I was attending a banquet one night given in Sir Ross’s honor; and during the dinner, the man sitting next to me told a humorous story which hinged on the quotation “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.”
The raconteur mentioned that the quotation was from the Bible. He was wrong. And so, to get a feeling of importance and display my superiority, I appointed myself as an unsolicited and unwelcome committee of one to correct him. He stuck to his guns. What? From Shakespeare? Impossible! Absurd! That quotation was from the Bible. And he knew it.
The storyteller was sitting on my right; and Frank Gammond, an old friend of mine, was seated at my left. Mr. Gammond had devoted years to the study of Shakespeare, So the storyteller and I agreed to submit the question to Mr. Gammond. Mr. Gammond listened, kicked me under the table, and then said: “Dale, you are wrong. The gentleman is right. It is from the Bible.”
On our way home that night, I said to Mr. Gammond: “Frank, you knew that quotation was from Shakespeare,” “Yes, of course,” he replied, “Hamlet, Act Five, Scene Two. But we were guests at a festive occasion, my dear Dale. Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is that going to make him like you? Why not let him save his face? He didn’t ask for your opinion. He didn’t want it. Why argue with him?
De-briefing if this Story
The only way to get the best of an argument – is to avoid it. You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? Suppose you triumph over the other person and prove that he/she is wrong. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him/her? You have hurt his pride. He/she will resent your triumph.
It is not always possible to avoid an argument but whenever you can, avoid it.
This story can be used to share the importance of
1- People skills
2- Communication skills
From the Book “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie