Two Wrongs Make a Right

This morning my kids were arguing about Friday’s plans with Grandma.

The older sister was trying to tell the younger brother Friday’s plan, and he was arguing back with his understanding of the plan.

“No! On Friday you’re going…”


Thing is… neither was correct!

And that didn’t matter, because the plans are still up in the air anyways.

On the way to school I like to discuss ideas of self-improvement with my kids. (Ideas like yesterday’s email to the PRL list, where a simple Thank You can build relationships, or that Obstacles will always get in our way and our job is to push through.)

On the way to school today, I told a story about two friends looking at some trees.


From her perspective, one person sees two trees. Her friend, however, can only see one tree from his point of view.

The two friends argue about who is correct, or more importantly in human nature, we tend to argue about the other person being wrong.

In this story, from their own perspective, both people are right — there is exactly the number of trees they claim to see!

Relativity, proven by Einstein.

Complementary Properties, proven by… other physicists.

We can both be right… or wrong!

However! No one likes to be told they are wrong.

People become defensive, they hold their position, they feel under attack. Their logical brain is short-circuited by their reptilian brain…

just trying to survive!

Everyone’s perspective, experiences, limited facts, and ingrained beliefs color his or her understanding of the world.

If you’re looking to persuade people, you must start where they are, with their understanding.

“Let me be sure I understand what you’re saying. You feel ____, is that right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

Now we can get somewhere.

Pacing and Leading

Think about a runner. If you want to be someone’s running partner, you need to run at their pace. You need to understand their position, their limitations, their comfort zone.

Then you can lead. Any only then. When they feel that you understand their position, that’s when can you lead people to a new, wider understanding.

But here’s the kicker. Most of the things my kids argue about, most of the things most people argue about… aren’t important or impactful anyway!

If you really want to influence someone, Pacing and Leading is extremely helpful. But people won’t be lead by someone they have a bad history with. Building rapport today will help your influential self tomorrow.

Minimize your disagreements. Everyone has their own perspective, and the energy you spend arguing says more about your need to prove others wrong than it says about the other person’s position.

Sometimes, it’s ok to let people be wrong…

PS If you’re wondering how to build rapport and how to get information to help Pace people, my free eBook is available to people on our PRL email list! Sign up now and ask for your copy of The Easy Way to Start a Conversation — and I’ll send it your way, stat!