• W. Austin Gardner

The Hammer Principle



I understood I was putting winning the arguments ahead of winning the relationship.


Realizing that having the right attitude was more important than having the right answers, I softened my approach, listened more, and stopped making a big deal out of little things. In time, the wall that had begun to form came down, and we began building bridges. And since that time, I’ve made a conscious effort to initiate connection anytime I’m in conflict with someone I care about.


“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”


If the reaction is worse than the action, the problem usually increases.

If the reaction is less than the action, the problem usually decreases.

As psychologist Abraham Maslow observed, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” People require more judicious treatment than that.


Resolve an issue when it occurs. And once you’ve done that, don’t bring it up again. If you do, you’re treating someone as a nail.


Don’t make things worse by overreacting.


Relationships are based on bonding. The more important the relationship, the greater the bond.


John Whit gave his perspective on where we fall short in our treatment of the important people in our lives: “We gossip because we fail to love. When we love people, we don’t criticize them. If we love them, their failures hurt. We don’t advertise the sins of people we love any more than we advertise our own.”


John C. Maxwell, Winning with People: Discover the People Principles That Work for You Every Time (Nashville, TN: HarperCollins Leadership, 2007).


Check out the Society of Mentors. This is a meeting of mentors who desire to personally grow while continually impacting others with reaching the world with the gospel.

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