Do What You Know

farmer I once heard a story about a farmer who had been farming for many years. He had a son who went off to college and after a few years came home with a degree in hand, and a head full of knowledge. He told his father, “You know, Dad, this farm would be much more productive if you would use the new methods of farming. These days everyone is using hybrid strains of seeds. There are better methods of crop rotation and contour plowing. Plus you really should be using up-to-date insecticides and fertilizers. And did you know most farmers are milking their cows three times a day instead of two.” He went on and on expounding the virtues of all the modern methods of farming. Finally his father said, “Now just hold on there son! I’m not farming half as well as I know how already!”

Isn’t that the way we are? We seldom perform as well as we know how. I’ve heard people say that “knowledge is power.” To a certain degree it can be. But in my own personal experience I find that I know a lot of things that I should be doing but I don’t. Just having knowledge about something doesn’t necessarily translate to the ability or power to do it.

Many times over the years I would tell my children to do their homework. Invariably they would answer back, “I know dad!” and I would say back to them, “Then do what you know!” It’s kind of a joke around my house because I have said that phrase so many times to my children: Do what you know.

How many self-improvement books have you read over your life time? I have hundreds of them! We probably learn ten-times more than what we ever put into action in our lives. Yet we keep buying books and wanting to learn more.

At some point it’s time to stop learning and start doing. We need to put our knowledge to use. I’m not suggesting we completely stop learning but what good is learning if we never use it?

Here is my suggestion: How about making a list of all the things you know you should do but aren’t. Then from your list choose two or three things and start doing them! You can read books, read blogs and listen to tapes and CDs till the cows come home but until you actually do something you are going nowhere. It’s time to take real action! At the end of the day, knowing the answer means nothing if you don’t do anything about it.

The Art of Winning an Argument

Argument

Every day we deal with situations where conflicts arise. People disagree with you. You get into an argument and it seems that the other person won’t listen to you. It could be a customer, your spouse, your child, your friend, your neighbor or your boss. A customer demands a full refund after the warranty has expired. Your husband wants to buy a new car when you don’t have the money. You feel you deserve a raise but your boss won’t listen. If only you could get the other person to see things your way!

Well you can! This article will give you a sure-fire technique that will help you win arguments and leave both sides smiling.

The main goal is to get the other person to see things your way

What does winning an argument really mean? Isn’t it essentially getting the other person to see things your way? You want them to agree with you, to change their thinking, to change their mind. If you have accomplished this then you have won the argument. The problem is we usually go about it wrong because we follow our natural tendencies to persuade. 

Why following our “Natural Tendencies” leads to failure

When we find ourselves in conflicting situations our natural tendency is to argue. It’s human nature to do so. It’s almost an irresistible urge. We want to conquer and beat our opponent down. This is natural for us and it’s WRONG! It’s wrong for one good reason: It doesn’t work!

High pressure causes a natural reaction to push back. No one likes to be told they are wrong. No one likes to be forced to do or think anything. No one likes threats. Our natural reaction is to fight back, to push back, to argue back.

“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

This is why criticism, scare tactics and threats don’t work. Tell someone their idea is stupid and they will defend it all the more. Criticize someone’s position and they will fight back to save face. One of the strongest urges in human nature is self-survival and that includes survival of the ego too.

How winning at golf and winning arguments are related

Years ago when I played my very first game of golf things didn’t go very well. I grabbed a driver and stepped up to the first tee. I swung at the ball with all my might. I watched it slice right into the nearby pond. Splash!

The swing felt very natural to me but the ball didn’t go where I wanted it to go. This happened again on my next few attempts. I was an utter failure.

Then one of my golf buddies proceeded to show me how to hold the club, where to put my feet, how to position my shoulders, when to breath, and so on. It all felt very unnatural to me!  But guess what happened on my next swing – I connected with the ball and it went relatively straight and much further than before.

Golf is hard because it’s not natural. It goes against every natural tendency. To be successful at golf you have to learn a very scientific but unnatural swing. The same goes with winning arguments. You have to learn very scientific but unnatural techniques. 

The scientific technique that works

The scientific method to win an argument is just the opposite of what we naturally do.

Low pressure is the secret

Have you ever noticed that when someone tells you, “You can’t do that,” you have an uncontrollable urge to do it anyway? Have you ever noticed when someone tells you “You have to do so and so,” that your automatic reaction is, “Oh no I don’t!”

Scientific research has verified it over and over. Study after study has revealed that efforts to sway thinking or change behavior using high pressure, threats or force simply don’t work. Yet those people who were presented with unemotional facts, without any pressure, were much more likely to change their behavior or thinking.

