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4 Unconventional Ways to Convince Others Easily

4 Unconventional Ways to Convince Others Easily

Maybe it’s your die hard conservative uncle, or maybe it’s your vegan friend who calls everyone who disagrees with him a murderer. The point is, everyone knows someone they just can’t convince to see their way. Dealing with these kinds of people is ridiculously frustrating!

For many of us, when we’re talking to these people we’re stuck wondering — how the hell do we get them to see reason? If there were some easy ways to convince them wouldn’t we have stumbled upon it by now? What if we could easily and compassionately show people that maybe they’re not as smart as they think they are…and that, in fact, their views are less developed than they might otherwise believe? Well — turns out that after all this time — there is a way.

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Here are the four steps to follow when trying to convince others:

1. Ask your opponent to explain the HOW and not the WHY

In a recent article on Business Insider, Drake Baer explained that the best way to make a debate opponent agree with you is to simply ask them how they would implement their views. The reason this works is because when people really have to take the time to think through their beliefs, then many of the “less thought-out ideas” become obvious, and are a lot easier to prove wrong. As they continue to talk they’ll increasingly realize that “Oh wait… I don’t know as much as I thought I did about this topic” and they will often adopt more moderate views.

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In some ways this idea seems kind of natural to me — after all, isn’t proving to your opponent the weakness of their foundational beliefs a key aspect to any argument? What this method does well is that it gives you a single effective question to force your opponent to show the logic behind their thinking. It helps to elevate both sides of the argument and gives everyone a chance to learn something.

2. Agree with your opponent

In my opinion, this partially ties in with a really interesting idea that Dale Carnegie touches on in his classic text How To Win Friends And Influence People. In the classic book he says that in order to convince someone in an argument you have to agree with your opponent. In some ways that is really just a continuation on the previous train of thought, because after all — if you agree with your opponent on a basic thing — then they are essentially obligated to figure out how the logic of their next point ties into the previous notion. Ultimately, as they start to further think things through they will be forced to entertain more moderate views, and become more open to seeing your side of things…unless of course you’ve been outmatched!

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The thing is — arguments usually become more radicalized when people begin to disagree. The more people disagree, the more they end up becoming convinced that they were right in the first place. By agreeing with your opponent and showing that you are not a monster who refuses to think things through, you are helping to establish your credibility. Once you have established credibility, then your opponent has to listen to you and pick apart what you have to say — giving you a chance to prove once and for all why you are right and they are wrong.

3. Present actionable points

This point may seem obvious at first but I think its apparent obviousness speaks to how hard it is to get right. In many ways this links right back into the first point — if you don’t know how you want to do whatever you are arguing for then your argument is essentially invalid. Beyond that though, having actionable points is a great way to convince people to see your way because it shows that you have researched the topic and know what you are talking about. Clearly, that kind of legitimacy is essential if you want to have any sort of success in proving a point.

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One thing I’ve found is that it’s better when you can find actions that have worked in similar situations. For example — let’s say you are a supporter of accepting immigrants to the U.S., and your opponent is a supporter of Donald Trump, and is trying to defend the idea of building some sort of wall to keep immigrants out. You could bring up the fact that similar attempts at sequestering a population led to extreme strife and ended up costing the state far more money tan they ever thought it could. The point being — knowing your shit is essential if you want to have actionable points people will respect.

After all, would you listen to the argument of someone who didn’t have any?

4. Be careful and respectful

To pull off most of these notions you need to have your own arguments properly set up. After all, even if you can prove that your opponent’s argument is invalid, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your side is any better! Far too often I’ve seen arguments crumble into people just hurling insults because they lost the desire to be careful with their points. Building off previous points, remember the following: If your opponent catches you off guard, don’t try and dismiss them. Rather, thank them for it and see if you can amend your position to include the flaw in your reasoning. If you prove that you can be reasonable your opponent will respect you all the more.

Let’s be real — arguing can be fun; many of you probably were in your high school debate club. It can be a good way to exercise your mind, but within all of us I think there is some desire to win. And by following this last point you can make sure that even if you don’t win, everybody will have a good time. No one wants to go in an argument that is intentionally hurtful or divisive. By following these points, you will gradually convince your adversaries to side with you while making sure that they don’t end up hating you — or becoming all the more obsessed with their own views.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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