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Does Arguing Do Any Good?

I hate arguing. And I love it.

You see, I like to be right, but I've learned what the cost of being right can be, sometimes. The act of debating someone can be so exhausting, and you may, ultimately, lose the relationship you had with the person.

Incidentally, I read this interesting post on the SAMBA Blog the other day, aptly titled, "Arguing". The author Al says this about arguing:

Arguing for the sake of arguing can be fun…if you like debate.

But don't be fooled into thinking it's a productive activity.  People don't change their minds in an argument, in fact they grow even more steadfast in their views.

It's a pretty succinct post, but I'll do Al and the other students of Seth Godin's Six-Month MBA program the courtesy of linking to the full post here.

The basic point of the post is this: Instead of becoming a master debater (yes, pun intended), invest your energy in mastering the art of persuasion. It's a fascinating — dare I say it? — argument.

I think that we inhabitants of the blogosphere (that is, bloggers, for those of you less acquainted with geek-speak) are especially prone to this — using the comments section of a blog post, for example, to debate a certain point with an author.

Instead of looking for opportunities to engage — to converse, to persuade — we often just make a bunch of noise. In the process, we may tear someone down — all for the sake or being heard or, worse, defending ourselves. (I'm sticking my foot in my mouth as I type this, by the way.)

I'm not saying that there aren't some topics worth debating — or defending, for that matter. But surely, we artists can think of more creative ways than to simply argue. It seems so brutish when you consider the myriad of alternatives.

Next time you feel the need to argue with someone, consider expending a little more energy to persuade her.

Ask yourself this: Are you more often convinced by someone who is a really good arguer, or someone who is really persuasive?