Please, Argue Against Me and Debate Me

[May 16, 2018]  George Godwin has been a good friend of mine since I was a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Infantry.  He likes to think of himself as a pretty good leader, and in reality, he is an exceptional leader.  What does he do that most of us don’t?   He is always asking people to please argue against me and debate me.

And, it works.  George is always trying new logic, twists and turns in arguments, and seems to enjoy discussing any subject; especially those topics where emotions are involved.  Like politics, he loves to debate others and will take a position he doesn’t believe in, just to argue and debate.

George is doing several things at once.  First, he is emotionally developing a thicker skin to those who criticize him.  Second, he is refining the ability to build a logical and an emotional argument together for a more effective stance.  And third, he is building a reputation as an outstanding thinker who can out-think the best minds in the business.

George was recently asked to be on a strategic decision-making committee for a large corporation out of Manhattan, New York.  His reputation as a “creative thinker,” got him the offer and it came with a nice salary.  My friend, however, is a proud and loyal man, so he turned down the offer to remain close to his family in Chicago.

With the right attitude, however, seeing others as better can be an advantage.  We can use the superior talents of others to learn from and to make ourselves stronger and more resilient.  Cyrus the Great exemplifies this way of thinking.

As a boy, Cyrus sought out boys better than he in the sport of wrestling with the idea that they could show him the right way to wrestle and win.  Later, he was to become one of the greatest leaders in all of humankind’s history.

Perhaps George stumbled upon a great way to make leadership better.  Or, he is just a really smart guy.  Either way, his technique works and I highly recommend it.  Remember that there will always be people better than you, so why not take advantage.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

36 thoughts on “Please, Argue Against Me and Debate Me

  1. Wilson Cox

    Ha. College “snowflakes” immediately came to mind when I read this article. They could use a little dose of reality. When reality slaps you upside the head and makes you crawl in the dirt, then you will listen and not play the victimhood card.

    1. Joey Holmes

      Snowflakes? Oh, I had to ask my dad what you meant. Funny. Cheers!

  2. Eric Coda

    “Please argue against me…” I’m not so sure about the syntax but I do know what you are talking about Gen Satterfield. Making people better is the name of the game for good leaders and something they all strive for (if they are good at what they do.).

  3. Albert Ayer

    For those who skip the comments section, I recommend you read them occasionally. Most of the time they add to Gen Satterfield’s points and reinforce his arguments.

  4. Roger Yellowmule

    I’ve read on Cyrus the Great and I too believe his life can teach us much. That it is hard to believe also that so many of these lessons could have survived all these centuries is a miracle in itself. What this means is that those lessons are extremely valuable.

  5. Scotty Bush

    All of us can learn more in life. I think there is a balance between the ideas that we need to look for things to make us more resilient and things that make our lives easier.

    1. Bill Sanders, Jr.

      Scotty, I don’t think anyone would deny that there needs to be a balance. The problem is that too many folks are looking for the easy way out or a handout. They avoid, at all costs. situations that are uncomfortable. I once had a teacher tell me that it was to my benefit to “get out of your comfort zone.” Smart woman, she was.

    2. Gil Johnson

      Good observations here and a valuable discussion. I might add that I too think that young folks are being overly protected and with a sense of entitlement (not just young folks), they are losing out on some of the greatest things in life.

  6. Shawn C. Stolarz

    I believe you will find that those who are military veterans and those who have life experience will agree wholeheartedly with this post today. Those that are younger will not because they have not had the experience and, more importantly, they have been protected by parents, teachers, and community leaders from the harsh realities of a good life.

  7. Georgie M.

    A good cup of coffee, newspaper, and my iPad to read Gen Satterfield’s morning blog on leadership. Nice. What I like is that he uses lessons learned from his past and others who learned lessons that he passes along to us. Thanks.

  8. Lynn Pitts

    Gen Satterfield, it looks like your early training in the US military had a profound effect on you as a person. Also, you gained some great (and educated) friends along the way. Well done.

  9. Watson Bell

    I remember growing up and the nuns in Catholic School giving me a whack on the hand if I stepped out of the boundaries of rules (and there were many rules). I hated it but once I got into High School things started to look brighter for me. Why? Because we learned to take a good punch (metaphorically, of course) on the chin. We argued and debated each other and became better for it.

  10. Tony B. Custer

    We don’t teach kids and young adults the right things anymore and we don’t encourage them to act properly and respectful. No wonder America and most of the West is in decline.

  11. Darryl Sitterly

    Martin, many people simply don’t believe this because their focus is always the short term and all about themselves. It’s so much fun to party and have a grand old time than to take the time to work hard, obey the law, don’t have kids out of wedlock, and be respectful of others. Too many want things handed to them.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      I have to agree with Darryl too. Thanks for the great comment.

  12. Martin Shiell

    What a great philosophy of life. This will clearly make you a better person; even though doing so will take time. In the long run, you will be better off, able to make better arguments. and have a good reputation (as long as you handle it with respect).

  13. Max Foster

    Some really good comments again today from fan club! I would like to add that today we find the OPPOSITE in our students (High School and College). They are derisively called “snowflakes” for a very good reason and that is they see themselves as morally above everyone else and believe they are on a righteous crusade to root out evil. In reality they are just children who never grew up.

  14. Joe Omerrod

    Not only did we learn to be resilient in school (yes, resilient) but we also learned about how to convince others to do things they would not typically do – Gen Satterfield calls this leadership and he is right. Resilience in our bodies and minds is crucial for a happy and fulfilling life. I found it so anyway and hope you can also.

    1. Ronny Fisher

      Bryan, I do this all the time. If I think something is right, I go out of my way to find arguments opposing that view.

  15. José Luis Rodriguez

    Good article today and edifying to those like me who didn’t have a mentor growing up.

  16. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Being a HS coach is daunting in many ways. The reason I do it, is because I enjoy mentoring young men on how to do better in their lives. Guess what? It works. They come back later to thank me after they graduate and see the real world. They say that most of the teachers in their school only focused on academics and ignored that a person is made up of so much more than brainpower.

  17. Kenny Foster

    Dale Carnegie said that “Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.” He was absolutely right in several ways. But the fact that those who avoid problems all their lives actually are not living a full life and one that is built upon strenth, honor, and courage.

  18. Greg Heyman

    John Wooden (basketball coach) once said, “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” That is one of my favorite quotes and I use it all the time when speaking with people who want to be protected from arguments that make them uneasy.

  19. Tracey Brockman

    Competition makes us better. What’s that old saying that “whatever doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger”?

  20. Janna Faulkner

    It wasn’t that long ago that teachers in our elementary schools understood this. They made us play in the schoolyard in organized games. And they made us debate one another in the classroom. Those teachers understood the importance of developing ourselves in every way. Today, I’m not so sure that is any longer the case.

  21. Dale Paul Fox

    Cyrus the Great is called “great” for some very good reasons that I don’t need to go into here. But I will argue that he had it right when he wrestled only with boys much better than he. Like those of us who know the only way to improving our mind and soul is through testing will be better, more satisfied, and healthier than our peers.

  22. Jonathan B.

    True, Army Captain. Testing ourselves against those who are better than us, makes us better too. I’m glad I learned this lesson as a young boy from m Uncle George who served in the Korean War.

  23. Army Captain

    We can learn a lot from Cyrus the Great and others who know the path to improving your mind and body is through competition.

    1. Jung Hoon Kim

      Great man and much appreciated by his peoples.

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