For most people, their opinions are extremely important to them. In fact, some people may deem their opinions to be inseparable from their own sense of self. Due to this strong emotional bond that we often have toward our beliefs, we often cringe when they are passively criticized, let alone actively challenged.
This is a sad reality for many people as close-mindedness truly is a an unfortunate vice which can negatively impact one’s life to a prodigious degree. However, for most people, they are simply disinterested in this glaring paradox.
An even more scrupulous paradox is this: Even though our opinions are not inherently sacred, it is still not only not wrong to try to convince others of our opinions, but it is oftentimes a great idea to do so.
Indulging in such an exercise not only helps to strengthen our own beliefs, but it can also shed new light to some fallaciousness in our thinking. And if you value reason and logic at all, then this should be important to you.
Would you rather dwell in ignorance about a topic you think you know a lot about, or would you rather have the uncomfortable conversation with someone trying to convince you of their opinions? It is obviously up to you to deem their opinions as being either worth listening to or seeing as them as being a waste of your time.
Either way, you gain something positive out of it. You will either strengthen your own opinions or you will find holes in your reasoning, thus allowing you to mend your opinions so that they are more sensible and reflective of reality.
Now, as far as trying to convince others of your opinions, there is obviously a time and a place for it and it will be up to you to decide when that will be appropriate or whether it would even be in your best interest to do so.
For example, it would obviously be a terrible idea for the sake of your own self-preservation to have a political debate with your employer just as it would probably be a bad idea to try and convince your friend why their favorite TV show is stupid and boring. Some things are not worth worrying about.
On the other hand, when it comes to the things we most value in life, it seems apparent, to me at least, that it is important to try and convince others of our opinions insofar as those opinions have worthwhile consequences in the world, consequences which would significantly improve the status quo of everyone on Earth.
Now obviously, what you may deem to be the best way forward may not entail the same ideas that I would personally champion, but this is not the point. Sure, there will always be disagreement between people, but it is in these moments when we debate one another or voice opposing opinions in casual conversation, when we either strengthen our already held opinions or weaken them.
One shouldn’t be afraid to have their opinions be available for scrutiny and to possibly be weakened because all that would mean is that you have learned of a better way of thinking, one that is more reasonable and factual. After all, would you really want to maintain an opinion if it was irrational or based on erroneous data? I know I wouldn’t.
Your goal shouldn’t be to try and convince everyone you possibly can to think exactly as you do, that would be not only a tireless endeavor, but a futile one as well. Instead, you should pick your battles, knowing when it’s a reasonable and appropriate time to try to convince someone of your opinions.
I would always encourage people to champion the opinions they deeply value, even if my opinion of those opinions are that they are asinine and infantile. You may think the same of my opinions, and that’s okay!
The biggest disservice you can do yourself in this matter is not to try to convince others of your opinions, but to have great opinions about a particular topic and choose not to voice them due to fear of them being criticized or to withhold beliefs that it is not your place to change the minds of others.
Sometimes it’s a great idea to try and convince others of your opinions, other times it’s not such a good idea as it can potentially damage healthy relationships insofar as things were to get personal and emotional. Let common sense be your compass to guide you in doing what you think is best.
With regards to trying to convince someone else of your opinions, as long as things don’t get personal or too emotional, the worst-case scenario is that you change your mind on an opinion you once had. That’s it.
And if you were to change your mind due to you being convinced by the overwhelming amount of evidence pointing in the direction of the opposing interlocutor, then your outlook on that topic would likely be much more reasonable and veridical because of it.
Thomas is the founder and CEO of PsychTimes.com. He deeply enjoys writing about psychology, mental health, well-being, and ethics. Besides writing, he’s also deeply interested in the many different aspects of digital marketing, specifically search engine optimization. It is due to his love of both psychology and digital marketing, as well as his deep desire to help people who are suffering from mental illness which has inspired him to create this very site.