“Four legs goood…..two legs baaaad…..four legs goood…two legs baaad!!!” go the sheep in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. People behave in many ways just like sheep. Feel insulted already? Think about it! Sound bites, short attention spans, focusing on what others have and lacking in self-control. Some guru declares that we need to be more assertive, and we all start baa-ing the assertiveness rant. Do you know what assertiveness really is? Look it up online, learn how to pronounce it, use it for the next three days or so. Find phrases and sentences with the word “assertiveness” in its various forms. Look up synonyms and antonyms. Look up word origins. What comes to people’s minds when they hear “assertiveness?” Tell me what you discovered!
Well, since we are so used to bleating and baa-ing short slogans, try this one out for effect. “Assertiveness good…..persuasiveness better….. assertiveness good….. persuasiveness better….!!” How is that? Does “persuasiveness” sound better than “assertiveness?” It sure does to me! What’s the difference? Well, this is the impression I get. “Assertiveness” implies a degree of aggressiveness and of “standing up for my own views.” “Persuasiveness” has the operational definition of “guiding vital truth around another’s mental roadblocks” and is concerned with helping another person see what the truth is. That truth might not necessarily be what I want him to see, but it will definitely be what he needs to see.
Do you want to learn how to be more assertive or do you want to learn how to be more persuasive? Win other people over to your point of view or help them to see what is best for them, not what is best for you personally? Let me know!