Fight less, Win more
Today I saw this headline in the International New York Times:
‘Minor argument spiralled into killing.’
It happened in a cinema outside of Tampa where apparently a veteran was texting his babysitter and checking on his young sick child. He was berated by another veteran for using his phone. The end result was a fatal shooting.
It reminded me of an incident that happened to me at Bafta in London, and I am delighted to inform you that no shooting was involved, other than from the hip and mouth! My phone was on silent so I looked at it towards the end of the film’s credits to check that no one had tried to contact me as my mother had been feeling unwell and was swiftly berated by a very angry and vocally forward person, who was then joined by another more timid person who wanted to cash in on the potential venting.
I wonder how things might have gone if I had behaved differently to how I had and what might have happened if we were carrying weapons!
Is there such a thing as a minor argument? There are nearly always triggers that can send seemingly calm, collected and responsible individuals into moments of rage where the tempest roars. Triggers that can send us screaming at our kids or family members, that have us circulating hate mail to our colleagues, or feeling those bubbling and festering internal frustrations when things simply are not going our way and we feel the storm beginning to brew.
This is a subject dear to my heart having lost my cousin to the fatal hands of the Deep South Ku Klux Klan and many members of my family to the Holocaust.
But this blog is not about killing or warring factions in far off lands – it is about you and me and the everyday and what can be done to improve our lives, our relationships and ultimately our world. How we really really can fight less and win more.
Over the years I’ve worked in businesses, in schools, in prisons, in the arts, with NGOs, and with individuals. One of my greatest personal learnings came a very long time ago when I was actually participating in a forum for how to work with difficult people. One particular participant kept shouting at everyone, rarely listened, focused on himself and it was nigh on impossible not to take it personally, or get swept up by his emotions. There was so much fury. My greatest learning came when I discovered how to rise above the noise. It involved just three things.
- Looking inside and calming my fear
- Asking what I could do to help
- Then finding a solution to the problem
This is a fast world so here are 7 fast points to help you fight less:
- When people shout, they feel they are not being heard. Find out what they have to say
- Always remember everyone always thinks they are right
- If an argument starts or someone picks a fight remember it is never about you. It is always about something else
- If the situation is heated stop, breathe and look inside yourself, be present and collected, there is an answer within you
- Remember there is nearly always a moment – a window before a fight really escalates where you can turn the tide
- See yourself as a problem solver. If you can solve the problem for the other person not only will they stop arguing with you – you will gain their respect
- If you accept that the other person’s point of view is theirs then there is nothing to fight about. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them
I heard an argument brewing recently in a public place. One person said to the other “you’re an idiot” Before the man decked the other one I said rather loudly – “You know I own that – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that to myself. I’m an idiot.” It completely dissipated the fight.
Just remember one improved interaction is more than none. The best possible you is the one that pre-empts and puts in the time to figure this out before it explodes. You have the choice to be an ambassador for a better world and a better you. You have nothing to lose – you have much to gain.
If you remember there is always something brewing behind every minor argument and learn how to fight less, you really win more. What will you win? Well, peace of mind, respect, more friends and colleagues, increased time & productivity, and dare I say it, a better life and a better world.
If you want to know more – please feel free to contact me.
© Copyright Sharon Kennet at Coaching Nation 2014 – all rights reserved. Feel free to share.