Use of Doubt To Persuade Essay

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Persuasion goes on around us everyday, all the time, on television, on advertisements, even in conversations with friends. Perhaps because of this, much has been written on how to persuade more effectively. Most of this literature is built upon the notion that to persuade is to urge successfully and completely. Going along these lines, certainty and confidence are logical complements to effective persuasion, since we cannot hope to convince others when we are ourselves in doubt. Doubt, therefore, is felt to be at the other end of the spectrum and antithetical to persuasion. But the art of persuasion is a human art, and so it is a living art, which cannot be satisfactorily summed up between the covers of self-improvement guides. In reality …show more content…
The judicious employment of doubt can therefore round everyone up at the same start line, and focus their attention on the same finishing point. In this way, the paradox of using doubt in persuasion is resolved. Naturally, any solution as tidy as this one requires some accounting for.

This approach is derived from a similarly paradoxical situation, that of Singapore's evolution as a nation. Singapore's history from the formation of the Federation of Malaysia through merger with Malaya, to independence in 1965, up till the present day, is a tale of triumph over tribulations. The two years as part of Malaysia were especially traumatic, complete with heated political campaigns and two racial riots. Yet these were not as distressful as the separation of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965, which in effect compelled Singapore to eke out a living on its own. Just as doubt is supposedly an impediment to successful persuasion, so Singapore's vulnerabilities and limitations as a small state were thought to stand in the way of its progress. Yet these anticipated dangers served as a rallying point around which the leaders of the country linked arms with the people. This sense of vulnerability not only guided the leadership in policy-making, it impressed upon the people that they had a point to prove to detractors who had doubted the viability of the nation. Judging by the role which uncertainty…

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