Argument – a Waste of Time and Energy?

photo by papercuts
photo by papercuts

Have you ever been in a group discussion, disagreed with what someone is saying and felt a burning desire to ‘show them the light’? If so – and assuming you acted upon it – how did they respond?

I’m willing to guess not well. People are naturally distrustful of words, they are defensive and stubborn. Beliefs are shaped by experience and can harden into conviction. While your goal might be to influence someone to your school of thought, by arguing you may inadvertently be hardening their resistance.

On the surface, people may appear to agree with you, or at least listen to what you say. The reality is they are probably humouring you or waiting for their turn to speak. Argument is not an effective tool for influence and can have the negative effect of leaving you frustrated.

Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

If arguing doesn’t work, then how do you change someone’s mind?

First of all, be careful not to totally discount argument. Circumstances may arise when arguing can be beneficial, you may even consider intentionally losing an argument as a means of influence.

When you let someone else win an argument, often you both end up winners.
Richard Carlson

People need to come to their own conclusions

The single most effective method for influencing someone’s behavior is to lead them down a path in which they make their own decision. If they believe they came up with the idea themselves, the more successful you have been.

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Free groceries, anyone?

photo by said&done

When I was 17 I used to work in a supermarket on the checkouts. Occasionally an item wouldn’t scan properly and it would need to be rescanned.

I decided any customers that I liked, that greeted me warmly or were a hot girl, would not get their items rescanned. That I would pretend not to notice, effectively giving the item to them for free.

Warning bells

With so many beeps going off in front and behind you I quickly learned that the way not to get caught was to pretend not to notice miss-scanned items. The store security looking out for dodgy behavior from checkout operators couldn’t distinguish the beeps (or lack of) and would rely on reading the people and looking for nervous behavior.

I recall one girl in particular; she had a warm smile and was pleasantly engaging. I liked her immediately. For some reason an unusually high number of items were not scanning correctly.

And she noticed.

When she noticed, she looked me directly in the eyes; I could read the question on her face but waited to see if she would say anything.

She knew I was doing it on purpose.

I knew that she knew.

Neither of us said a word.

I’m no different from everyone else; there are people everywhere in positions with some responsibility making whimsical decisions simply based on how they feel about you.

Do you take the time to smile and say hello? You may get some free groceries.

Want to leak a secret and not get caught?

Wikileaks is developingan uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking

Photo by Zara
Photo by Zara

and analysis.

Wow. This is an example of how the Internet changes everything. For so long we have lived with the belief that one man cannot make any real change.

We may say to ourselves; sure, Malcom X made a difference, Ghandi changed the world, but these kind of people are fanatics. They devote their lives to change, what can I really do?

With the advent of the Internet, the sudden overwhelming availability of information, one person can make a difference. Wikileaks is a great example of a group of driven, intelligent and Internet savvy people collaborating towards achieving a specific goal.

They want to stick it to the man

We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. Continue reading

The 5 Barriers to Personal Growth on Company Time – Part 5: Don’t Tell Anyone. Ever.

Baby with a secret 

Photo by gadgetgirl 

Part 1: Why you need to look out for number one

Part 2: Don’t work too fast

Part 3: Let the details tell the story

Part 4: Deflect envy

For my final instalment for this series I want to talk about letting people know what you’re upto. At work there are lots of great people around that I like and trust that I am dying to tell about my blog or reveal that I’ve spent the whole day sitting at my desk reading a book. I want them to know how clever and cunning I am.

But I’m not going to.

Why I here you ask. If I trust these people then surely it’s ok to let them know? Unfortuatly it’s just not worth the risk, people love to talk and a secret can soon become gossip. Also I’ve told one friend before that I fully trust and swore him to secrecy only for him to pass me in the canteen asking in a full volume voice ‘Yo Jackmo! Busy day updating your website today bro?’ Continue reading

The 5 Barriers to Personal Growth on Company Time – Part 4: Deflect Envy

The green eyed monster! 

 Photo by mmlobster

The people in your direct proximity are your biggest danger of being discovered slacking, be it on purpose or inadvertendly. You cannot hold it against people for revealing your true game plan, they may not share the same beliefs as you. That energy is better spent learning from your mistakes and devising methods to fly under the radar.

When someone has it much easier then you it’s natural to feel envious. It raises all sorts of ugly and confrontational questions such as; Why do they have it easy and I don’t? Are they better then me? Am I getting a raw deal?

If it gets to the point that these questions are being asked then it’s already too late. As a successful Productive Slacker you need to wise to the beginning signs of envy. Recognising it will allow you to take steps to deflect it. Continue reading

The 5 Barriers to Personal Growth on Company Time – Part 3: Let Details Tell The Story

Let the details tell the story

Photo by lesec 

So far we’ve established that you need to look after number one and discussed the importance of not working too fast.

In this post, I’ll be talking about the perception of being busy and how it’s all in the details.

“Why do the Yankees always win? The other team can’t stop looking at the pinstripes.”

Frank Abegnale

Having read the previous two posts, you may be thinking; it’s all very good to say we should spend half our time working on personal growth and pursing our own interests on the company clock but what happens if I get caught?

A very valid question. Obviously the methods for actually achieving this need to be given considerable thought because being caught could have serious potential consequences. Continue reading

The 5 Barriers to Personal Growth on Company Time – Part 2: Don’t Work Too Fast

time is on my side

Photo by littledan77

If you don’t have seem to get enough time to earn and living and do the things that you like then you’re working too hard. You owe it to yourself to spend as much time as possible on fulfilling your needs on the company’s clock. So far I’ve covered:

Why You Need To Lookout for Number One. In this post, I’ll be covering the second barrier to personal growth on company time: setting an expectation of how fast you can work and having to live upto it.

Barrier 2: Don’t Work Too Fast

People will base their expectations of us on their perception of what you have done in the past. Did you rush to complete that task in two hours of being asked to do it or did you say that you’d complete it by tomorrow?

Understand: you have direct control over how people perceive you, by setting a high expectation for yourself, any future tasks you do may be considered ‘late’ or ‘slack’ if you’ve taken longer then the time people expected you to take. Continue reading

The 5 Barriers to Personal Growth on Company Time – Part 1: Lookout for Number One

 busy bee

Photo by frankeys creation
  • Would you like to work half your hours but still receive all your pay?
  • Do you wish you had more time for reading books and catching up on your RSS feeds?
  • Do you have projects underway or in mind that you can’t find time to work on?
  • Do you work for a large profit based organisation?
  • Do you wish you could slack at work more but can’t figure out how?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you my friend, are working too hard. In this 5 part series I wish to discuss why you need to spend less effort working and more time furthering your own agenda, on company time. Continue reading