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Agree To Disagree

Agreement is a powerful thing. It creates a bond, a relationship that can evolve into a community and civilisation.

In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, the famous quote “et tu brutus?” (you too brutus?) was created after Brutus’ murder of Caesar over the disagreements of Caesar’s leadership. At Caesar’s funeral, Brutus gave an eulogy so emotional that made the Roman empire believe in the justification for the murder of their leader. Everyone was swayed - but not Mark Antony. Except, instead of crushing Brutus’ justifications or criticising the empire’s agreement of the murder right away, Antony used another method. He agreed with Brutus. He even called him honorable. At the start. The remainder of the eulogy saw him disapproving of what Brutus did in eloquent, non aggressive terms and turned Brutus into a villain in the eyes of the Roman empire.

Think about the times you spent shouting at your colleagues and friends over disagreements. That time would probably find yourself questioning why you were even talking to people who cannot see your perspective or have any bits of common sense. Now, consider the conversations you had that were easy and enjoyable. The reason for the enjoyment and how fluid it can be is because of commonality. Agreement is commonality. Find something that you can agree on (where it does not betray your morals and principles), even if it's a small portion of their statements and build it up from there. You would notice that when you sync your outlook to theirs (even for a small bit), conversations get easier to hold and agreements start increasing.

When we dissect what Mark Antony did to Brutus, we see an agreement being formed. Something that caused him to gain a sort of “commonality” with the people, which in turn made him more well-received. This sort of agreement is also how we get people to open up. Counselors are only good when they can make the people they are seeing more comfortable and accepted. That is how growth begins.

There is a deep need to be in sync with another person’s behaviour. Being asymmetrical to their behaviour can have repercussions to the momentum of work between you and your colleagues. By creating opportunities to understand another person’s behaviour is to create a path of success to make yourself work better.

Sometimes, agreement isn’t all that bad. It is the first step you take and it can be the commonality you build your connection on to change their minds or to work better with them. Be like Antony.

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