MVP Seminars Blogs

I'm not much of a fighter. When I was a child, my dad taught me that if someone hits you, hit them back but never be the one to throw the first punch. In essence, only fight back when you have to defend yourself. My mom's message was taken from Luke 6:29 and contradicted Dad's: "If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them." Her voice resonated the strongest with me and for the better part of my life I'd walk away from any confrontation whether physical or verbal. During my childhood, there was a girl who frequently bullied me. I continually walked away from her but she was relentless. One day, I told my older sister who took up my cause. She grabbed the girl by the hair and told her to leave me alone. She never bothered me again.   With the exception of protecting myself in a domestic violence relationship, I have never engaged in physical conflict in my life. And while my typical style of confrontation was one of silence, I have since become more comfortable with engaging in disputes of a verbal nature. While I refuse to participate in an ugly or hostile discussion, I can now more easily verbally defend what I believe in. Mankind is often quick and eager to fight. A sense of arrogance and entitlement has lessened one's ability to be patient, has classified some as unworthy of being treated with respect and dignity, and supports the belief that the self should have what they want even at the expense of others. People also have a lower tolerance level than ever before and in many instances seek every opportunity to incite an argument or fight in an attempt to assert power and dominance over others. None of these are a spiritually valid reason for fighting.   There is a time and place for everything and one needs to know when it is best to follow my Mom's and Luke's advice to simply walk away and when one needs to stand up for justice as recommended in Isaiah 1:17 "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." Keep in mind, that when I speak of fighting, I am in no way referring to physical altercations, the destruction of property, or nasty, hateful verbal assaults or threats of any kind. The key to successfully defending one's person or position and seeking righteous justice (that is, according to Divine Law) is knowing when it's appropriate to stand tall and when it's best to let things be as they are. Having a proper set of communication and negotiating skills is essential as well. Here are some guidelines: WHEN TO FIGHT: You are defending those incapable of protecting themselves. The issue is serious and will not resolve itself or will escalate if not addressed. There is severe and real harm being perpetrated against yourself or another. The offense is in violation of God's law; it is a moral issue. To remain silent allows evil to prosper. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Sir Edmund Burke WHEN TO NOT: No one is being harmed physically, emotionally, or psychologically. The only thing bruised is your ego. You have a personal vendetta against the other party. You are seeking revenge. Romans 12:19 "beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of god, for it is written, “vengeance is mine, i will repay, says the lord.” The issue will resolve itself. There is a serious risk that getting involved will only escalate matters. The issue will not matter in ten years. It's none of my business or the other party can handle it themselves. There is only a perception of harm, not a real and valid threat. The issue is not one of a moral nature.   Keep in mind, that humans are known for making mountains out of molehills; for making matters appear far more serious than they are; for seeking to exert dominance over others. If any of these are your motives for getting involved in an exchange of ideas (I hesitate to use the word fight for it's generally accepted definition of a physical altercation or an extremely heated debate) I strongly advise reassessing the situation and finding an alternative course of action. However, if you reasons are to stand up for what you truly believe is morally right, then by all means pursue your decision to address the issue.   Let me reiterate: in the beginning I stated that "for the better part of my life I'd walk away from any confrontation". My choice of words accurately reflects my beliefs: life is consistently better when one chooses to not fight. (Did you notice that I listed twice as many reasons to not fight?) Therefore, be discreet: carefully and righteously evaluate each situation before becoming involved. Know when it is in your best interest, as well as the other party's, to simply let things be as they are. If intervention is essential, carefully choose your attitude and approach, motives and methods for they will certainly determine the outcome and lasting effects of your efforts.   Q: The goal of the righteous is to bring a peaceful and fair resolution to each situation for all those concerned.     Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @   Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+
