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Win Through Actions, Never Through Argument

Any momentary triumph, which you think you have gained through argument, is a Pyrrhic victory: The resentment and ill will you stir up are stronger and last longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate.
THE WORKS OF AMASIS - When Apries had been disposed in the way I have describe, Apries came to the throne. He belonged to the district of Sais and was a native of the town called Siuph. At first, the Egyptians were inclined to be conteptuous, and did not think much of him because of his humble and undistinguished origin; but later on, he cleverly brought them to heel, without having recourse to harshmeasures. Amongst his innumerable treasures, he had a gold foot-bath, which he and his guests used on ocassion to wash their feet. This he broke up and with the material had a statue made to one of the gods, which he then set up in what he thought was the most suitable spot in the city. The Egyptians, treated it in profound reverence, and as soon as Amasis heard of the effect it had upon them, called a meeting and revealed the fact tha the revered statue was once a foot-bath, in which he had washed his feet, pissed and vomited. He went on to say that his own case was much the same, in that once he had been an ordinary person and now he was their king; so that just as they had come to revere the transformed foot-bath so they had better pay honor and respect to him. In this way, the Egyptians were persuaded to accept him, as their master. Herodotus, 400B.C.

In the realm of power, you must learn to judge your moves by their long term effects on people. The problem in trying to prove a point or gain a victoory through argument is that, in the end, you can never be certain how it affects the people with whom you are arguing: They may appear to agree with you poliytely, but inside they may resent you. Or perhaps, something you said offended them - words have an insidious ability to be interpreted according to the other perso'n mood and insecurities. Even the best argument has no foundation, for we have all come to distrust the slippery nature of words. Days after agreeing with someone, we often rvert to our old opinion, out of habit.

Understand this: Words are a dime a dozen. Everyone knows that in the heat of an argument, we will say anything to support our cause. We will quote the Bible, refer to unverifiable statistics. Who can be persuaded by bags of air, like that? Action and demonstration are much more powerful and meaningful. They are there, before our eyes, for us to see.There are no offensive words, no possibility of misinterpretation. Nobody can argue with a demonstrated proof. The proof is generally seen, never heard.

Sir Christopher Wren was Englands version of a Renaissance man. He had mastered the sciences of mathematics, astronomy, physics, and physiology. Yet, during his extremely long careeras England's most celebrated architect, he was often told by his patrons to make impractical changes to his designs. Never once did he argue or offend. He had other ways of proving his point.

In 1688, Wren designed a magnificent town hall for the city of Westminster. The mayor, however, was not satisfied; in fact, he was nervous. He told Wren he was afraid the second floor was not secure, and that it could all come crashing down on his office, which was on the first floor. He demanded that Wren add two stone columns for extra support. Wren, the consumate engineer, knew that these columns would serve no purpose and that the mayor's fear were baseless. But he built them and the mayor was grateful. It was years later that workmen on a high scaffold saw that the columns stopped short of the ceiling.

They were dummies. Both men got what they wanted: The mayor could relax, and Wren knew that posterity would understand that his original design worked and the columns wer unnecessary.

Imagine- THE SEESAW - Up and down, up and down, go the arguers, getting nowhere fast. Get off the seesaw and show them your meaning without kicking or pushing. Leave them at the top and let gravity bring them gently to the ground.

The power of demonstrating your idea is that your opponents do not get defensive, and are more open to persuasion. Making them literally and physically feel your meaning is infinitely more powerful than argument.

When aiming for power, or trying to conserve it, always look for the indirect route and choose your battles carefully. If it does not matter, in the long run, if the other person agrees with you - or, if time and their own experience will make them understand what you mean - then it is best not to bother with a demonstration. Save your energy and walk away.

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