One of the major drains on one’s productivity is the time spent in arguing about transient issues. You will find people who are passionately on either side of an argument and would go on for hours, when the resolution of the issue is already there somewhere or is going to manifest itself in some time.

At times, it could just be a fact that can be checked on the web. Just as an example, one could argue about capital of Sweden – two answers being Stockholm and Gothenburg. People could sort out the argument just by doing a quick Google check.

At times, it is a little more complex and time is required to sort out the argument. You can argue whether stock price of a particular stock will go up – without having any desire to buy it. This will be known in due time, and one can just observe what happens.

When people know this, why do they argue?

There are genuine reasons for arguing. And though there are extreme arguments(ironically) about avoiding all kinds of arguments, since they do not serve any purpose, but that is an extreme stance. Arguments do give you another perspective in your knowledge base, that may have a muddled understanding of the issue at hand. They do serve the purpose of clearing some of the cobwebs in your mind. They do inculcate the habit of seeing things from different perspective.

But the arguments in the above category – where the answers can be or would be known – and the arguments do not matter in any specific decision making, the reasons to argue may be completely psychological. It may be desire to prove yourself to be right, or maybe a desire to convince yourself about your being right all the time, or may be something else.

What is true in these cases is that they take away time from your hand that may be used for many other things. Things that can improve your future, things that can give you pleasure, things that can give you peace of mind and things that can make you a better person. If one analyses the whole lot of time one spends in the useless arguments, one can only wonder how one can justify it. But everyone indulges in this. It is almost compulsive and social media only encourages it. You could see the twitter battles and the arguments about silly stuff on Facebook and hope that people understand the futility of the whole exercise and stay away from those. But it is very difficult to do that. It is probably by putting other people down, one feels superior and the argumentation is a part of that. There are other types of arguments that are not worth it, including arguments about things that are undecidable, but that would require a different post.

Transient issues do not deserve our time. People who indulge in arguing about transient things do not deserve our time. Life is too short to engage in such trivialities. The earlier one realizes that, the better it is.