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Few people I know like to the process of resolving disagreements. In fact, when they hear "conflict" they automatically equate it with fighting. Yet one is not  comparable to the other. Conflict is simply two forces in opposition. Fighting is defined with such words as "violent, battle, combat, hostile encounter". Conflict resolution need not be hostile at all. In fact, there are many advantages to having disagreements with others. Our differences challenge us to see things from another perspective, to open our minds to new possibilities, to learn and grow.  We are given opportunities to expand our creative process of finding solutions. And on a spiritual level, we are asked to be considerate of others, to possibly put their needs before our own (unselfish), or to sacrifice completely with a generous heart so that the other person may benefit. Whatever the case, the process of finding resolution to our differences can be highly beneficial if we avoid making the following common mistakes: 1. Failure to remain calm: it's easy to get excited, aggravated, frustrated, or angry when debating with another party. Emotions flair and a peaceful discussion quickly escalates to a bitter battle. 2. The long-winded approach: we tend to ramble and elaborate more than is absolutely necessary. This poses a risk of frustrating both parties, saying something inappropriate, or veering off topic. 3. Being close-minded or opinionated: a "my way or the highway" approach works with no one. Arguing about who's right and who's wrong is fruitless. "There's only one solution" stifles the creative process and potentially overlooks the best solution. 4. Being unreasonable or unfair: being concerned only about the self creates an atmosphere of distrust. Making outrageous or impossible demands defeats the entire process, leaving both parties frustrated and annoyed. 5. Using fuel-injected statements: personal attacks, criticisms, digs, or disrespectful comments put the other party on the defensive and only escalate feelings of distrust and anger. How then does one peacefully resolve disagreements before they become combative? Here are five simple solutions: 1. This is a discussion not a battle. Maintain a positive, solution-oriented mindset. Breathe to remain calm. Practice SWaT* if necessary. Remember you are attacking the problem, not the person. 2. Brief is better. Keep it short and to the point. Stick to the topic.  Set a time limit if necessary. 3. Remain open-minded. Embrace new ideas. View this as a learning experience. 4. Consider the other person's point of view as equal and valid as yours. They have the same rights as you do in having their needs met. Conceding, if possible, or finding an agreeable compromise validates them as a valuable human being. 5. Use calming, inclusive statements such as "I  have faith that we can work this out." "I really want you to be happy with the end result." Keep in mind that unless it is a matter of life or death, no issue needs to be resolved at that exact moment. Take time off. Rethink your position or the situation. Consider other alternatives. Ask for outside assistance if necessary. Be solution oriented. Remember, there are always multiple solutions to each challenge we face. Be patient. Be persistent. Trust that you are capable. And never forget to satisfy the other party as well. *Stop, Walk, Talk Strategy from The Secret Side of Anger  
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Black Belt Leader As Beginner: Part Fourteen                                        

“The god of Victory is said to be one-handed, but Peace gives victory to both sides.” 

 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Black Belt Leaders appreciate conflict as a natural part of life. When conflict arises, it’s not an aberration or proof that something is wrong; just the opposite. Let’s take a moment to consider how often in our daily life are we caught between two opposing ideas Whether these two contrasting points of view are internal arguments, or they are with a friend, a spouse, or a co-worker. I mean, it happens frequently, doesn’t it? Thank goodness that it does. Why do I say that? Because the content of conflict; whatever we’re in conflict about; can act, if we’re open to it, as a timely “tonic” or specific remedy to help us personally and professionally  to move forward when things (whether we are aware of it or not) start to stagnant.

But wait, you say, you make conflict sound so “positive,” Robert. It doesn’t feel good to me. It feels bad. And I say, it’s true. Being in conflict can be painful and even frightening. And here’s the reason why: most of us have not experienced conflict in its optimal form. We are mostly familiar with it as part of a negative pattern, where the conflict is ongoing, a repeat of the same, and there is no peaceful resolution. A very unpleasant result.   

In its optimal form, though, conflict’s value is indisputable: it is the spark that ignites the fires of creation in the world; it initiates the process of change. As a consequence of conflict, the opportunity is there for us to grow and establish a new balance in our lives. 

