What Does Winning an Argument Actually Mean?

Winning an argument: The History:

A few months back I wrote a post for Letters to a Young Librarian on the very human tendency to dismiss other people’s viewpoints. In it I describe some experiences I have had on both sides of this issue and an easy strategy from Roger Martin’s The Responsibility Virus for pausing this counter-productive instinct. I won’t repeat what I wrote  here. The info graphic basically tells the story and LTAYL is a great blog you should check out. winning an argument

Winning an Argument: Does it Have to be a War?

I want to build on the idea of reframing your position based on a message I received from a former colleague when he read the original post.  He told me that it reminded him of the idea that a different way to think about winners and losers of arguments is that the person whose view does not prevail is actually the winner, because that person is the one to gain a new way of thinking from the argument. I’m not sure if this is where he found this idea, but there is an interesting and useful Ted Talk on that very notion.

And when we are talking about an argument, we are not talking about bickering. We are talking about an actual intellectual discussion in which there is disagreement. So the next time you argue, think about who the winner really is. I know that I would much rather have some cognitive gain than the satisfaction of knowing I am right.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *