Arguing Is Pointless

Peter Bregman in the Harvard Business Review:

When I think back to just about every argument I’ve ever participated in — political arguments, religious arguments, arguments with Eleanor or with my children or my parents or my employees, arguments about the news or about a business idea or about an article or a way of doing something — in the end, each person leaves the argument feeling, in many cases more strongly than before, that he or she was right to begin with.

How likely is it that you will change your position in the middle of fighting for it? Or accept someone else’s perspective when they’re trying to hit you over the head with it?

Arguing achieves a predictable outcome: it solidifies each person’s stance. Which, of course, is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve with the argument in the first place. It also wastes time and deteriorates relationships.

There’s only one solution: stop arguing.

It’s true. Debate is one thing, but when discussion descend into an argument, it’s because both sides have abandoned any chance of a consensus. Emotion has seized control and the chance of any resolution is long gone.

Buddhism teaches that we constantly face a choice. Before we enter an argument, we are presented with two options; does one placate the interlocutor and offer up an “agree-to-disagree” get out, or does one allow the discussion to deteriorate into an argument?

I know I’m too often guilty of choosing the later, are you?

Via. Olivier Mermet