We learn from the Bible:

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
— Proverbs 15:1

We must work with human nature

It all boils down to this: you must learn to work with human nature, not against it. To do so, follow these guidelines:

1. Approach in a friendly manner. Instead of coming on with an attitude or temper, use a soft voice and a relaxed state of mind. Smile and let the other person know you are their friend.

2. Listen to their point of view. Whether the other person’s side of the issue has any merit or not, allow them to express it and then LISTEN! People have a need to be heard. When you allow the other person a chance to speak it relieves a great deal of pressure off the situation.

3. Empathize with their ideas. Show genuine concern for their position. Help them feel that you understand them and care about their situation. People are more willing to see your point of view when they feel their point of view has been understood. This gives you a chance to present your own ideas in the context of having understood the pros and cons of theirs. 

Take the pressure off

To maintain an open channel of communication with another person we need to take the pressure off. Be friendly, listen to them, empathize with them. This doesn’t mean you agree with them, necessarily, but rather that you are open and willing to accept their point of view. Showing you understand them will take the wind out of their confrontational sails. Arguments aren’t possible when you pay close attention to the other person’s interests because it leaves only one place to go: understanding what you want.

Try it and see. You may be surprised to learn that your most powerful tool in winning an argument is to not have one at all – and this is done by taking the pressure off.

Cash in on the Universal Law of Human Behavior

blue-silk-tie-3pcs-349Let me start off by making a very bold statement. There is a law of human behavior that works every time. It never fails. There are no exceptions. It will work with rebellious teenagers, nagging wives, uncaring husbands, demeaning bosses, obstinate employees, or annoying neighbors. When you use this law you will get others to admire and respect you. You will get others to want to help you get what you want. You will convert your enemies into friends. You will get other people to do what you want them to do. Interested?

The Universal Law at work

Several years ago I had an experience that taught me this great lesson of human behavior. I had just finished a large software development project for an RV park and campground. It was a new reservation system and it required me to spend several days at the campground installing the software and training the employees how to use it.

One day as I was working behind the reservation desk a very large and expensive motorhome pulled up to the campground office. An older woman stepped out of the motorhome and came in to the office. She was an elegant and well-dressed woman. One look at her and you could tell she was a lady of class.

It wasn’t my job but since I was at the computer I offered to help her. As I pulled up her reservation information on the computer she stopped me for a moment and said, “Where did you get that lovely tie? It looks so good on you and matches your eyes.” She kept going on and on about my tie and insisted on knowing where I bought it. I was embarrassed to tell her I bought it at the local Kmart store. I thought she would laugh at me but no, she even wanted to know where the Kmart store was because she wanted to buy a tie just like it for her husband.

Now to you this may sound like some silly little incident that’s not even worth mentioning. It shouldn’t be worth mentioning except for the amazing effect it had on me that day. First of all, what kind of service do you suppose I gave that lady? Excellent service, that’s for sure! I made sure every little detail was taken care of for her. And for the entire rest of that day I simply felt wonderful and had a big smile on my face. Even now, over 15 years later, I can remember that incident like it was yesterday. And guess what, I still really like that lady!

Why does this law work?

So what happened there? What was it about that little incident that had such power over me? For Pete’s sake, a lady simply complimented me on my silly Kmart tie and my day was transformed! How could that be?

Whether she knew it or not, this woman used a proven law of human behavior. It is a law as universal as is Newton’s law of gravity. It is as much a part of man as his heart or his brain. It is this:

Every person in the world has a deep and burning desire, even an insatiable craving—to be liked, to be respected, to feel important.

The woman at the campground simply gave me what I craved the most and I became putty in her hands. I was ready to do whatever it took to satisfy her needs and make her happy.

Once you know the law, use it!

Now that you know what this law is, why don’t you do something with it? Why don’t you use this basic human drive in your daily relationships with other people? Once you know how to satisfy their longing for importance you will find your own influence with them rising greatly.

I believe in this statement by Les Giblin:

You want to make a good impression with the other fellow. But the most effective way ever discovered for impressing the other fellow is to let him know that you are impressed by him.

When you consider the remarkable consequences that can result from the littlest things, like a kind word, a pat on the shoulder, a smile, a tip of the hat, a simple complement, wouldn’t it be well to incorporate those things into your daily interactions with others?

You have the power within you

You have the power to give people what they crave: the feeling of importance, to be appreciated, to be noticed. Like the lady at the campground, it doesn’t cost you a dime to give it out. You don’t have to fear that you’ll use it all up. You have a never ending supply of it. Learn to use this great power and others will have a tremendous desire to help you get what you want. They will remember you for years with high regard because of how you made them feel. You have the power. Use it!