Misconception # 1. We confuse arguing with disagreeing.
Some of us argue because we perceive disagreements as
threats. We feel that it is our duty to reinforce our boundaries,
even though no one is threatening to cross them. In this way, we
start arguments by prematurely assuming we are already in them.
We could instead learn to realize that the threat is only
perceived, and that the strong feelings we feel are simply the
result of having our views opposed. Those feelings come from
inside us, and nowhere else. The person we feel provoked by
may simply be peacefully disagreeing, and we can allow him to
disagree without choosing to argue with him.
Misconception # 2. We confuse arguing with decision making.
A lot of us argue because we think that if we can beat a
person in an argument, we will be granted the final decision-
making power in a matter. However, there is a huge difference
between arguing and decision making. The truth is that most
decisions aren’t really made during arguments, nor, as the direct
result of winning an argument. Arguing, if anything, only keeps
us from seeing the real issues at hand.
Those issues become clearer to us once the dust of battle
has settled, and we’re finally no longer motivated by a desire to
win, but rather, by the good senses we return to when we aren’t
engaged in battle. This is where many of us even change our
minds, seeing that we were wrong, or that our options were other
than we had originally thought, and we must rethink our
Misconception # 3. We confuse arguing with standing up for
A lot of us argue because we feel that our beliefs are
riding on whether or not we are able to successfully defend them.
However, this is not true. Our beliefs don’t depend on our
arguments being won.
The unseen truth here is that we can still keep our beliefs
while dropping out of an argument completely. Because,
remember… arguing itself doesn’t really achieve anything. We
can argue all we want that it’s noble to feed the homeless, but the
homeless don't actually get fed by our debate. They’re fed only
when we give them food. So, if you surrender during your
argument, it doesn’t mean that you’ve surrendered the belief you
were fighting for.
Misconception # 4. We confuse arguing with persuading.
A lot of us feel that we must argue in order to be
persuasive. However, this is usually untrue as well. In fact,
something of the opposite is even true – that the opposition of an
argument can actually polarize us further in our own ways of
When we argue, we usually aren’t being open to what
the other person is saying. We are waiting for our chance to talk,
which makes us into pretty poor listeners. Also, we’re under the
competitive pressure that arguing entails, removing our incentive
to see the validity in anyone else’s viewpoints.
Rarely are we so closed minded as we are during an
argument, or so stubborn and incapable of being influenced. If
this universe offers us a truly effective way of persuading, we
may only know one thing about it – that it’s not arguing.