Is it ever good to have an argument? When strong personalities clash or when intelligent people think they need to educate those around them, a passionate debate is sure to follow. I have had such conversations in my personal life, of course. And they have also occurred in my professional life. Some lessons are harder learned than others, but certain experiences can serve to drive a message home.

Several years ago, I got into a heated discussion with a friend (who happened to be my husband at the time.) We had finished our evening meal and during the course of kitchen clean-up, we got into a conversation that quickly escalated. I had just finished covering a dish and I turned with the plastic wrap box still in hand. I waved it around to emphasize my words. Apparently, my partner didn't like that too much and he grabbed the box, pulling it out of my hand.

Unfortunately, the blade part of the box had been pressed against the inside of my thumb as I gripped the box. With that pull, the jagged blade nearly sliced my thumb off. A trip to the emergency room ensued, as did several sutures and a tetanus shot. Of course, "I'm sorry" was said over and over again, by both of us. The argument we had been having was not worth the pain and medical bills that it brought about. I was insistent and was he, too. This is just one example of what can happen when minds are closed and there is no thought that the other person could possibly be right. I don't even remember what the quarrel was, it was twenty-two years ago for goodness' sake.

Sometimes, we so firmly believe that what we think or suppose is the only truth that we shut off the possibility of an alternate truth or other facts. Intellectual maturity comes more easily to some than others. We see examples of this in court rooms and in political forums, as well as in staff or product development meetings. Often times, we get so caught up in thinking about what we will say next, that we fail to hear what is currently being said. We fail to listen.

Wrapping your head around the chance that you might be wrong does not come naturally for most. I have learned that it doesn't matter how much I think I know, I certainly can stand to know a little more. If there is the slightest opportunity to expand my horizons or become further educated, why would I close the door to that? Why would I not want to further arm my brain? I see no reason for shame to be attached to learning or tolerance. Unless, of course, you'd like to counter that point - I'd be more than happy to listen.

© by rayannethorn

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Active listening is hard. It is something I have struggled with, but after years of 'not listening', I found that the more I listened the smarter I became. I do love to learn, so though there are times where I catch myself 'thinking about what I will say next', I generally wait until the speaker is finished, before I craft my response.

I am often wrong, and don't mind admitting it. When I am right, it seems that people are more apt to believe me, because they can remember times, where I conceeded the point to them.

Good post.

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