Law 9: Win through your Actions, Never through Argument

48 Laws of Power

The lessons    Law 1    Law 2   Law 3   Law 4   Law 5   Law 6   Law 7    Law 8


Whatever triumph you feel you have after an argument is pyrrhic and momentary victory. The resentment and bitterness that comes after it lasts longer than the change of opinion your opponent had then. It is more sensible and powerful to get others to reason with you through actions even without saying a word. Try to demonstrate, and not explicate.

In life, everyone is right, and no one is wrong, it is all about the angle at which we see things. Every man believes that he is right, and words will hardly convince anyone; an arguer’s reasoning falls on deaf ears. When an arguer is cornered, he argues more and digs his own grave. The more you argue, the more you expose yourself

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Most times when we find ourselves arguing with superiors, we look stupid. It shouldn’t be a question of arguing with superiors, we shouldn’t even be there at all. Everyone believes he is a master in terms of opinions and reasoning. Therefore, you have to be careful. Learn to demonstrate indirectly the veracity and correctness of your ideas.

When you win through your actions rather than argument, you won't offend anyone, and your point will be proven. When you try to prove a point or have a victory through argument, you won't know how it affects the people you argue with. Even though they pretend to agree with you politely, however, they may loathe you or resent you inside of them. 

Even when arguing with them, you might have said some words that offended them. When arguing, you say some words which might be interpreted wrongly or based on the mood and insecurity of your opponent. The best argument has no solid foundation. Don’t be surprised that some days after an argument that your opponent won, you will eventually continue your former habit, just because you were not convinced, you only agreed for peace to reign.

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When an argument is heated up, everyone says anything to win the argument. Some quote books, unproven statements, and so on, but does that change anything. Our actions and demonstrations are more powerful and meaningful. The truth is that ‘No one argues with a demonstrated proof’. Baltasar Gracian says, ‘The truth is generally seen, rarely heard.’ When you try to demonstrate your argument instead of shouting it, then your opponent listens instead of speaking, they become receptive instead of defensive, and they are open to learning. When you literally and physically prove your point, you become more powerful.

When you are looking for power or trying to protect it, try the indirect route and choose your battles carefully. You don’t need to force people to agree with you instantly, with time, the experience will enlighten them and they will understand your point. At that time, it won't be important that you demonstrate your point. 

Many times, just save your energy and walk away. The See-Saw says, go to the arguers and you see you going nowhere fast. Come down from the See-Saw, show them your meaning without forcing or pushing. Leave them on top and gravity will bring them to the truth. Benjamin Disraeli says, ‘We don’t discuss anything in the society, we give only results.

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So when do we argue?

The verbal argument is also very important in the realm of power. It can be used to distract and cover tracks when practicing deception or caught in a lie. Therefore, people in such cases argue a lot to protect themselves. They become emotional just to dissuade people. They draw people into an argument and drive them from the issue into another thing entirely. Before you know it, you are no more on the topic you started, you are now on something else. Never prove a point through argument, rather, demonstration.

The lessons    Law 1    Law 2   Law 3   Law 4   Law 5   Law 6   Law 7    Law 8

credit: Robert Greene

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