When I was a kid, I would get scolded whenever I had an argument with my sisters. My mother always lamented that three girls was too much for her ears to handle. But despite all the scolding I got, I still argued a lot. And I feel that it has shaped me for the better, although my mother will probably disagree. Here are some of the benefits that you can derive from having a little debate.
1. You become engaged
Being opinionated is only possible when you have an opinion. If you find yourself being okay with anything and everything, then you might just be living life on auto-pilot. Someone once said, “if there is nothing worth dying for, there is nothing worth living for.”
2. You listen to the other side
A debate is not a one-sided monologue. Instead, it is a two-way conversation. Sure, you might be trying to convince the other party that your stance is better. But so long as you do not let obstinacy come in, you will listen to the other side, find out more about the other person and at times, you might even be convinced of the truth of the opposite stance.
3. You become more open minded
As mentioned earlier, listening is crucial to debate. And the more you listen, the more you will realise you do not know. Nothing is truly black and white in the world. And no one has the exact same experiences as you. By listening to another person’s perspective, you learn something about the world that you never knew before. And that in itself, adds colours to your life.
I used to think that a relationship will distract secondary school students from their studies, and their grades will go into a free-fall (ok, I admit it, I am a prude). But a recent conversation with a friend proved that this view was not absolute. My friend got into a relationship at the age of 14 and at that time, his grades were really bad and he saw the discipline master nearly every day. His girlfriend was the opposite of him—she was an A student. Because of the disparity, my friend started asking himself “if my girlfriend can do it, why can’t I?” In the end, he graduated top of his class and today he is an up and coming consultant.
Disclaimer: Having a girlfriend or a boyfriend is not the solution to your lousy grades.
4. You become more mature
Arguments may be intellectual. But it also has social implications. Before you get into a heated discussion with someone, always ask yourself, will that person agree to disagree? If not, are you willing to sacrifice your relationship with him/her just to prove yourself right? Also ask yourself, can you keep your cool when the discussion gets heated? Many a times, arguments reveal how bigoted we are. We might be stubborn, prejudiced, self-righteous for all we know.
5. You learn to protect yourself and other people
Edmund Burke once said, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” But how can you be sure that you will have the courage to stand up to evil in the time of need? Well, it is by practicing every day. If there is an opinion that you disagree with, do you stand up for what you believe in? Or do you choose to brush your disagreements under the rug and pretend that nothing is wrong? Confrontation may be uncomfortable at times but they are sometimes necessary.
But if there is one thing that naysayers are right about, it is that senseless arguments do not achieve anything. It only breeds ill-feelings and creates a divide. So a throwback to tip #4, choose your battle wisely. Do not win a fight, only to lose a war.