I recently read a post on Johnny B. Truant’s blog that really hit home. So much so that I wanted to do two things: share it with my readers and 2) think on and write about each piece of his post. The post is “20 Truths About Life No One Wants To Believe” and the next one I am going to tackle is:
17. It seldom makes sense to try to convince people you’re right. I once heard Deepak Chopra call this as “the law of defenselessness.” It basically goes like this: Have your opinion, but release the pressing need you have to defend that opinion to other people. It’s fine to just believe something and not spend a bunch of time justifying your point of view, especially when the issue in question is just an opinion. (TIP: Most things — including those things you’re certain you’re right about — are actually opinions.)
If you’re trying to convince someone of something, you’re acting from Ego.
You’re acting from the small(er) part of yourself that needs validation. It’s, really, a form of needing to reassure yourself that you’re “okay,” that you “matter.”
Instead of defending, or even promoting your opinion, get curious.*
Find out why someone believes what they believe or is advocating a particular idea or solution.
Listening to people is like oxygen, once they feel they can breathe, they’ll feel safe. And once they feel safe they will open up. Then you can offer your thoughts and true dialogue can occur.
Stephen Covey’s advice here is perfect: seek first to understand, then be understood.
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* Of course, this isn’t universal advice. If someone’s view/ideas/solution/advice is toxic or immoral, don’t engage with it. Distance yourself from it immediately.