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Disagreements - those annoying irritations that throw a monkey wrench into our otherwise blissful lives and disrupt any possible chances we have of experiencing serenity and  joy. Augh! "Why can't people simply agree with me, even if they don't, and just allow us to coexist peacefully? But, no - regardless of how right I am there are some people who will disagree simply to aggravate me. I can never win an argument and that annoys me even more!" Sound like anyone you know? Have you even given thought to the fact that the majority of issues we argue about are ridiculously insignificant?  Before I invest my time or energy into debating an issue, I ask myself, "Will this even matter in ten years?" If the answer is "no" I let it go.  However, there are times when a discussion is necessary. When you and the other party disagree, is it possible to always be right and win every time? Yes, actually it is. Ordinarily, when two people disagree, they express their opposing perspectives with the sole intent of convincing the other party to have a change of heart. They do so by imparting a very strong argument supported with verifiable  facts and strong opinions. They are steadfast upon proving the other party wrong, allowing them to speak only to the degree to which they are not perceived as being rude. So unwavering are they that they will not rest until their mission is complete, even if it means continuing the discussion at another time or calling in reinforcements. Ego overrides humanity in an epic battle to the bitter end. In my seventeen years of being married to "Mr. Right", I've learned that there is a way to always be right and to win an argument every time. Let me share with you my little secret: At the outset, consider the following: 1. Give the other party ample time to present their point of view. 2. Make certain that they feel heard, understood, and validated even if you don't share their position. Never criticize or belittle them. 3. Be certain to always treat them with dignity and respect. 4. A key ingredient to resolving one's differences is in making certain both parties needs are met, on some level, in some way, and within a reasonable period of time. Satisfy theirs before your own. "OK", you say, "I did that but they still don't agree with me. So, in essence I didn't win the argument at all!" (Patience, grasshopper. There is more.) THE KEY Erroneously, we concern ourselves more with being right about issues than about being right. (What, you ask?) When you do what is right, (what is in accordance with Divine Law - such as treating others with consideration and kindness) you are right -in God's eyes. You cannot be wrong because you are extending Divine Love to your brother. When you treat others in a loving manner you garner their respect and trust. They appreciate your concern for their well-being and are very likely to reciprocate in a like manner. They become more cooperative and willing to see your point (and in some cases, even find common ground that you both agree on). You have solidified your reputation of being someone who is trustworthy, understanding, caring, and fair-minded. When you are right (with God and your former opponent), you have won trust, respect, loyalty, cooperation, self-respect, and favor with the Lord. And you have won an ally for life. Seems to me like that makes you a winner on every level. Do not concern yourself with being right. Care instead about doing what is right and you will, ironically, be right. Furthermore, do not obsess with winning the issue. Seek instead to win an ally.  But more importantly, you will win God's favor as well. Bonus Q and A A. Love Q. It doesn't matter. The answer is always "Love". To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger or The Great Truth visit Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @
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Difficult people - ya gotta love em! Or not. Whether you do or don't, it's a fact of life that they are all around us - in our families, places of employment, communities, social events, and everywhere else. For whatever reasons, we all have personal issues that cause us to behave in ways others may find offensive, challenging or just plain problematic. It is our responsibility to pay close attention not to the other person's behavior but to our own, making sure we are not the one sporting the "Hi, my name is Ob Noxious" nametag. Having ascertained that you are free from fault (in this regard only), short of severing future contact with the individual, how can one deal with someone who is challenging? Here are a few tips that will make interacting with them easier: 1. Ask  yourself, "How important is this person to me at this moment?" Being careful not to devalue them, certain people have greater or lesser significance in our lives. My sister, for instance, matters more to me than a sales clerk in Macy's. If the party in question does not hold great regard in your life, are you willing to simply let the issue slide and walk away? 2. How important is this issue? Will it matter ten years from now? Again, if not, let it go. It is not worth  your time and effort. 3. Can you accept the person as they are? "That's just the way Uncle Joe is. He's never going to change." If you do, you must be at peace with him/her so as not to become resentful and angry later on. 4. Can I change my perception of this person? Instead of "She is so controlling!", can I see her as insecure? A less judgmental  observation allows me to interact with her in a less critical manner. 5. If the party is an important part of my life, I need to set boundaries and guidelines in our relationship to ensure it is as reasonably healthy as possible for all parties. 6. Establish a common ground with them, identify something you both have in common. By doing so, this allows both parties to feel a certain connection and increases the levels of understanding and trust between them. 7. Build trust. Showing genuine interest and concern in them eases their anxieties and fears, allowing them to feel more comfortable in your presence. Once achieved, they will most likely become more cooperative with you. 8. Bring out the best in them. Avoid allowing their bad behavior to influence how you behave. Find some goodness and focus on that. 9. Remember to be fair and open-minded to what they say, believe, and do. Refrain from criticism and judgments, employing understanding and compassion instead. 10. Some of our greatest gifts in life have been the most difficult people who cross our paths. View them as an important teacher who is enabling you to learn and grow. See them as the true blessings they are. While there is much to learn from encountering those who present the greatest challenges to us, it is not imperative that we keep them in our lives. Those who are determined to continue inflicting chaos upon us may be gently released from our lives. We are under no obligation to allow anyone to disrupt our serenity and joy. Wish them well and send them on their way. To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger or The Great Truth visit
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When issues arise, and they do daily, what are some factors to be considered. As the complexity of life grows, so does the diversity we encounter in our daily interactions in the workplace. The question then arises how prepared are we as individuals, employee's, business owners and companies to mitigate the conflict no matter how small or large the issue looming is? Today's reality is that the workforce enviroment is calling for a change in the attitude of its leaders. Employers are finding it increasingly difficult to fill positions with skilled employee's, making it essential to retain and nuture existing skilled employee's. People change employment so often now that a common core problem expressed by many managers and leaders is that they never have enough time to build lasting cohesive teams of employee's. Those who are available in the workforce are now more diverse than ever, and because of the difference of culture, race, and influence it is causing leaders and managers to have to find new creative ways to lead, manage and inspire their workforce. Leaders and managers should want to foster an ongoing spirit of open conversation at every level with its employee's especially when it comes to Conflict and how it should be handled. Setting aside time to discuss, shape and create organizational structure as it relates to Conflict Management is one major part of a combined solution to this problem. Conflict
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"Idiots" are simply people like you and I who are struggling with unresolved personal issues ranging from low self-esteem to ego, insecurity to poor impulse control and more. While it is acceptable to regard the behavior as idiotic, it is never permissible to label the individual as such. People are inherently good but each of us at times acts out in an obnoxious or difficult manner. As you know, I do not make excuses or condone bad behavior but I do practice being understanding and non-judgmental of it. When arguing with a person acting in an idiotic manner, here are a few tips that will be beneficial to all parties: 1. First assess if the situation even warrants your time and energy. If not, no response is necessary and you are free to ignore the comments. 2. If, in fact, you feel it is essential or you choose to engage with the other party, examine your motives for doing so. If you have any hidden agendas or your reasons are not purely honorable, refrain from interacting at that time. 3. Relinquish the need to be right, to be acknowledged, to be heard or to win. Most likely none of those will occur. 4. Practice diffusing statements. Refrain from making inflammatory comments that will fuel the argument. Remember the R/D/C Method: Refuse (to get caught up in the drama), Diffuse (using proper verbiage), Choose (alternatives to methods that have proven ineffective in the past). 5. Operate from a place of Spirit. Never allow ego to dictate your course of action. 6. State your position once. Do not repeat (unless they sincerely need clarification), explain, justify, or convince. 7. Be firm, fair, clear, and brief. 8. Acknowledge their position, feelings, beliefs and such. Be sincere. It is the first step towards gaining their respect and cooperation. 9. Thank them for their time and for sharing. 10. Know when to bow out of the discussion. Either change the topic or disengage completely (walking away is a form of disengaging.) Make a statement to inform the other party of your intention. "Nice speaking with  you. I wish you the best. I have to leave now."  Remember, true personal power is the ability to be unaffected negatively by outside circumstances. Maintain your composure and dignity and always extend respect to the other party regardless of how badly they are behaving. Be the example.    
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Keeping our disagreements from becoming full-blown fights can be challenging. Many times, we're so passionate about our beliefs or what we want to do that any form of opposition causes us to become frustrated and angry. We may prefer that others simply agree with our position or if they don't to remain silent. We may be willing to hear their point of view at times but are not necessarily anxious to discuss it further. Lacking the proper skills necessary to communicate effectively leaves one feeling at a disadvantage and somewhat vulnerable. We fight to get our point across, to prove our position right, to convince the other party to ultimately agree with us or at the very least to get them to back down from theirs. The following five techniques found in the L~A~R~S~S Method can dramatically reduce the risk of escalating a disagreement into a heated argument. They are: Listen: Begin by first being willing to listen to what the other person has to say. By doing so, it shows that their feelings or position are important to you. This eases their concerns that they will not be given ample time to express their position and puts them at ease knowing that you are a trustworthy person who cares about them and is willing to put them first. Listen with the intent to understand; not for the purpose of responding. This is a critical mistake many of us make. Ask Questions: Ask for more information. "Why is this important to you? How long have you felt this way?" "Can you give me more details?" Questions enable the inquirer to gain further insight into the other person's position. It also signifies that they are important to you and that the issues at hand matter as