How to Win an Argument

Posted: August 15, 2013 in World On The Edge

mouthWhen was the last time I argued with a spouse, child, friend, or business associate? What tactics did I use? Were they strong-armed with a my-way-or-the-highway feel?

When we argue—and all of us do at one time or another—our goal is often to break the spirit of our opponent with relentless words until he/she gives in. We use the bit and bridle, the saddle and spurs technique to control him or her. Mostly, because we want to get it over with quick, or we just want to vent. Venting is not arguing.

Attempting to break the spirit causes a lack of ongoing trust, and sometimes even fear. It can destroy the connection or bond we might have had with the person, when what we’re really after is that bond or connection.

Winning an argument can be done with no harsh words, and sometimes with no words at all. It can be accomplished with only touch and body language. Try getting down to the level of your young child. No, do not throw your own childish tantrum–but stoop to a squat where your eyes meet his. Open your arms as if to hug him or her and see what happens.

Try stroking a spouse, or a friend, while making your point in a soft and steady voice. Don’t attack your business associate with what he might have done better by using words such as “You should have . . .” And literally, don’t stand over him. Always assume the same posture as his.

Successfully winning an argument, where respect is sustained on both sides, is like riding a horse bareback–no paraphernalia in between your skin and that of the horse. No reins or bit. No bridle. And no harsh words. Only a very gentle feel, an emotional exchange.

The American Indians never broke a horse by breaking its spirit. They did not ride and ride it until it gave in. Instead, they handled it with care for many days, whispering to it, feeding it, and stroking it to gain its trust. Then and only then did they very, very gently get on his back.

The following is an amazing video posted on my Facebook page by a friend from high school. That the  girl riding the horse is deaf and mute, as the post claimed, has been disputed. Nevertheless, the undisputed point, here, is that she trained this horse to trust her. Watch her loving hands, the gentle pressure of her knees, thighs, and calves against the horse. Watch what the horse does for her. Yes, for her. Add to that, the fact that the father who taught her all these things has just died—-the reason for her choice of the background song by Tim McGraw, “Live Like You were Dying”—and you have lots of food for thought when it comes to winning in an argument, or just plain life.

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