Tag Archives: arguing

10 Steps to Winning An Argument

"Wow, that internet argument completely changed my fundamental belief system," said no one, ever.


Step 1:

When someone tells you something you disagree with, recognize the fact that you’ve been wrong before. Regardless of how absurd their idea is, remember how confidently you once believed the things you now know you were wrong about. The same thing could very well be happening again.

Step 2:

Assume that if this person believes what they’re saying, then they must have a compelling reason to. You might find in the end that it’s not logical, but since it’s strong enough to influence them, there must be something to it. Find out their reasons for believing what they’re saying before you disagree with them. Press them to keep talking. Find out everything there is to know about the topic before criticizing it.

Step 3:

Don’t respond yet. Tell the person, “Give me a few minutes to think about this.” or better yet, “Let me sleep on it. We’ll continue this conversation tomorrow.”

Step 4:

Assume/pretend the other person is right. Block out your beliefs for a time and look at the world through his eyes. Imagine living a life where you walk around believing what you were just told.

Step 5

Consider their arguments objectively. Imagine that you’re a scientist in a laboratory where ideas can be stored in Petri dishes. In one dish is their argument. In another is yours. Take your argument and put it on a shelf. Then take their argument and put it under a microscope. Use logic to dissect it and study it independent of how it relates to your ideas.

Put your initial hypothesis about the outcome out of your mind. This is a clinical study where scientific truth is more important than winning. In fact, the only way to truly win is to arrive at the truth. Furthermore, disregard the source of the idea you’re studying. Just because the idea came from a source you don’t trust, doesn’t mean it can’t be true. The source has nothing to do with the idea. So separate the two for the time being.




Step 6:

Take the results of your scientific dissection and file them away. Then take your own ideas and put them under the microscope. Even if you’ve studied them before, the fact that they’re being challenged means there’s a chance you might have missed something. Consider where your ideas came from. Did you really adopt them because you’d done all the math and arrived at the conclusion this is the correct answer yourself, or did somebody else tell you it was true? Dissect your arguments with the scalpel of logic again. Be brutal about it. Get angry at your ideas. Hate them. Tear them apart with the fury of a lover who just found out your soul mate has been cheating on you.

Step 7:

Compare the results from both of your studies, understanding that the goal of the study isn’t to determine who is right or wrong. Arguments are almost never black and white. You could both be right about some aspects of the topic and wrong about others. The goal of the study is to take the good and bad of both arguments and mix them together to create the real truth. If at the end of the study you accept or reject the opposing idea completely, you probably did your math wrong. If you do find fault on either side, don’t throw the whole petri dish away. If an idea has flaws, then fix them.

Step 8:

If you want, you can present your findings to the person you argued with, but this isn’t necessary. This whole process was never a battle between people. It was really an internal battle in your personal search for truth. Whether or not you can convince the other person of your findings is irrelevant.

Step 9:

If you do decide to continue the argument with the other person, don’t worry about winning. Simply explain your findings to them, and if they don’t like it, then end the conversation. Winning an argument won’t do anything for you except stroke your ego, which is pointless. Only proceed if the other person is willing to learn.

Step 10:

Watch for personal attacks. Once either side throws a personal attack, the conversation is over. Dialogue has broken down, and neither side is listening objectively anymore. So you may as well quit. If you draw first blood, you’re probably the more closed-minded person. If you had logical reasons for your argument you’d be using them instead of calling the other person names. The more you make fun of the other person, the more of a case you build that you either can’t handle the truth or just like to fight.



If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


The Meaning of Life
How to Think Like a Genius
Knowledge and Learning
Biker Philosophy
My Tweets About Philosophy 

Why I’m a pompous, close-minded hypocrite who overgeneralizes things

Why I’m a pompous hypocrite

Most of my blogs criticize the flaws of modern society, and you can’t criticize society without criticizing people. So I point out a lot of flaws in a lot of people. This raises the question, what makes me so great and gives me the moral high ground to criticize other people?

Nothing. I have as many flaws as anyone, if not more. I just don’t care whether or not I have room to talk because I believe that saying what I have to say is more important than not being a little hypocritical. I would even make a categorical imperative of this behavior.

Nobody is perfect. Nobody even knows what a perfect person is. So nobody can criticize anybody without being a hypocrite. But if we never explore our flaws, we can never correct them. So in order to improve society, we have to point out its flaws. In order to do that, we have to criticize ourselves and each other. In order to do that, we have to be a little hypocritical. Cest la vie.

"Of course anyone who criticizes you is a hypocrite, but maybe learning something from people with more experience than you is more important than your arrogant butt hurt feelings."