well. Answers to those questions provide valuable insights into the nature of the other person as well as the subject matter. Knowledge is power when used productively and in this regard gives you greater ability to ultimately resolve your differences. Validate: Rather than criticize or belittle the other person for their feelings it's critical to simply acknowledge that you recognize how important this is to them. Too often, we are prepared for the other side to try to prove that we're wrong, or that our way of thinking is flawed. To do so only devalues the person, diminishes their feelings, and exacerbates the situation. And in doing so, they feel disrespected and will defend their position even more or discontinue the discussion. During this stage of the process, it's important not to give advice. Simply acknowledge what the other person is saying. Share Your Side: Once you have thoroughly listened to what they had to say, thoughtfully share your position as well. Be succinct and clear, always being respectful and sensitive in your comments. Be truthful while taking into consideration that your objective is not to prove your position more valid than theirs but rather that they may have a better understanding of what truly matters to you as well. Avoid criticizing, downplaying or comparing  your position to theirs. Seek a Solution: Once both sides have carefully shared their thoughts and feelings, the final step is to determine how they are going to proceed: is it possible to find a viable solution? Is in the best interest of both parties to let the issue go (if it's not one of great importance)? Can they continue in the relationship or do they need to respectfully go their separate ways? Whatever the decision is, keep in mind that it is considered to be the best decision at the time and may possibly be revisited at some point in the future. Regardless of the topic, nature of your relationship with the opposing party, or your personal feelings, any disagreement can be rationally discussed and resolved to a reasonable degree. Keep in mind that there will not always be a unanimous meeting of the minds but there can always be a respectful discussion. Remember, too, that their feelings and position are as valid to them as yours are to  you. Your role is not to persuade or change the other person but to listen with the intent to understand. In doing go, your responses will be more thoughtful and kind and that will garner their respect. And with respect, there is little chance for a nasty fight to ensue. L~A~R~S~S: Listen, Ask Questions, Validate, Share Your Side, and Seek a Solution. That's pretty simple, isn't it? (Say yes. Thank you!)    
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I've been teaching anger management and conflict resolution for nearly a quarter of a century. What makes me so successful in my work is that I do not lecture on any subject matter that I haven't personally experienced and mastered. In that regard, people find me authentic and know that if I've succeeded at healing my anger and being at peace with my surroundings, they can achieve the same or more. For the most part, I'm a pretty easygoing and relatively calm person. For certain, I'm never rude or disrespectful even when I am upset. When I do get angry, I carefully choose my words so as not to offend or hurt anyone. Well, until this past weekend that is. Brief synop: I have a family member who has had a serious issue with me for many years. Try as I have to resolve things with her, I've been unsuccessful. For the sake of my own inner peace, I no longer have contact with her. However, due to a change of family circumstances, that has recently changed as well. As a mutually close family member approaches the final stages of her life, we have been brought together to make some end of life decisions for her. Needless to say, this is a stressful  and unpleasant situation for both of us but one that must be what it is. At one point, I needed to address a very sensitive issue of the disappearance of personal items that belonged to that particular family member. These items were to be given to specific family members upon the death of our loved one. This person was the only one who had access to them. I respectfully stated that I was aware that they were missing and requested that they be promptly returned until the appropriate time to distribute them. I knew that in doing so, I was putting myself at risk for her wrath, as she has great animosity towards me. My instincts were correct as she came after me with a vengeance. Spewing hateful comments, she resorted to calling me names. I immediately drew on my arsenal of conflict resolution strategies to diffuse a volatile situation. "You misinterpreted what I said." But she cut me off with more accusations. Suddenly she came towards me in an aggressive manner. I immediately backed away. She became even more hostile. Sensing that I could be in physical danger, I quickly exited the premises. "I have nothing to say to you. Leave me alone." I repeated this over and over but to no avail. Her insults were relentless. Within less than two minutes, I had reached my breaking point, turned to her, and release some hurtful comments of my own. Immediately, I felt shame and regret for what I had done but proceeded to my car in order to protect myself and leave. A short time later, I discussed this incident with a few family members who were all too aware of the volatile behavior of the other party. All offered their support and reassured me that I was perfectly justified in the way I handled myself. One even stated he was proud of me for finally standing up to her. I felt no satisfaction nor pleasure in the manner in which I handled myself. In fact, I felt nothing but shame and remorse. As a Christian and as one who is proficient in anger management and conflict resolution, I was deeply disappointed in my performance. My daughter reassured me that sometimes anger management simply doesn't work. Why is that? What were the critical mistakes I made that caused me to be ineffective in this situation? Where did I go wrong? 1. I knew going in that I was taking a risk. This was a sensitive issue that had the potential to incite her. Knowing that she has nothing but contempt for me and a volatile temper, I was sorely prepared for the rage she was about to impose on me. I should have more seriously contemplated her anticipated reaction, my response, and how I was going to handle the situation. Having a plan provides a sense of authority, confidence, and personal power. 