One of the most effective methods of Winning Without Intimidation is to feel assured that when you offer an opinion, it is based on fact as opposed to conjecture. Based on proof as opposed to prejudice; knowledge as opposed to bias. And, logic as opposed to emotion.
Too often, we (at least I) offer opinions without nearly enough knowledge, but imagine it to be so. This challenge doubles when in discussion with another person who is doing the same thing.
Napoleon Hill, author of the classic, Think and Grow Rich said “most opinions are without value because they are based on bias, prejudice, intolerance, guesswork, hearsay evidence, and out and out ignorance.” He went so far as to say that those opinions represent the source of most of the tragedies in life which people meet with unnecessarily. Although I “don’t know for sure” :-), I’m inclined to agree.
In his audio program, “The Science of Personal Achievement” Dr. Hill taught that we should rid ourselves of the habit of “expressing, or even having opinions not based on something more substantial than biases, prejudices and emotional feelings, which often serve as fodder to facts.”
He opined that the more successful one is, the less inclined he or she is to offer wild, unjustified opinions about anything. On the other hand, the less successful a person was, the more they seemed to have an opinion about that which they obviously knew little about.
Based on my experiences, I find his thoughts in this regard to be entirely on the mark.
One example of an answer he received which gave him much delight was the time he stopped a Quaker on a Philadelphia street in order to ask him the time. According to Dr. Hill, the wise gentleman took out his watch, examined it carefully and, in a slow, emphatic tone of voice, replied: “Well sir, according to this ‘alleged’ time piece, it ‘appears’ to be ‘approximately’ one minute and ten seconds past 12:00.”
Dr. Hill was impressed with the way the man identified the source of his information. He often thought how beneficial it would be if all people who express opinions or give out information would take the time to identify the source from which they were able to speak.
Now, you and I might think that was a just a tad extreme. And, sure, it would seem to be. Still, the lesson is there, isn’t it? Know from where we are getting our information and, while we’re at it, don’t hesitate to gently communicate the source.
Next article, we’ll reverse this theme and look at options for when the other person opines without having the facts behind them.