Stories I only tell my friends: The Power Of Belief-System

December 6, 2011

STEPS TO BUILDING A POSITIVE PERSONALITY – Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — mylittleblackpen @ 12:47 pm

step 13: discuss but don’t argue

There are some personalities that can be labeled as argumentative and that shows in their behavior and relationships. Arguments can be avoided and a lot of heartache prevented by being a little careful. The best way to win an argument is to avoid it. An argument is one thing you will never win. If you win, you lose; if you lose, you lose. If you win an argument but you lose a good job, customer, friend, or marriage, what kind of victory is it? Pretty empty. Arguments result from inflated ego.

Arguing is like fighting a losing battle. Even if one wins, the cost may be more than the victory is worth. Emotional battles leave a residual ill will even if you win. In an argument, both people are trying to have the last word. Argument is nothing more than a battle of egos and results in a yelling contest. A bigger fool than the one who knows it all is the one who argues with him.

Is it worth it? – The more arguments you win, the fewer friends you have. Even if you are right, is it worth arguing? The answer is pretty obvious. A big no. does that mean one should never bring up a point? One should, but gently and tactfully by saying something neutral such as “based on my information …” If the other person is argumentative, even if you can prove him wrong, is it worth it? I don’t think so. Do you make your point a second time? I wouldn’t. why? Because the argument is coming from a closed mind trying to prove who is right rather than what is right.

How to handle argument? The right choice is avoid it. If one wants to accomplish great things in life one has to practice maturity. Maturity means not getting entangled in unimportant things and petty arguments. What is the difference between an argument and a discussion?

  • An argument throws heat; a discussion throws light
  • One stems from ego and a closed mind whereas the other comes from an open mind
  • An argument is an exchange of ignorance whereas a discussion is an exchange of knowledge
  • An argument is an expression of temper whereas a discussion is an expression of logic
  • An argument tries to prove who is right whereas a discussion tries to prove what is right

It is not worthwhile to reason with a prejudiced mind; it wasn’t reasoned into him so you can’t reason it out. A narrow mind and a big mouth usually lead to interesting but pointless arguments. In order to discuss, let the other person state his side of the case without interruption. Let him blow steam. Don’t try to prove him wrong on every point. Never let him drag you to his level. Treat him with courtesy and respect; that will confuse him.

Regardless of the cause, the best way to diffuse the situation is to:

  1. Give a patient hearing
  2. Not fight back or retaliate – that will confuse the other person because he was expecting a fight
  3. Not expect an apology. For some people, apologizing is difficult even if they have made a mistake
  4. Not make issues out of petty matters

Discussion entails not only saying the right thing at the right time but also leaving unsaid what need not be said. Children should be taught the art of speaking up but not talking back. As adults we should learn the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable. The way a person handles an argument reflects their upbringing.

I learn a long time ago never be wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and besides, the pig like it.

Cyrus Ching

Steps to opening a discussion:

  1. Be open-minded
  2. Don’t be dragged into an argument
  3. Don’t interrupt
  4. Listen to the other person’s point of view before giving your own
  5. Ask question to clarify. That will also set the other person thinking
  6. Don’t exaggerate
  7. Be enthusiastic in convincing, not forceful
  8. Be willing to yield
  9. Be flexible on petty things but not on principles
  10. Don’t make it a prestige issue
  11. Give your opponent a graceful way to withdraw without hurting his pride. Rejection can be hurtful
  12. Use soft words but hard arguments rather than hard words and soft arguments

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument. His strong and bitter words only indicate a weak cause. During a discussion, it may be a good idea to use phrases such as:

  • It appears to me …
  • I may be wrong …

Another way to defuse arguments is by showing ignorance and asking questions such as:

  • Why do you feel that way?
  • Can you explain a little?
  • Can you be more specific?

If nothing works, it may be worthwhile to politely, gently, and with courtesy, agree to disagree.

step 14: don’t gossip

Remember, people who gossip with you also gossip about you in your absence. Gossiping and lying are closely related. A gossip listens in haste and repeats at leisure. A gossip never minds his own business because he neither has a mind nor a business. A gossip is more concerned about what he overhears than what he hears. Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves nothing unsaid.

