Destructive Debates

A fantastic quote from Mahatma Gandhi:

Do not lose your temper if someone calls you a liar. If you want to say something, say it calmly. Or, perhaps, silence would be best. If you are really truthful, you do not become a liar simply because someone calls you so.

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

Gandhi wrote this in 1945, many decades before social media was invented. But, this quote guides all of us who spend time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. wasting hours arguing with those with opposing viewpoints. The other person may be wrong and we may be right. But, is there any value in arguing/fighting when we know deep inside what the truth is? Do we really need to have/win that argument?

Of course, discussions and debates can be useful learning tools too. We need to realize when they are adding value and when they don’t. Just like we respect the constructive, actionable criticism and ignore the blind hate criticism, we may have to differentiate between constructive debates and destructive debates. We shouldn’t hesitate to walk away from the latter. No need to have “fear of losing” because the one who avoids such debates is actually the winner.

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