Mindset Mondays

Monday, 12 February 2018
Conflict Resolution: Admitting Your Mistakes

Many times, conflicts are so much worse because we have reverence for those we are fighting with, we care about them and don’t like the fact that things are going badly. If you can swallow your pride, and prepare to admit your mistakes, instead of preparing your outward appearance, then you might find that the other person will lay their cards out for you too.

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Okay, so it's pretty normal to want to have the best possible outward appearance, even when things are going wrong. I mean, you see this all the time with unstable governments who will do things like hold parades to try to appear strong and prosperous, or failing companies who will put on these lavish conventions so they can appear wealthier than anyone else. I mean, basically, people will do a lot to appear to be stronger or more “in the right” than they may actually be. And this can be especially true in conflict. No one wants to admit that they've made mistakes or acted in a way for which they, you know, should be embarrassed. So people can often put on this face of ultimate confidence and authority when in conflict. And then we all know some people who really can take this tactic to the extreme. They kind of hold on to this outward appearance, even when you may be presenting them with facts that kind of prove that they need to take ownership of something. So, how do you get around that? Well, one really simple way is to lead by example. Instead of trying to put on your own face and act like you're never wrong, come right out of the gate in your conversation with them about everything that you are wrong about. Go ahead and take accountability for anything you said maybe that you didn't mean or that you may have based your argument on false pretenses, or, I mean I do this all the time, even just that you were in a bad mood when the argument started. Kind of admitting that you're wrong not only gets rid of the barrier preventing resolution, but more importantly can completely disarm the other person. Because people never really expect anyone to come right out and admit their faults. So, if you can do that act of swallowing your pride and prepare to admit what your own mistakes are instead of just kind of like coming forward with “I have to present this strong outward appearance,” you might find that the other person will lay all their cards out for you too and you could have a really constructive conversation. So, let us know how that goes for you as you practice it and good luck. Thanks!

Monday, 5 February 2018
Conflict Resolution: Disagreeing with Someone Respectfully

Imagine what the world would be like if we all agreed on everything. There'd be less arguments and whole lot less of conflict but unfortunately, that's not reality. We all have our own thoughts, opinions, and values -- which means disagreements can be pretty common, especially in the workplace. In today's Mindset Monday, Ashley Virtue explain the difference between disagreeing and disagreeing respectfully.

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In our technology saturated climate, we can be kind of subliminally influenced by the way we see others act, especially when we are constantly bombarded by viral videos and news of people in conflict. Whether it's entire political parties or even just two people fighting in a store, our ability to see these conflicts like moments after they happen can have a profound impact on how we see others and how we react to people when we're in disagreement with them. So, it's really easy to get lost in kind of that apathetic feeling and say, “Well if they don't respect my feelings, then I'm not going to respect theirs.” Especially because we're bombarded by those negative interactions of the world, you know, it's hard to take the time to realize that not all disagreements have to become arguments. And so, but realizing that fact is really important. It's an important tool in learning how to change the way you can approach conflict. We all get heated when it comes to disagreeing with someone, but really that doesn't mean that we need to aggressively argue with them. A lot of the negativity that can sprout from a disagreement kind of comes from the way you handle an opposing view, not from the mere fact that you have an opposing view. So, just think about that next time you're having a disagreement with someone or looking at things differently than they do. Ask yourself, “Does this have to turn into a big issue or can I respectfully disagree with this person?” Thanks.

Monday, 29 January 2018
Conflict Resolution: Seeing the Bigger Picture

When we’re in conflict and dealing with a frustrating situation, it’s easy to focus on the pieces of the puzzle that don’t fit, instead of looking at the bigger picture

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Puzzles. Okay, so I love puzzles. But not everyone does. Putting a puzzle together can be challenging, right? Especially when you get into it and you suddenly hit a point, where you can't find the piece that fits, you get super frustrated and spend all this time focusing on the part of the puzzle that you can't quite figure out. Or, sometimes what I do, you start on another part and you work your way back to the problem piece. So when we're in conflict and dealing with a frustrating situation, it's really easy to focus on the pieces of the puzzle that don't fit instead of looking at the bigger picture - what the puzzle is going to ultimately be. But it's important to always see that bigger picture and know when to let go of the pieces that frustrate you, or move on. Not only does letting go of the difficult pieces kind of help you keep a leveled head, but sometimes kind of tackling a conflict from a completely different direction can help you make some progress and you might come up with a better resolution. I mean, you never know. You might end up finding the perfect place for that difficult piece after all. So keep that in mind next time you're dealing with the conflict. Think about that big picture and maybe approaching the puzzle from a different angle. Thanks so much, we'll see you next week.

Monday, 22 January 2018
Seek First to Understand: The Importance of Seeing Both Sides

So much in the day and age of notifications and minute-to-minute news, we get bombarded with so much information, that we end up paying attention to what we CHOOSE to pay attention.