2. Knowing full well that any discussion of this issue would most likely not be well received, it would have behooved me to have a neutral third party present before engaging in a dialog with her. I failed to even consider this from the get go. 3. I allowed her hate filled comments to get to me. I failed to remain centered, paying careful attention to my inner dialogue which ultimately controlled my feelings. I gave away my personal power which left me feeling vulnerable. This ultimately enabled her to push my buttons and trigger an angry, out of control response from me. What I did that worked. 1. Initially when the attacks began, I refused to engage with her. I clearly stated that she had misinterpreted what I had said in an attempt to clear that matter up. When she was unreceptive and escalated her assaults, I repeated diffusing statements in an attempt to calm her down as well as enable me to keep my cool. "I have nothing to say. Leave me alone." I repeatedly stated these with confidence as I continued to make yet another smart choice. 2. Realizing that any chance for a productive discussion was futile and that I was in a potentially dangerous situation, I quickly removed myself from her presence. Even as she aggressively followed me in a very intimidating and threatening manner, I refused to make eye contact with her but rather kept my focus on my vehicle, which was my source of escape. Where do I go from here? 1. When one mishandles a situation such as I did, it's important to review the events as soon as possible thereafter. Be completely truthful about your role in the failure of the process. 2. Identify more effective ways to handle things next time. Write them down, post, and review often. 3. Extend an apology to anyone you have offended, even those who mistreated you. You are not responsible for their behavior but you are responsible for your own. Their disrespect of you does not justify yours towards them. 4. Forgive yourself for your indiscretions. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them and vow to do better next time. I've been practicing what I teach for as long as I've been teaching it and it does work. But every once in awhile, even an expert like me makes a critical mistake. It's hard for me to forgive myself for ever hurting another human being but I am trying. I do know that next time, I will more closely follow my own advice and am confident I'll see much better results. Peter 3:9 "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."  
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I abhor arguing. It's a waste of precious time and energy and robs me of my serenity. Conflict, however, is horse of another color. Conflict occurs daily in each of our lives. It simply means that there is a disagreement, a difference of opinion. My husband and I engage in disputes on a regular basis yet interestingly enough have had fewer than five arguments in our eighteen year marriage. Unlike popular opinion, conflict is not synonymous with fighting. I'm willing to engage in a discussion but will never allow it to escalate into a battle. Let me explain by first clarifying the words I'm referring to: conflict is two opposing forces; to argue is to give reason for or against something, to prove or try to prove  (this often entails the need to be right); fighting seeks to gain authority over another by way of struggle, a hostile encounter between two parties. Let's take a closer look at each. Two people, each with a different set of beliefs, preferences, needs, or goals enter into a conversation: a wife dreams of traveling around the world while her husband wants to settle down and have a family - conflict. One person is raised Christian, another Jew, and yet another with no beliefs in a higher power form a friendship and share their beliefs - conflict. Conflict even occurs in nature: a sun shower, salmon swimming upstream to lay their eggs, a collision of warm air with a cold front. The difference between human discord and natural divergence is that in nature there is no ego to complicate matters. Humans have an inherent need to be right, to win in order to feel good about themselves, to raise their sense of worth. Nature on the other hand simply allows differences to occur and works within the context of its ever changing circumstances. Yet when two creatures of the human species disagree ego wages war on the so-called offending party, prepared to prove it's superiority and claim victory over its opponent. What begins as a simple disagreement quickly rivals The War of the Roses.  But there is an alternative. Many disagreements can be readily resolved in a matter of minutes by adhering to the following fifteen minute protocol: 1. Allow each party sixty seconds (that's right: one measly minute) to state their position. This prevents the dialogue from becoming contaminated with blame and excuses or veering off track. Total time: two minutes. 2. Each party is allotted thirty seconds to state their desired outcome, what they would ideally like to see happen. Total time: one minute. 3. Both parties must contribute a minimum of three possible solutions. This allows for six potentially workable resolutions. Each person is permitted three minutes. Total time: six minutes. 4. Together, extract the best components of each suggestion and determine which elements can successfully be incorporated into the final solution. Tweak if necessary. Total time: six minutes. Approximately 13% of the total time focuses on the challenging situation leaving a whopping 87% to finding a workable and mutually satisfying remedy.  The advantages of a Fifteen Minute Conflict Resolution Solution is that by moving the process along quickly one dramatically reduces the chances that the situation will escalate into an argument or fight. The mind must remain focused on finding a solution rather than concerning itself with being right. Time is of the essence and one cannot afford to become distracted by ego. Putting this issue to rest allows both sides to move forward to the more enjoyable aspects of living. Short and sweet = complete. Pretty cool, don't you agree?  
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