How To Live A Peaceful Life
The best way to win an argument is to lose
Last week, we talked about separating feelings from action. Sometimes even a momentary pause can bring clarity to a confusing situation.
This week, I want to touch on arguments, both how to win them and how to lose them.
Arguments are about demonstrating and accumulating power.
Not logic. Not righteousness. Not truth.
We engage in these power struggles on a daily basis with different people:
Our lovers and friends (and our friends’ lovers)
Our family members
Our coworkers and managers
Strangers (both in-person on online)
Here’s the thing: most arguments are stupid. They’re petty power squabbles masked as crusades of truth and justice.
On the surface, we debate ideas, but at the meta-level, we just want to exert dominance over others and experience a sense of control in a world full of chaos.
Unfortunately, even when we “win” an argument, we lose, because we’ve given power over our thoughts and feelings to another person.
Even worse, our thoughts might linger on the argument for days, weeks, or even years afterward. By making argument a habit, we allow bitterness and rage to separate us from peace and joy.
That’s why, paradoxically, the best way to win an argument is to lose the argument — by walking away from it entirely.
Quote of the Week
“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.” — Epictetus
Peace Proves Power
Power can’t be taken. It can only be given away:
People can threaten our lives, but they can’t force us to fear death
People can place us in prison, but they can’t cage our thoughts
People can insult us, but they can’t make us believe their words
People can injure our bodies, but they can’t force us to hate
When people rile us, they rule us. When we argue, we give others power over our peace. The thing is, people can only steal our peace if we let them.
So don’t let them.
Divorce your identity from your ideas
Insert a pause between your feelings and your actions
Forgive others swiftly and freely
Accept legitimate criticism
Apologize when you’re wrong
Humility, gratitude, and forgiveness help you cultivate peace in your life and prevent people and circumstances from stealing your power and controlling your thoughts.
The key to peace is to release your ego. Don’t seek the last word in an argument. Just walk away. Because when you walk away, it’s not your problem anymore.
That’s what true power is.
Question of the Week
What have you ever gained from winning an argument — either in-person or online? Can you even remember? Was it worth the price of peace you paid?
Live On Purpose // Die Without Regrets
Each Wednesday, I publish a 3-5 minute newsletter + video podcast that applies ancient wisdom to modern life.
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