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The 5% Rule – The Art Of Arguments And Debates

Learning to remain present and not get drawn into the right or wrong argument requires a willful intention to come out of the groove of an old habit. Typically, in a contentious discussion or argument defending oneself is a trigger reaction. We react defensively and then in turn blame or attack. This type of exchange seems mindless and bears little chance of success. Both people feel invalidated and the chasm between the two only widens.

Yet, even in the worst of adversarial encounters, there are a few charges that might make sense to us. However, our thoughts filter these out as we seek to bolster our argument and not detract from it. Having done so, we remain mired in the ping-pong match that takes us nowhere and invalidates one another.

I’ve developed a technique in counseling that at times is effective in transcending this problem. I request that while the other person is talking, you search for however small a percentage of what they are saying that you might agree with. Even if you disagree with the vast majority of their protestations, you can ordinarily find some small content that you might begrudgingly concur with. Rather than refuting the 95%, try acknowledging the 5%. The results can be astonishing.

Rather than refuting the 95%, try acknowledging the 5%. The results can be astonishing.

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