When someone is trying to “sell” you an idea (or convince you of something), and you’re trying to determine if it’s a good idea or not, think of it this way, are they trying to sell you bomb or target? What I mean by that is if their argument is all about presentation, the words used, or the forcefulness of their voice, then they’re selling you a bomb. On the other hand, if the argument is about what happens if you make that decision and the way things will be when all is said and done, well, then they’re selling you a target. Now, selling a well-made bomb doesn’t mean that the target is inadequate, and vice versa, selling a really great target doesn’t diminish the adequacy of the bomb sent to annihilate it but there are some significant differences…for example…
People usually sell bombs because they’re not at all clear about what the target is. They may have a really good idea or theory about the target but they lack real evidence or facts to back up what eventually happens…and they make really, really great speeches.
People who sell targets, conversely, usually do so because they have no idea what it takes to make a bomb. They know what the overall goal is (the target) and have facts to prove it but have no clue what it takes to get there…and they make really, really good brochures.
Which is better?
In both cases, the people selling you the idea only have half the story and half a story is a little worse than useless because you end up buying the idea without any real assurance about what you’re getting. Sometimes it works out but most times it doesn’t…simply because uncertainty breeds uncertainty and nothing kills an idea better than uncertainty.
The next time you’re in the situation where you’re deciding if someone is selling you either a bomb or a target, stop them and ask them if they can try instead to sell you a negotiated peace? In this context, a negotiated peace is where they stop trying to sell you anything and instead collaborate with you to understand the idea of what the target is as well as the way of jointly creating the bomb (a way to get there).
This is the only way to guarantee the smallest amount of uncertainty and therefore the greatest odds of success so…
…really…you should just give peace a chance.
Believe. Go. Do.