Challenge Opinions, Don’t Force Them

Are you the sort of person that will force your opinion on someone as absolute? Challenging opinions of others is a much more effective way to win them over.

Emailing a friend, I mentioned an argument with my future mother-in-law about weddings and how my personal opinion of them is that they are a blatant waste of money. The stress of the whole thing just erodes the actual meaning of the day. In the end, I believe that weddings have very little to do with the marriage, or the love that two people have for each other; it’s more about the image that either the couple, or their parents want to portray to their friends and family. There appears to be an increasing culture of those that want to be seen having the really nice wedding “that must have cost a LOT”. It’s just another flash car, or a McMansion by the beach.

My ranting continued for quite sometime, as it usually does and ended up going into the financial side of a wedding.

…fact is that the average cost of a wedding in Australia is $28,700 (or was 4 years ago.. it has probably gone up since then). The average household income is $91,300 – the median household income is more like $50,000 before tax. Let’s say it’s $91,300. That’s $63910 after tax (in Australia), assuming they are both being taxed at 30%, which they probably are.. both earning around $45k or something.

A LOT of living expenses are coming out of that figure. Chances are they’re still renting, driving two Australian made cars with poor consumption and require servicing frequently, which also drains their wallet. It doesn’t leave a whole lot of money. Most Gen Y’ers can’t save a deposit for a house.. the government is giving them free money to get into debt which is a whole other topic which I shouldn’t get into now.

The thing is, they just don’t have the dollars to pay for a wedding.

What I realised when I was explaining all this, was that there is a black and white difference between the facts and an opinion.

When I have these debates I make a point of providing facts, then explaining my opinion as a result of learning those facts. More often than not though, the person I’m talking to isn’t interested in facts, only their opinion, which is absolute and as a result of emotions and “gut feel” more than anything else.

I don’t like to push my views on others, but I do like to help others, especially those that I care about. It’s a fine line.

Challenge opinions rather than forcing your views on others

The truth is in the facts. The facts can help others form their opinions and beliefs, my opinions and beliefs will rarely help others come to their own conclusions.

Facts are everywhere; if you can verify that they are in fact correct, you can make your opinion. Finance, diet, so on and so forth. There are facts and they are all relevant for you to hold a view on the topic.

Imagine if I said to you:

“I think the healthiest way to live is to be a raw vegan, so you should be one.”

Who am I to tell you what to do?

But if I said:

“Did you know that casein in milk has been proven to be a major cause of osteoporosis and other bone diseases in humans?”

You could then form an opinion from that fact (after doing your own research of course). That opinion could be to believe it and an action from that opinion may be to stop drinking milk.

Conspiracy theories are a perfect example of where facts can hold some vital information, but where the opinion of some presenters/producers/etc can take over and effectively turn a lot of people away from the original message that they wanted to send. Often there are facts that “the people” should know, but waking up one day and telling “the people” that “Obama is 21st century Hitler” is hardly going to go down well with the majority of people.

Stick with the facts. By all means let others know your opinion, but make sure they know it is your opinion and they are free to make their own.