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DateLine Sunday, 17 February 2008

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Know-it-all situation

"You will never get into trouble by admitting you may be wrong. That will stop the argument and inspire your opponent to be just as fair and open and broad-minded as you are" - Dale Carnegie.

Do you like when others say that you don't know anything? Probably not. Because you inherit that quality of " feeling perfect" as a human being. Naturally we like to show off that we know everything, though we really are not. It's quite impossible for a person to be jack of all trades. And most often we exhibit the quality of 'master of none'.

Some people, you might have met in life, are never ready to accept what others say, if they can't agree with what the other person says or rather they oppose it. They go on arguing and refuting other person's point of view. It turns out to be a cumbersome situation when you have to face it. Because that person is very adamant in his views and eager to prove that only he is correct and the other party is wrong.

This is okay and helpful, at times when different ideas are put forward. When I was in Grade 11, there was an argument between two bright students. They both wanted to emphasise that they were correct and didn't seem want to be second to either of them. The argument was about what the world's longest river is.

Sheron said it is Amazon of South America, and Winnie said it is Mississippi. Then Sheron turned around and yelled at Winnie " What did you say? Don't be silly, how come the world's longest river could be Nile.

Haven't you learnt it correctly in the primary class". Sheron seemed to be very confident of what she knew and wanted to show others that she knew everything. But Winnie never wanted to admit that she was correct. She remained silent while Sheron was disproving what Winnie said.

It ultimately became a headache to the entire class when Sheron kept on telling that little knowledge is dangerous and Sheron has to study hard in order to pass the exam and so on.

The monitor got up from her seat and fetched our history teacher and threw the questions at her. ' World's longest river is Nile of Africa, and the second longest is Amazon of South America". After the history teacher left the class, everyone could see that Sheron's face became flushed with embarrassment. She appeared to look like a fool in front of the whole class.

So what if you do face such a situation? How are you going to emphasise to the other party of your opinion or idea , when you're too sure that you're correct? You may not have to be embarrassed if your answer is not correct.

You just have to show off your smartness without bruising others ego. You can suggest that your answer may be wrong without looking like a heartless know-it-all. It is always advisable to say " You know, you're probably right, but I always thought that Nile is the world's longest river. Shall we ask our history teacher or shall we Google it?

By doing so, you can always avoid engaging in heated arguments and you rarely have to be the bearer of false facts. Plus, it is far more convincing about seeing a fact on a reliable source.

'So, be a good sport and look up, even if you're too sure about yourself, it feels like a waste of time. Who knows? You might find out you weren't as correct as you thought you were'.

When there seems to be an argument, if you decide to speak up, it is wise to start by admitting you may be wrong. When you avoid slamming someone for his or her ignorance and start by saying something like this " You may be right" then you can gain more benefit out of your talk.

Other person might think that you do respect his intelligence. When you admit that you can be wrong you pave the path for other person to do the same. You will protect yourself from potential humiliation. Don't you think that you will have to feel kind of lame if you find out you're wrong when you start by asserting that you're totally and unquestionably right?

It is true a few of us are right as often as we think. As Dale Carnegie said "You'll never get into trouble by admitting you may be wrong".

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