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We live in the day and age of notifications and minute-to-minute news. We get bombarded with so much information that it's easy to end up just paying attention to what we CHOOSE to pay attention to. And honestly, doing this is inevitable. I mean, no one can take in all of the information that gets thrown at us anymore. But, the bad side is that when we do this, we tend to cherry pick information. We remember the things that we agree with and maybe remember the things that make us upset. And even when we willfully seek out information, we often tend to get our information from sources that confirm our preconceived beliefs or ideas. Or we might even get our information from neutral sources and interpret that information in a way that supports our view. But what many of us never do is go out of our way to look for things from the other side. For example, if you identify as a liberal - when was the last time you went to the conservative news website? If you're a conservative, when was the last time you turned your TV into a liberal news network? How much have you actually read about what the core differences are between political parties - what truly ideologically differentiates the two? A lot of us have never even really taken any time to understand what the opposing side truly stands for. And as a result, we often find ourselves in a gridlock as a society. So, the reason we suggest that you do these things is simple. The more you understand about what those you disagree with truly believe, the easier it will be to find common ground and make your point heard. It benefits everyone if we all understand what we truly disagree on instead of what we THINK we disagree on. Thank you so much for tuning into Mindset Monday, we hope you found this helpful especially as we're now in the new year. I also wanted to share that I'm sporting my new NCRC shirt, hope you like it. And we are looking forward, as we said last week, to providing you with a lot of great tips and tools in 2018. So, we'll see you next week. Thank you.

Monday, 15 January 2018
Diane Takvorian: Community Hero

Here is some Mindset Monday inspiration from Diane Takvorian, co-founder of the Environmental Health Coalition and recently named KPBS and National Conflict Resolution Center - NCRC Community Hero. #SDHeroes

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
The Art of Letting Go

In the spirit of the new year, Ashley Virtue covers the art of letting go so that you can focus your attention and energy on things that are more fulfilling.

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Hi and happy Mindset Monday! In the spirit of the new year we thought we would talk today about letting go. Throughout our lives we are thrown into the mix of people that are often much different from us and sometimes we have to work with these people to achieve maybe a common goal. Maybe that's in a professional work setting or a group project in school, or on a sports team. But inevitably you meet someone that just kind of rubs you the wrong way for one reason or another. And sometimes we can get a little bit obsessed with our dislike of another person, whether that's for a good reason or not a good reason. And so, it's important to realize that these types of situations can often escalate quickly for you and turn something that was maybe an annoyance into something that really is zapping a lot of your energy. So why do that to yourself? There's a story about a British soldier in World War II who was a radio engineer and was captured by the Japanese army. This gentleman was held as a POW for years before he was released. And out of all of the people that tortured him during his imprisonment, there was this one person who stood out to him. A man named Nagase Takashi. And so for decades after the war this soldier tried to track down Nagase with every intention of exacting revenge on him. But when he finally found Nagase, something really amazing happened. Nagase broke down in tears really crying and showing remorse over his heart and the guilt of what he had done during the war. And so, for this British soldier, he was not the person that he had dreamed up in his mind that he wanted to exact revenge on all of those years ago. He was someone who actually felt he could relate to. And at the end of the day he ended up being able to forgive him and the amazing thing is that this British soldier and this Japanese soldier ended up becoming lifelong friends and even writing a book together. All of that was because they were both willing to let go the pain that had happened before. And so for yourself, as you consider maybe people that have been in your past or people right now that are affecting you negatively, think about how you could let some of those situations go for your own benefit. Because it's really not worth carrying around all of that negativity with you. It's not to say that there aren't situations where you need to deal with and address the issue head-on - we absolutely believe in that. But there are some things that are just meant to be let go so you can move on. So, challenge yourself with that and see what happens for you. We're here to be a resource and provide you tools if needed. Thank you so much, we'll see you next week.

Monday, 25 December 2017
Set An Intention for 2018

Happy Holidays from all of us at National Conflict Resolution Center - NCRC! As we approach the last week of the year, we want to do a fun challenge with you.  Visit our YouTube channel and post a positive word for 2018 that starts with the 1st letter of your name.

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Happy holidays from NCRC! We hope you've had a wonderful 2017 and, as we approach this last week of the year, we wanted to do a fun challenge with you. In the comments below please post one word that you can think of that is a positive goal for 2018. And so, we thought to spice it up a little bit, we would make a little alliteration game of it and say that you should post a positive word that starts with the first letter of your first name. So, my name is Ashley and so my word is that I want to be adventurous in 2018. We really look forward to hearing the positive things that you want to accomplish in 2018 and we're excited to connect with you next year and keep the Mindset Mondays going. Thanks so much!

Monday, 18 December 2017
Holiday Conflicts: How to Avoid Them

To prevent holiday conflict, let's take a look at the ten most common holiday hangups and what you can do to avoid them.

