148. You will gain your point better by moderation than anger.
Wise words from Publius for a Friday morning. When making a point about which we feel passionately, it is easy to let our emotions get in the way. But we can make our point more effectively by keeping a clear head.
It is helpful to try and get inside someone else’s head and see things from their perspective. By seeking first to understand, then to be understood, we increase the likelihood of making our point and gaining someone over to our side. By first seeking to understand another’s viewpoint, we also keep a cooler head and don’t blurt out any rash statements in the heat of the moment.
Once we truly understand what the other person is saying, and if we know the frame from which they’re operating, we can craft a path forward to make our point. And many times, this won’t involve logic or require cogent reasoning. Humans are emotional creatures, who by and large make decisions based on emotion. We only delude ourselves into thinking we are rational beings all the time. And to make a point based on emotion is not necessarily to show anger — we can keep a level head and be moderate, as Publius recommends, while still appealing to another’s emotions.
The topic of persuasion is one on which we’ve just scratched the surface — and there are some really good resources out there. We’ll have more to say in the future for sure, but for now here are a couple of excellent resources which have been instrumental in my thinking on the subject:
- Influence — the persuasion bible; describes the 6 weapons of influence, how to use them, and how to avoid being abused by them
- Scott Adams’s blog — collected musings by Scott Adams, famous cartoonist, author, and political pundit
For now, remember to stay calm and keep a cool head when looking to make a point. You will be much more likely to be successful. And if you are interested in learning more about persuasion, check out the links above. Some truly paradigm-shifting stuff there.
Until next time,
If you’re interested in following along at home, we have been reading and commenting on a book of moral sayings written 2,000 years ago by a Roman slave. I find this type of reading to be the perfect antidote for today’s age of shallow relationships and Netflix addictions.