"NO PAYOFF" CONVINCING, PERSUADING, CORRECTING, TEACHING
AND OFTEN A NEGATIVE PAYOFF
"Stop trying to convince, persuade, teach or correct others...just smile at human nature...and then go do something with a high payoff in life!"
(You cannot and will not be able to have hardly even a blip of an effect on another person's path!!!!!)
Never try to teach a raccoon to sing. He'll never learn...and you'll only piss him off!
Which means: Have the wisdom to not engage in a discussion or debate where you think it is productive and interesting in an objective way, but where the other person could be possibly or likely emotionally triggered and unable to be objective. It is impossible, or at least hugely unlikely, to get a good result in such a discussion. Just let it go, unless it is of great consequence.
You are actually trying to exert "control" over the other person, probably for their own good and for your own good. We try to control having them be smarter and more effective in life, though we can, at times, be righteous about it. It's not that you are trying to create good - it is strictly about effectiveness: what is the effect and am I getting the effect I want? If you are not getting a good effect, STOP!
Humans are limited by all sorts of beliefs, fears, lack of knowledge, etc., but most are well-meaning and must be accepted as being ok as they are, for you'll not really impact that (unless you have delusions of grandeur in the unreal world of your mind!).
Accept that you will be misjudged or even resented or misunderstood at times, but do not try to correct it directly without good forethought and without it being important enough! That's tough and it takes judgment and estimation with something often unclear. But most often, just plain don't choose to go into battle, even if it is "right".
Do it very, very sparingly AND only when you have a good chance of getting a benefit compared to the possible cost of it!!!!
LOOK AT THE PAYOFF AND THE COSTS!
As they say in politics, don't use up your political capital (goodwill, being "owed") without a good, probable payoff. And, of course, don't use your emotional energy or time on low or, certainly, negative payoffs.
For myself, I had to let go of a political passion of what seemed obvious as to what made sense, realizing that my efforts would likely have no results. Also, the frustration of seeing people make logic and factual errors that would hurt their voting and then the country took my attention. And then the level of outright falsehoods in politics was outrageous. Why couldn't people see throught that?
But all of this was "just a conversation", with no real world meaning. Sure, there was great interest on my part and even passion for having people rise to a higher level. But it was all simply somethng I was mentally constructing, but something that had no actual real world result. There was no payoff.
And there was sometimes a negative payoff, certainly on my endocrine system, but also when I would try to convince or persuade another to my way of thinking. The disagreement or the questioning of the other person used up goodwill and "connection" capital.
JUST ABOUT "BEING RIGHT?"
It is exactly the effect of "being right", which ultimately is what it is. If there is no real world positive payoff, then it is about something else - and clearly it is about setting the world right or correcting other people. (Which, as Stephen Covey points out in The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, is fooling around in the outer circles of life and not in the center where you can have the most impact. See Concentric Rings Of Importance, Placing The Stuff Of Life In Its Right Place .)
And "correcting" someone is always something received as invalidating them in some way.
As I heard more and more "crap" in the political scene, I had the impulse to have to correct it, if not with others in my own mind and in writing, on one of the two websites I created and invested months of time into.
Unfortunately, other than one or two people saying some of the pieces were brilliant and/or very good in terms of facts and persuasion, I had to admit "there is no payoff!!!! Listen up, there is no payoff!!!"
And if I want the great life I seek to help others achieve, and I see being an 80/20 Person as being my destination, then I have to honor the process of operating my life by dealing only with the "vital few" things where there are high payoffs - and that means dropping all low (and, of course, negative) payoff activities.
MY PLEDGE TO GIVE THIS UP
I hereby give up my following of the issues, other than in basic awareness, and I give up all convincing and persuading, now and forever in this arena, as I refuse to waste my energy and capital on a no payoff proposition. I give up all the reading, monitoring, TV, and information gathering, as irrelevant to my life. I will, instead, devote my energies to where there is a high payoff.
THE REAL PAYOFF OF "CORRECTING"
If I correct what someone says (or thinks), whether it is factual and objective or not, I am engaging in something that will likely have no or little payoff, but also have an alienating effect on the other person (if not also an effect of having them not feel good).
One of the "growing up" lessons is that we cannot control others and if we do, temporarily anyway, there is little change in how they run their lives - we don't have the time to cause any meaningful improvement.
So the wise person would just let people be as they are or do what they do and simply accept, with a smile and compassion, that that is just human nature occurring as it inevitably does - a big "so what", not using up any iota of my energy!
WHEN PERSUADING HAS A POTENTIAL HIGH PAYOFF
Of course, it may be worth it in some cases to try to persuade someone when there is a high enough payoff, but we must recognize the potential costs if it is not done in an effective manner.
Some persuasions need to be done in a "negotiating" win-win manner, as in William Ury's book Getting To Yes, which I used very effectively in a highly charged situation - and it even made things better!
And if things get dicey, it is often wise to use the Time Out Tool, one of the most powerful tools for getting one's perspective and cool back.
MY PERSON EXPERIENCE AND FAILURES IN THIS REGARD
This area has been a major area of foul ups for me, despite my "good intent".
I would follow it for awhile and then get lulled into the idea that the other person was open and accepting of at least some "discussion", but I was always wrong. A person sensitive to that will feel talked down to or might assume it means they are not smart (or as smart as I would like them to be; that is not true, but it is a natural thought) - and they will be offended or at least pushed away.
I must, despite the trap of thinking I will contribute something, sincerely, not engage in any of this without permission and the willingness of the other person to actually engage in "intellectual" reasoning and fact finding. Only when the person is truly willing and understanding that things are not personal and that we are only talking about facts and that disagreement on facts is not considered to be personal or a put down, then, and only then, shall I proceed. I need, however, to lean toward erring on the cautious side, to NOT engage in anything that is likely to have a negative effect, at all!
Only very seldom is it worth it or capable of creating a good result.
So, I shall as "a learningaholic" and a "reasoningaholic", restrain from jumping into the pit!!!! I shall stop, look, and listen and do my best not to engage in any of those practices that will create any ill effects!!
(Learning and reasoning and thinking rationally and straight are certainly very good traits, but when they are injected inappropriately and non-fittingly into other people's lives they become the same as excess alcohol. I need to be able to be judicious, and control my inclinations, about when and how much I do of it, assuring there is no harm.)