Why I’m close-minded

There have been times in my life when I’ve refused to listen to other people’s points of view, like when I was a Christian and refused to question the divinity of Jesus and the Bible. I was also close-minded when I was enlisted in the military, and I automatically dismissed any criticism of the military’s mission, customs, and leadership. But eventually, I explored and challenged my own beliefs and admitted their flaws and moved on.

Now I find myself preaching to people I used to be like. A lot of the times, when they fail to convert me back to their way of thinking, they call me close-minded. If someone doesn’t agree with you, that indicates a possibility they might be close-minded, but you can’t just call anyone who disagrees with you closed-minded. The more you do that, the more it indicates you’re probably the more close-minded one.

I may not agree with you on a few things, but I’ve deleted posts that other people have convinced me were flawed. I’ve revised blogs where people have successfully poked holes in my logic, and I’ve admitted defeat to several people… who backed up their arguments with solid evidence.

Why I over-generalize things

It’s impossible to talk about anything without over generalizing. If I told you the sky was blue, you could say, “Not at night.” You’d be correct that I over generalized my statement about the sky, but I’d still be right that the sky is blue. If we took the time to explain all the exceptions to every statement we ever made we’d only be able to make 10 statements in our entire life. So I’ve decided to just overgeneralize and assume my readers have the common sense to consider the obvious exceptions themselves.

That’s not to say I don’t want anyone to ever point out when I’ve over-generalized a statement to the point of it being flat out wrong, but there’s also a point where anal nitpicking is just trying to find something pointless to argue about for the sake of being right about something.

"Some people miss the message because they are too busy looking for the mistake."

I don’t write editorials to stroke my own ego and prove conclusively how wonderful, smart and right I am. I write in a genuine attempt to understand this wonderful, painful, surreal world we’ve all found our selves stranded in. I’m going to keep trying to figure it out, and I’m going to keep revising my answers. In the meantime, I know people are going to keep accusing me of being a pompous, close-minded hypocrite, but I can live with that.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

My Goals
My Life Stories (in chronological order)
My Art

Don’t Argue With People Who Point Out Your Flaws


What would you do if one of your friends had a big piece of broccoli in their teeth that they were oblivious about, and the two of you were about to go out in public? If they’re your friend, you’d say, “Hey, you’ve got some broccoli in your teeth. You should pick it out so you don’t embarrass yourself, friend.”

Broccoli in your teeth is a metaphor for everything you do wrong. For example, growing up I went through a series of bad haircuts. In fact, it was pretty late in life before I ever had a good haircut. I had a lot of friends through the course of those haircuts who should have told me I looked like a waterlogged circus clown. My friends would have told me if I broccoli in my teeth. So why didn’t they tell me my haircut sucked?

We all know acquaintances, family, and friends who are doing something wrong in life, but we don’t say anything because it would be rude. In 2004, I worked with a guy who acted ridiculous, and everyone complained about him behind his back. I always felt guilty every time he made a fool out of himself because he didn’t realize it. Everybody else did though, and they were just going to let him keep on being a moron and keep ruining his life. Well, I couldn’t live with that on my conscience. So one day I had a long conversation with him about how he was making his life harder, and he needed to put more thought into the decisions he made.

He lashed back, demanding me to explain what made me think I was so great. From then on he was quick to criticize me. I’d made an enemy by trying to help him. And all the people he thought were his friends just kept laughing at him behind his back and letting him be an idiot. But I didn’t give up. There were a few times after that when he did something stupid again, and I said, “This is what we talked about. That was a bad idea, and you’re going to regret it, and when that happens, you need to analyze the situation and learn a lesson from it.” His stupidity always came back to haunt him, and he never learned a lesson…but he did resent me more.

It was ironic that he thought I was a prick, because I was the most honest, concerned, and helpful friend he had in that circle. It absolutely blows my mind the unwavering resolve people have when it comes to not listening to (or more precisely, thinking about) advice and staying stupid. I’ve seen this time and time again, even when people ask you for advice. You give it to them, they argue with you, do the opposite, regret it, and then do the same thing over again and wonder why their life sucks.

So do you think I was being a prick by calling out my friend’s mistakes? Don’t answer. It’s a trick question. It doesn’t matter if I was. He needed someone to point of the proverbial broccoli in his teeth by any means necessary for his own good.

Do your self and the world a favor. Embrace criticism. It’s better to lose face and look dumb for a minute than to be dumb for the rest of your life.


If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:


Growing up and Becoming You
Happiness and Peace
Drugs and Addiction
Achieving a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Leadership and Authority
My Tweets About Self-Help


%d bloggers like this: