It’s not uncommon for us to get stuck in a particular line of thinking when tackling a task or problem. It is very easy to just do it the same way everyone else does, or to apply a similar pattern that we’re used to. But sometimes it can be very beneficial to start looking at the task from different angles in order to find new and better ways of doing things. One way to do this is to start an argument.
It can be rather hard sometimes to identify our current perspective, to see the artificial barriers we have put up and the given path we are taking, that we don’t even question. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking:
- It must be done this way….
- This is the only way it can be done….
- You could do it this way but that would be silly…..
- The other way would be too much effort/complex/slow/etc….
A lot of the time we can be placing these barriers up without even realising it.
So we need a bulldozer.
A powerful bulldozer is an argument.
Now, I’m not talking about one of those polite formal arguments where you list the pros and cons. Those can be useful but they are really more of a toothpick compared to a proper argument. I’m not talking about going to the other extreme either, screaming at each other, slinging insults and possibly punches. That is more like dropping a nuclear bomb, you’ll make your point known but there won’t be much left after to work with.
It’s the middle ground that we are aiming for. Force yourself to keep cool, refrain from insults but stay passionate. The idea is to find someone who is similarly passionate but opposing your ideas or intended approach. Your idea is to prove your point but be mindful of what comes out, from both your side and their side.
The idea behind this is that you will discover a lot about your ideas and beliefs. They will throw arguments up and you will be forced to respond quickly and under pressure. Eventually the essence of your problem will come out. You will be led down a certain path of reasoning and all of a sudden they will trip you up. You will insist upon a certain approach but then realise you have no real reason why. They will do similar and bring up new points that may reinforce or break your ideas. You will say something in rebuttle and then stop suddenly and not believe you just said that. They will point out a line of reasoning that you didn’t think of previously. You will make a point and then in trying to defend it end up breaking it. You will discover what really drives you.
Now you need to go away and reflect, with a very open mind. You need to consider the arguments they produced. You need to think abou the arguments you produced. How did they hold up against each other? Did you find some things surprised you that you said? Were some of their points valid? Did they justify your reasoning? Can you see that you may have been wrong on some details? Can you now see the picture in a different light?
I have been very surprised over and over by what I have discovered in such arguments. I have had moments of epiphany both during and on reflection of arguments. They have changed and altered my opinions on many things and often been the inspiration or the catalyst for a rather large aha!!!! moment. They have helped me to clarify and strengthen my ideas.
Generally one of two outcomes will occur:
- You will believe you presented a valid argument for each point they raised. In this case your opinions have been strenghened and you’re probably on the right track (or you just didn’t pick the right person to argue with)
- You will accept that there were flaws in what you presented. (normally the more common of the two) In this case you now have a clearer understanding and possibly some powerful inspiration.
Either way you have benefitted from the argument.
One final note, always make sure you go back later and thank the person for the insightful argument and that you found it very beneficial.
Have fun and I hope you get many beneficial experiences from your arguments.