“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”
It’s not so much what you say as how you say it. I am a certified instructor for teaching the DISC Personality Style to groups looking to better understand how to manage their behavior and to positively influence the behaviors of others. One key principle that I’ve become aware of when confronting issues is this – attack the problem at hand and avoid the pride at heart.
Perhaps an example will best illustrate this:
A husband and wife are arguing about getting the kids ready for school. One spouse tried to dress their 5 year old son, but notably mismatched the outfit. What’s the problem? The problem is that the clothes are mismatched, the clock is ticking, and the child needs to get to school so the parents can get to work. If the couple would simply focus on the problem at hand, it could easily be remedied – change the outfit, off we go. But there are emotions involved, there’s a time crunch, and instead of simply changing the outfit or subtly correcting the choice, one spouse shouts at the other, “You have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to raising children!” Or some variation of that comment. Now the focus has shifted, and it’s no longer about the problem at hand. It is attacking the pride at heart – you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re inadequate. You’re not enough. A blow to the pride. The problem blows up. Anyone been there? Do you see the difference between attacking the problem, and shifting to attacking a person’s pride? Now the entire scenario shifts, and simply changing the outfit will no longer solve the problem. There’s a bigger problem now, and the fighting escalates.
One of the fastest ways to a quarrel is to attack someone’s pride. It is a wise person who knows how to circumvent such an attack and focus on the problem at hand rather than the pride at heart. When faced with a problem, do you do your best to keep it from getting worse?