Mahatma Gandhi’s life is full of stories and anecdotes about confrontations that ultimately yield great wisdom. In fact, this man became famous and went down in history for being the first to mention a “war” without violence.
For example, it is said that he once sat down to eat next to a professor from the University of London. The professor asked him to leave because ‘birds and pigs can’t eat together’. Gandhi then stood up and said, “Don’t worry Professor, I’m already flying away”.
Gandhi almost always got away with it when it came to discussions. But he did so with such intelligence and such grace that he eventually contributed something to his opponent. More than winning the argument, what he did was reveal something instructive drawn from the situation. Therefore, if it’s okay with you, we’ll set out his suggestions for winning a discussion.
Don’t be selfish and reason properly
For Gandhi, any perspective of a problem must include the opponent’s condition. With this idea clearly in mind, he destroyed the monopoly of the English textile industry and then showed up in every factory to apologize for the layoffs he had caused.
It was also typical of Gandhi to study each subject in depth. He was not satisfied with a superficial view of the world. He read, he studied, he consulted. All that allowed him to form an informed and solid opinion on any matter. That is undoubtedly a key to having any debate.
Training body strength and patience
He believed that physical strength contributes in a crucial way to mental strength. Gandhi was characterized by maintaining excellent physical condition, which allowed him to endure difficult moments with an amazing ability to recover. Training the body provides moderation, strengthening of the will and self-control.
Patience, on the other hand, is a matter of training the mind. Gandhi said that a wall should be built brick by brick. And that each piece has its own moment to be put down. Patience is a hallmark of the strongest minds. Not giving in to the first impulse is the key to success, especially in a confrontation.
You empathize with the other person and get involved in his emotions
Gandhi spread ideas of universal scope. His principles were not the product of a localist or capricious vision. On the contrary. All mankind was present in his ideas and in his struggle. His doctrine initially focused on his own people, but he was inspired by universal values.
The leader gave an important place to emotions. His speeches were not purely ideological. He tried to understand the position of his opponents and what they might feel. That’s why hundreds of thousands of people around the world followed and admired him, even if they didn’t share his cause. Winning a confrontation does not necessarily mean nullifying the other.
Winning a discussion by speaking simple language and being transparent
Great leaders are characterized by the simplicity of their speeches. They don’t speak to be admired, they speak to be understood. And the best way to generate understanding is to use simple language that anyone can understand.
This would be populism if hidden interests were hidden behind it. But when simple words do not obscure hidden truths, they reach the hearts of the people. An authentic and sincere speech has great persuasiveness. And it also brings respect. A verbal discussion is won as follows: with deep arguments, simple wording and without lies.
Growing and persevering in self-sufficiency
Gandhi managed to obtain his own salt. To make his own clothes and other everyday objects. He made self-sufficiency a way to create freedom. He knew that the bonds of dependence do not come from big things, but from the small details. And he attacked the source of evil.
It took this leader 55 years to complete India’s independence, which was his big dream. He did this his way: without resorting to violence. He went through thousands of difficulties before he got what he wanted. Difficulties of all shapes and sizes, including conflicts with oneself. Deep down, he knew that perseverance is a key to ultimately opening every door and that one’s ability to persevere allows one to progress toward victory.
All of Gandhi’s teachings leave us a precious catalog of human values. His victory was a victory of the mind and that is why he has put a before and an after on the map. The greatest of all his teachings was to confront without aiming to destroy the other. In this way there will never be a defeat, because it is certain that everyone will eventually come out as the winner, even if it is not to the extent expected.