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How to Win Any Argument

how to win any argumentI used to argue. A lot. In fact, I used to burn a lot of bridges. I let my pigheaded nature and lack of self worth get in the way. Since I wasn’t confident, my struggle for meaning controlled the things I did. Primarily, this meant that I felt I had to prove myself.

A friend of mine who is on his way to becoming one of the most successful people I know recently sent me the following message: “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sacrificed learning something by becoming defensive of my own knowledge and abilities and focusing on communicating those qualities versus actually learning from someone who was ahead of me.”

Of course, you are not always going to be speaking with someone ahead of you. But the point remains.

Why are you arguing? To defend your viewpoint. And why are you defensive? Because you lack self-worth and/or confidence in your knowledge.

You win an argument by not starting the argument in the first place. And you avoid arguments by increasing your self-confidence.

If you are confident in yourself, external factors will play much less of a part in how you determine your self-worth. Now, saying you want to improve your self-worth and actually doing it are two different things.

Building Your Confidence

Step one is understanding the potential you have as a person. When you actually realize how powerful you are, you’ll open up to learning more and trying new things.

Remember, it is only through accomplishment and self-affirmations that we truly develop our self-confidence. If you get better, you’ll feel better. When you feel better, you’ll be a better person.

It is ironic that the best way to defend your knowledge is by having more of it. The reality is, how you perceive your intrinsic value will reflect itself in your desire for approval.

It’s more than simply “not caring” what other people think. Frankly, I don’t like the whole Overly-Independent-Because-I’ll-Prove-You-Wrong mindset. Sure, strive to be the best you can be. But don’t do it for anyone else.

Do it for yourself

I was an argumentative person. I have come to the realization that:

  1. An argument never really accomplishes anything. All you really do is make the other person angry and ironically solidify their viewpoint.
  2. The only reason you are arguing is because you lack confidence and are seeking approval.
  3. I am not original.

Understanding Knowledge

This part may throw off some people, but it needs to be said. You are not original, and neither am I. The knowledge and opinions we hold so near and dear to us are for the most part a regurgitation of our environment. Everything you know, you have learned from someone, or something, else.

We are all predisposed to bias as we generally accept the opinions of those around us as the truth. We respect our family. We respect our friends. We trust them. Why wouldn’t we believe them?

Even when you draw conclusions about complex problems, it’s really just deductive reasoning through your amalgamation of adopted opinions. So if the knowledge isn’t really yours… why do you care about it so much?

We’re all struggling for importance. That’s the downfall of being a conscious organism. Understand that everything that you know doesn’t necessarily belong to you. Once you accept that your so-beloved opinions are not entirely unique, it becomes easier to let go of them.

In Conclusion

The more I grow, the more I realize that there is strength in understanding your weaknesses.

Being less knowledgeable than someone is not a disadvantage. It’s a chance to learn something new.

Understand that nobody is good at everything. We all start from zero and work our way up. Who you are today is not who you will be a year from now. Respect that and use it to your advantage. You will always be a beginner at something.

Build your confidence so that you reduce your need for approval.

Avoid the argument and you’ll be the real winner.

Businessmen arguing photo available from Shutterstock

How to Win Any Argument

Connor Ondriska

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APA Reference
Ondriska, C. (2018). How to Win Any Argument. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 20 Mar 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.