Thread: Thinking Win/Win
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01-22-2009, 07:12 AM #1
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Promised I'd repost this from the lounge, and I even got nagged to do it, so here we go...
Here's a neat little trick I used to let go of negativity about other people:
When people used to piss me off, I'd go in to WAR mode. I'd start thinking about ways to get the other person back, how to make them feel bad, and how to somehow 'win' at their expense.
Not only did this used to make me feel even worse, it tended to escalate situations to a point where they were having a noticeable impact on my productivity. My ego was making these situations seem far more important than they were, and my energy, thoughts and emotions were focussing on these minor issues, rather than my life goals.
As Lincoln said: "No man who is resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford to take the consequences, including the [corruption] of his temper and the loss of self-control".
One day I decided to flip the script. Rather than asking:
* How can I get back at this person?
* How can I show this person not to mess with me?
* How can I regain my authority?
* How can I help this person?
Not: "How can I help this person, so they realise I'm better than them?" or "How can I be condescending to this person?" or even "How can I lull this person in to a false sense of security so later I can CRUSH him". Just: "What action can I take to help this person reach their goals?"
As you might imagine, this took a gigantic leap of faith!
Let's take an example:
Person X had told me I could stay at his house during a quick visit to London. When I got to London, and contacted him he told me I was no longer welcome after I'd publically disagreed with him - this left me pretty high and dry, and I ended up having to spend much more than I wanted on a hotel room at short notice.
Old me would have:
Made sure all our mutual friends knew what he'd done, and spin the story to make him sound even worse, before attempting to get him banned from a few private forums we're both members of. Then cancelling a couple of business arrangements we have that benefit him marginally more than they benefit me. And of course, removing him as a friend on Facebook, and making sure he found out.
If it sounds petty - it is! But: Real People get caught up in Real Acts of Stupidity when their ego is hurt. What's more, I could easily (in my mind, at least) have justified these actions to a third party: I was enforcing my boundaries; I'd finally seen what kind of person he was; I didn't want someone in my life like that any more; I needed to show him this was unacceptable behaviour, etc etc etc.
What I actually did:
I thought: how can I help this person? I started thinking creatively, and thought of something I was uniquely placed to do to help his business. Then I emailed him, apologised sincerely for having made my disagreement with him so public, and suggested I help him out.
The results were manifold.
First of all, I felt much better. I stopped feeling like a victim - I was being proactive, and was bringing the situation inside my sphere of influence. My helping him led to him reciprocating, and helping me with something else, growing my business. What's more, I felt great. No more focussing on negative emotions, no more focussing on my time, energy, and resources on destructive forces. As Buddha said: "Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love".
My close friend Braddock says (and I think he got it from Dale Carnegie) that "Everyone is the hero of their own story". People always think they're in the right, and that they've acted appropriately, so going in guns blazing is only every going to cause more conflict, more drama, more resentment.
Flipping the situation around and saying "How Can I Help This Person" pushes you back in to the positive, puts you back in control, and will normally lead to mutual benefit for you and the injuring party. It sends your brain the message that you're not a victim, but that you're a powerful person able to take charge of situations - a message that with repition will stick!
01-22-2009, 08:15 AM #2
01-22-2009, 03:59 PM #3.
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Awesome post. When ever someone flames me, like on a message board, I personally do one thing. I go to my computer, pull up a word doc, and write my response. Then I click delete. Helps relieve the pressure and it never sees the light of day.