple. Which is not to say it's easy.
Do you think that simple and easy means the same thing, and confound the two. In fact, there is no correlation between simple and easy. Simple and easy are just not related. How come?

Just think of stopping smoking. This is actually so very simple! How so? Here's
how to stop smoking: - just never, never, ever put another cigarette in your mouth! What could be simpler?

Most people find this very difficult, although doing this, or rather not doing this, is extremely simple! Such confusion between things so er.. simple as simple and easy is a very common - though often ignored form - of self sabotage.

What is an Argument?

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Arguments happen when you decide the other person is wrong. When you both insist the other is wrong. Which is usually when you think you're right.

Do you ever insist that you're right, ignore her perspective and try to persuade her she's wrong? Your closed-minded self sabotage creates tremendous problems. Have you ever sabotaged an important relationship, even with someone close to you, by insisting you're right. Then you're both unhappy.

So why do it? The reason is simple: you think you are right! And, from your perspective, you may indeed be right. Yet she has a different perspective, and from hers, she also thinks she is right! The far more powerful question is:

Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?

Such vital questions may suggest that happiness needs you to ignore your truth, and accept that she's right. Or that you need to compromise in some fashion. Yet neither is true, they both perpetuate a simple misunderstanding!

Most of the time, arguing with someone is just a waste of energy. When she has decided she's right, she has chosen her viewpoint, as is not about to change it. There's a delightful saying which sums up the rigidity of this position:

Don’t confuse the issue with the facts!

What Happened with My Boss?

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Photographer getting a Different Perspective
What happened with David? He had a very different perspective than me on the issue. I hadn't understand his context and he hadn't understand mine.

Since David is a different person, with different aspirations, goals, and values, as well as very different experiences and teachings, of course he has very different viewpoint. And his viewpoint, along with his beliefs, is what is so for him. This forms his unique perspective, and how can you disagree with where he's at? Of course he's right - from his perspective.

Mind you, these things are very different for me. Which makes my viewpoint right as well for me. Both of us were right.

The Real Problem

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When you disagree, your self sabotage mechanism will give you the thought that 'I am right' also means 'YOU are wrong.' Since you were insisting you are right, you thought this also meant he is wrong. Yet does it actually mean this? Could it instead mean that you don't understand his thinking?

This is a far more powerful viewpoint - it puts the power back in your hands. It simply means that you
lack understanding, you should put some effort into appreciating his perspective.

So invest some energy into making sure you understand his viewpoint. Then there will be no argument, because he will have convinced you that he is right! And you agree with him, from where he stands, he is right. But his perspective is different from yours...

His perspective may be very limited, yet yours is as well. Hopefully less, but limited nevertheless. Once you realize that
context is invariably rather limited, then how to overcome your self sabotage is obvious, just expand it!

Don't Avoid Arguments - Eliminate Them!

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So hear her out, make the necessary effort to understand her. Everyone wants to be heard, and sometimes an argument is simply this unfulfilled desire. Rather than arguing, try responding along these lines:

That’s extremely interesting, I don't understand how you see it
like that, please explain it to me.

Businessman Listening Stops the Argument
Now listen attentively. You want to let her know she's being heard, and engages her in interesting conversation. Most importantly, you'll probably learn something. Sometimes it makes even more sense to modify your viewpoint and become more effective, a higher perspective with more power. And more effectiveness is crucial for better results!

Once you understand her position is absolutely right (for her, but not necessarily for you) then you agree with her. If you were in her shoes, with her exact same context, of course you'd think the same. She thinks she is right - and so do you. Yet
your self sabotage mechanisms want you to argue!

This doesn't mean she will stop arguing with you. It's of no concern whether or not she bothers to appreciate your viewpoint. Many people have
being right is of paramount importance. Yet if overcoming self sabotage is what you want, rather gain the extra power available in her different perspective.

So even when ONLY you are willing to listen to her viewpoint, BOTH of you win. You increase your understanding, and she feels better because you've listened to her.

This isn't a compromise, it's appreciating her perspective. A compromise will often leave both of you unhappy, and does little for the long term. Arguments rarely happen when you are willing to carefully
listen to her viewpoint and avoid making her wrong. This takes only one person. You.

My Original Perspective

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How do I know all this? In my youth, I used to argue. If I disagreed with someone about what he had said, then I would try and persuade him I was right. This, of course, meant that I was uninterested in his thoughts, I just wanted him to agree with mine.

I can’t tell you how many painful experiences I've had before stopping my self sabotage and realizing that just because we don’t agree, this just means you have another, different perspective.

Yet this does not mean you avoid arguments. Avoidance is not a particularly powerful strategy. Portia Nelson’s book, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, has a spectacular insightful poem:

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Avoidance is Portia's Chapter Four - walking down the same street, seeing a deep hole in the sidewalk and walking around it. Yet this strategy instead has the most powerful perspective - choose Chapter Five and walk down another street! This removes the cause of the argument!

The Reason Behind the Reason

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Ankle Blister Shows the Location of the Problem
Each argument shows you are not open-minded, you're not prepared to listen to her. And your rejection of being open-minded causes you pain. Yet where is the pain? In your head!

If a wound on your ankle hurts, you understand your ankle has the problem. If a bruise on your arm hurts, you know the location of the problem - your arm. Yet when the pain is inside your head, you reject the obvious and insist it's her fault!

Rather see that it's your perspective, your beliefs that are faulty, and that self sabotage leads to pain. So change your beliefs! Instead of saying we disagree, so she must be wrong, rather say to yourself:

We are disagreeing, she thinks I am wrong and I think she is wrong. This can only be because I don't understand her perspective.

Your rejection, your dislike of her perspective says that you don't really understand it. Then life bring you the ideal situation for you to overcome this problem in the way you think. The same situation, often with the volume turned up! The seriousness of each situation will increase the longer you ignore the message. There's a lot of truth in that wonderful French saying:

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
The more things change, the more they stay the same!

The good news is that the universe is benevolent. It doesn't want to cause you pain. Listen when the volume is low so your self sabotage doesn’t become more serious. When you refuse to listen then pain is another way in which life says: Pay attention! So don't waste pain, don't ignore it. Learn from it!

Remove any Cause for Argument

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There are good reasons for removing the cause of an argument. But how? By letting him know you appreciate his perspective rather than thinking he is wrong. His context is what it is, and leads to what he currently thinks - so it must be right for him.

Whenever you don't agree, you have several choices: to deal with the issue, argue, or ignore it. When you choose to ignore any negative emotions, you allow them to fester and may eventually sabotage your relationship.

Dealing effectively with it means finding out why he has his viewpoint. If it’s more effective than yours, adopt his. If, however, you see yours is more sensible, then he can choose either to adopt yours, or to be obstinate.

Whichever he chooses, you have
investigated the issue, and now enjoy a more powerful viewpoint. Even when you don't change yours, you're more sure that your perspective is good because you've examined theirs. Therefore, your perspective has been strengthened.

Whenever you investigate open-mindedly, the
truth is the winner, and then everybody wins!

Food for Thought

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"Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success."

Lao-Tzu, b 604 BC, Confucian philosopher

We fully guarantee everything. These time-tested secrets of success are delivered electronically - no waiting for delivery. Discover the truth about overcoming your self sabotage, stop reacting and arguing, find out why resistance doesn't work, and change your life.

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