Someone said it well: “Small people talk about other people, mediocre people talk about things, and great people talk about ideas”. Gossip can lead to slander and defamation of character. People who listen to gossip are as guilty as those who do the gossiping.

A gossip usually gets caught in his own mouth trap. Gossip has no respect for justice. It breaks heats, it ruins lives, it is cunning and malicious. It victimizes the helpless. Gossip is hard to track down because it has no face or name. it tarnishes reputations, topples governments, wrecks marriages, ruins careers, makes the innocent cry, causes heartaches and sleepless nights. The next time you indulge in gossip, ask yourself:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it kind and gentle?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Am I spreading rumors?
  • Do I say positive things about others?
  • Do I enjoy and encourage others to spread rumors?
  • Does my conversation begin with, “Don’t tell anyone?”
  • Can I maintain confidentiality?

Refrain from indulging in gossip. Remember, small talk comes out of big mouths

step 15: turn your promises into commitments

What is the difference between a promise and a commitment? A promise is a statement of intent. A commitment is a promise that is going to be kept no matter what. In the no matter what; I exclude illegal and immoral things. Commitment comes out of character and leads to conviction. Can you imagine what kind of a world it would be if no one made a commitment to one another? What would happen to relationships between?

  • Spouses?
  • Employers and employees
  • Parents and children
  • Students and teachers
  • Buyers and sellers

Uncommitted relationships are pretty shallow and hollow. They are a matter of convenience and are temporary. Nothing lasting has ever been created without commitment. Commitment says, “I am predictable in the unpredictable future”. Many people confuse commitment with confinement. That really is not true. Commitment does not take away freedom; it actually gives more freedom because it gives a sense of security.

The most important commitment we ever make is to our values. That is why it is imperative to have the right value system. For example, if I committed myself to support a leader who later becomes a drug dealer, do I continue my commitment? Not at all. Commitment leads to enduring relationships through thick and thin. It shows in a person’s personality and relationships.

step 16: be grateful but do not expect gratitude

Gratitude is a beautiful word. We must be thankful. Gratitude is a feeling. It improve our personality and builds character. Gratitude develops out of humility. It is a feeling of thankfulness towards others. It is conveyed through our attitude towards others and reflects in our behavior. Gratitude does not mean reciprocating good deeds because gratitude is not give and take. A good deed cannot be canceled by a counter act. Things such as kindness, understanding, and patience cannot be repaid. What does gratitude teach us? It really teaches us the art of cooperation and understanding. Gratitude must be sincere. A simple thank-you can be gracious. Many times we forget to be thankful to the people closest to us, such as our spouse, our relatives, our friends. Gratitude would rank among the top qualities that form the character and personality of an individual with integrity. Ego stands in the way of showing attitude. A gracious attitude changes our outlook in life. With gratitude and humility, right actions come naturally.

Gratitude ought to be a way of life, something which we cannot give enough of. It can mean a smile, or a thank-you, or a gesture of appreciation. Think of your most precious possessions. What makes them special? In most cases, the gift is less significant than the giver. Seldom are we grateful for the things we already possess.

Think back and try to recall the people who had positive influence on your life. Your parents, teachers, anyone who spent extra time to help you. Perhaps it appears that they just did their job. Not really. They willingly sacrificed their time, effort, money and many other things for you. They did it out of love and not for your thankfulness. At some point, a person realizes the effort that went in to help them shape their future. Perhaps it is not too late to thank them. And it is time to reciprocate. Love requires sacrifice.

By the way – When people ask others to do something for them by using the phrase “By the way, can you do this for me?” they undermine the importance of doing or not doing. I have found that if we have to do anything for anyone it is never “by the way,” it is always “out of the way”.

This does not amount to doing favors from the doer’s perspective. If one doesn’t do things that can be done to help another person, then it is sad. But I am convinced that there is no such thing as “By the way,” it is always “out of the way” and it is worth it.

A Little Black Pen

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