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Harmony principle

Principles > Harmony principle

Principle | How it works | So what?


Go with the flow to build trust and create subtle shifts.

How it works

Harmony is a lack of tension, it a feeling of comfort, integration and everything being as it should. It is about fairness, balance and 'rightness'.

We like and hence trust people who we believe are like us and who like us. When we trust them, we are then more easily persuaded. We are also more persuaded when they do not knock our arguments.

Don't fight City Hall. Go with the flow. Roll with the punches. There are many sayings that illustrate the point.

NOTE: Harmony does not mean that you must agree with them at all costs. It is not about passivity or concession.

First get trust

If I do not trust you, then I will not be persuaded by anything you say. If, however you appear trustworthy, then I will listen. When you harmonize with me then I feel you are like me and hence are trustworthy and that you arguments are worth considering.

Create exchange

Harmonizing with you effectively sets up exchange. If you are nice to me, I feel that I must now be nice to you. Perhaps by agreeing with you in some way.

Martial harmony

Harmonizing is an ancient principle, used in soft martial arts such as Tai Chi and Aikido. Physically, it means moving with the other person, which makes it very difficult for them push you, let alone land a punch. When you have achieved this, you can then subtly move them to where you want them to be.

A Tai Chi saying is 'It only takes one ounce to move a force of thousand pounds'. This is true when you consider the movement vectors of the situation. A force moves in one direction only, and can be deflected by any other force acting at right angles to it. Thus if the thousand-pound force is going North, the one-ounce force applied to the West will move the big force off its trajectory. Not by much, but a miss is as good as a mile.

So what?

Rather than argue against them, find ways of agreeing with them that does not compromise what you want them to think. Rather than fighting their arguments, include them in your case.

See also

Tension principle, Trust principle, Framing principle

Theories about conforming


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