Why disagreements happen has plagued our society forever. Most people think they happen because two people can’t agree on who or what is right. But what if I told you that agreeing only scratches the surface?
Have you ever had one of those disagreements with someone where you just knew you were right? You have so many facts and so many examples to prove your point, and yet the other person just wouldn’t hear it? Well, that’s because the moment anyone tries to convince anyone of anything, the subtext of that conversation is, “I am right” and “You are wrong.” No one likes to be wrong.
No One Likes To Be Wrong
Just think about coronavirus deniers… Some had caught the coronavirus and were hospitalized and their last dying words were, “This can’t be real. It’s just the flu.” They literally died before admitting maybe they held the mistaken belief. We all are like this to some extent we will double down and we will hang on to our beliefs whenever someone tries to make us out to be wrong. So how do you get out of those conversations? Because facts aren’t going to work. Instead try to understand THIER point of view and see if you can find a piece of common ground that you can both work from.
How Finding Common Ground Works In Real Life…
In the 20th century an alarming amount of teenagers smoked cigarettes. For decades prior people said, “Don’t smoke you’ll get cancer!” and, “Smoking ruins your skin and gives you yellow teeth!” And all of this stuff…. had no effect whatsoever until someone asked teenagers, “Why?” and what they found was that teenagers don’t like to be controlled or manipulated. And that was the piece of common ground because the tobacco industry was manipulating teenagers for profit.
So instead of launching all of these campaigns lecturing teenagers about the bad effects of smoking they instead focused on how the tobacco industry was manipulating them for profit and it worked! In 2000, 23% of American teenagers smoked and by 2018 it was less than five percent.
How to Make Finding Common Ground a Habit
Okay so now that we know why disagreements happen and how finding common ground works on a big scale this is how we’re going to make this a habit in our day-to-day life. Communication habits are just like any other habit. They consist of three different parts:
- Trigger : An event or reminder to begin an action
- Routine: The action you do when triggered
- Reward: What you get from the action
When it comes to disagreements the trigger is that you are not in agreement with the other person, and your normal routine is probably trying to convince them that you’re right. Instead when you find yourself in a disagreement, your NEW routine is going to be try to understand where the OTHER person is coming from and see if you can find common ground to work from. Then once you do that, your reward is that you have successfully turned a disagreement into a collaboration.
Give that a try and let me know how that goes. If you liked this and it was useful to you, sign up for our full course and practice sessions. You’ll not only learn how to navigate difficult conversations, you’ll be able to practice so you can apply these skills to your life.