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Philosophy With Courtesy

It’s difficult to have a positive influence on people if we base our discussions with them on the premise that they’re just a bunch of lowly simpletons who need to be saved by our enlightened wisdom.

If we want others to take our ideas seriously, we have to start by taking their sincerity seriously.

As illogical and whimsical as people sometimes seem to be, they are only doing what makes sense to themselves relative to what they know.

The purpose of sharing information and spreading truth, as I see it, isn’t so we can bask in the glory of our superior intelligence. It’s so we can participate in the privilege and pleasure of growing, learning, and exploring the wonders of life together.

The less we patronize, the better we philosophize.

Those Who Wish To Teach, Must First Learn to Respect

There’s an inverse relationship between the size of a teacher’s ideas and the size of a teacher’s need to make their students feel small.

A lover of knowledge understands that education does not require humiliation; that a learner’s intelligence doesn’t need to be insulted as preparation for it being informed.

The broader one’s understanding of the universe, the deeper their inclination to share that understanding without pretension.

When one’s mind is truly exalted, so is their respect for others.

It’s difficult to be influential and insulting at the same time

“An offended party is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.” -Proverbs 18:19

The wrong attitude: I think your rule is stupid. In addition to it being unreasonable, it causes me all sorts of inconveniences that could easily be avoided if you just decided to stop being so rigid and dogmatic.

The right attitude: I get it. You have your rules for a reason and I know you wouldn’t be so passionate about upholding them unless they were designed to protect the things that really matter to you. With that being said, I’m making an appeal to you because I find myself in a most peculiar situation. In light of this situation, I’m asking you to work with me as an act of grace. You owe me nothing, but I would really appreciate it if you could make an exception by accommodating my request at this time.

T.K.’s two cents: It’s not about the words. It’s about the attitude behind the words. If your negotiation tactics require the other party to admit that they’re being stupid, you’re at a disadvantage. When you treat people as if they’re reasonable, they tend to respond as if they’re reasonable.

Teach with compassion


“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” -William Arthur Ward

People will let you teach them as long as you don’t make them feel like idiots for having to learn in the first place.

When you address people as if they’re your equals rather than treating them as if they’re a bunch of morons who need to apologize for not knowing, their hearts will open to you and their minds will be receptive to what you have to say.

A good teacher doesn’t need to dumb down his material as much as he needs to lift up his students.

Education, rightly done, affirms as much as it informs.

“No” can be a very kind word to say

Saying “yes” is not synonymous with love.

Sometimes we use the word “yes” as a tool to end conversations, calm people’s anxieties, give them hope, prove we care, avoid causing hurt feelings, or to sum it all up in a simple phrase, “be nice.”

When we say “yes” for any other reason besides truly wanting or intending to do what we promise, we not only create the very misunderstandings and hurt feelings we sought to avoid, but we also lose trust and respect in the process.

If you really want to show someone you care, then practice saying “no” to them. “No” is a way of saying the following:

“I take you seriously enough to tell you the truth. I see you as someone who is mature enough to handle a relationship that’s based on honesty. I trust you enough to believe that your assessment of my value goes beyond my ability to do everything you ask me to do. Furthermore, because I want you to get what you want, I’m going to dispel any illusions that you can acquire it through me at this time. Rather than waste your time by giving you the run around, I’m going to free you up to immediately act on any other options you may have.”

People may experience a little frustration when you send such a message to them, but they will appreciate that a lot more than you leading them down a winding dead-end path for days, weeks, or months.

Besides, whenever you do get around to saying “yes”, they will know you mean it and will value your word.

The next time you’re asked to do something that’s not right or possible for you, do the nice thing and just say “no.”


T.K. Coleman

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