You will never convince anyoneSubmitted by dwalters on Fri, 01/24/2014 - 00:06
Often times people become frustrated when others don't immediately agree with and/or understand their point of view - especially when the subject matter is dear to them. In many cases, the frustration first manifests itself through a noticeable sigh that translates to - "Here we go again." Consider your reaction to the following statement:
I don't like Ron Paul because of his racist newsletters. Blah... blah... blah...
If you haven't done so already, exhale loudly and forcefully.
The sigh - or whatever your "tell" is - prepares you for what your mind makes out to be an impending confrontation. The behavior has likely become an involuntary reflex and provides a good example of the subtleties in your persona that naturally impact the thoughts and actions of others.
Not only does the sigh put you in a defensive mode, it sets the mood of the other person as well. Your ability to have influence depends on the other person being receptive enough to hear you out. Good luck with that if you immediately provoke them.
Almost counter-intuitively, the key is not to defeat your nature - to train yourself to avoid the "tells" inherent in your personality. The key is to avoid the emotion - in this case, frustration - that brings on the behavior. The particular term for this characteristic is:
Unflappability - persistently calm, whether when facing difficulties or experiencing success; not easily upset or excited.
How does one become unflappable - particularly in argumentative situations? While not the entire solution, a major step one can take in the right direction is realizing that - You'll never convince anyone. People convince themselves. If you truly accept this principle, you'll avoid tons of frustration.
In the end, any person that does change their mind does so only after weighing the new information properly against his or her current beliefs. Some perform this task more quickly than others, but most people aren't going to drop their deeply rooted views on a whim in the middle of a discussion or debate. So, quite simply, don't expect it of them.
One should aspire to plant seeds. These seeds need not be well laid out arguments either - which most folks don't have the time and/or patience to listen to attentively, anyway. For example, suppose a cashier uses one of those markers to make sure your FRN isn't counterfeit - ha! - you could say, "Don't worry. It's fresh off the government presses."
In addition, good questions are a powerful way to communicate ideas. Asking questions causes the other person to actively engage in the conversation in a more thoughtful way - rather than remaining silent and likely all the while just waiting for their turn to speak. For example, one might say:
Is the government: A. Too small; B. Too big; or C. Just right? Why? (assuming B) What parts would you like to get rid of?
You might disagree with 99% of what a person likes about the State, but as a libertarian, I bet you can find common ground on the other 1% - and that's enough. I can almost guarantee that the logic they use against the 1% can also be successfully applied to the great majority of the other 99%. Through questioning, you can respectfully help other people discover inconsistencies without having to point them out directly.
Nonetheless, you'll never convince anyone. You can hope to provide input that will go into their decision making process, but in the end, people convince themselves.
If people find themselves thinking later about what you had to say, you succeeded. The rest is up to them. So, don't get frustrated.