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Happiest of holidays to you from NCRC! And we know that while the holidays are an absolutely joyous time, sometimes there can be conflict that springs up while you're celebrating with family. So we thought we would run through what we discovered are the top 10 conflicts that can occur on a regular basis and then talk about some of the overarching themes to keep in mind as you encounter them. So:

  1. Getting a gift that you don't want.
  2. Eating food you don't want to have to eat.
  3. You found out your gift was regifted.
  4. Early risers way too enthusiastic for that early in the morning.
  5. People feeding your pets food off the table, you've worked hard to break that habit!
  6. The one-upper.
  7. You have a great Christmas sweater and then someone complements it as a great ugly Christmas sweater.
  8. Getting asked when you're going to get married or have kids.
  9. Someone brings an uninvited guest, awkward.
  10. The classic family member who drinks way too much. 

So remember, if you've encountered any of these things during your holiday celebration, keep in mind the overarching message of the season, which is that this is about time with family. Don't let the little things stress you out, enjoy the positives that are in front of you and look forward to a new year.

Monday, 11 December 2017
Civility is NOT Inaction

"Civility is NOT inaction. In fact, civility might be the hardest action you can take."
- Ashley Virtue, Dir. of External Relations #MindsetMonday

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Hi everyone, welcome to Mindset Monday. Hope you had a great weekend. Today I want to talk about something that's been coming up a lot with us here at the National Conflict Resolution Center and I think it's a pretty interesting topic. There have been some people who have come to us and said, “You know, this idea of civility is great, but now is not the time for civility. There are injustices going on in the world and we need to stand up and push back against them.” And we just wanted to address that really quickly, because I think there's a big misconception about what civility is. Civility is NOT inaction. In fact, civility might be the hardest action you can take. Let me explain that for a second. When you're acting with civility, essentially when you're acting with respect and taking the time to dialogue with others, you're not telling them that what they're doing is fine, you're not telling them that they can just go on and do their way because you're rolling over and handing over your opinion. But you're engaging with them in a way where they might actually hear you. So the point is kind of this, if there are injustices going on in the world and if there are things that you really feel passionate about that need to change, isn't acting in a strategic way that has a shot at changing people's minds the best way to approach the situation? I know for myself when someone approaches me and tells me that I am wrong in my thinking, all it does is entrench me in my ideas. And so that's probably what's happening if you're out there telling people they are wrong about the way they're thinking. Instead if you can approach them in a way where you let them know you disagree with them and why, but come to that conversation from a place of understanding and really wanting to hear from them, they might feel like they could let their guard down a little bit and share with you some of their thoughts and reasoning. Then you might be in a place, for the first time, where you can talk to them about why they feel that way and see if there are ways that they might move from their position. All I'm saying is that if these things are so important, we should all be doing a much harder thing, which is sit down and invest in these conversations, not just stand up and wag our fingers in people's faces and tell them they're wrong. Now, there are always times where something is very wrong. If a crime is happening or someone is being hurt and you have to step in, you have to get authority involved, you need to do something right then in that moment - we get that. But the reality is that most of the time we're just engaged in conversations that feel uncomfortable that we don't like. And if we're really really caring about this, we should be taking the time to try to engage with one another in a way that is civil and is respectful. It's probably the only way that we're gonna move forward. Let us know what you think about that, we're excited to hear your feedback and, you know, at National Conflict Resolution Center this is what we do. We have lots of tools and techniques to help you if you don't know how you could do that. Give us a call or visit our website, check it out! All right, thanks everyone. Hope you have a great week and we'll see you next Monday.

Monday, 4 December 2017
Conflict Resolution: Protect Yourself from High-Conflict Personalities

You don't have to attend every argument that you're invited to. In today's #MindsetMonday video, Ashley Virtue shares tips on how you can avoid conflict by not taking the bait and how silence can sometimes be your friend.

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Hi and welcome to Mindset Monday. Today we are going to talk about taking the bait and when not to. Sometimes I know we can really surprise ourselves when it comes to handling disagreements and we can act in ways that really don't help the situation when it comes to escalating. And so this happens a lot of time because there's usually that one person in our lives that knows exactly when and where to push our buttons and kind of send us over the edge. So, maybe that is a colleague of yours or like an ex of yours, or even a family member, but when it comes to them you can have the slightest disagreement with this person and they just drop one line and it will send you steaming. Even when you know it's coming, right? And you recognize that they know how to push your buttons, they still know exactly what to do to get you to lose your composure. And a lot of times these people will use your lack of control against you in these situations, and suddenly make you feel like you are in the wrong even when maybe you weren't initially. For example, they might have done something that was clearly wrong, but when you confront them about it and you lose control, you maybe say something mean or inappropriate, suddenly it's a leveled playing field - now you've both done something wrong. And instead of them needing to apologize to you for the initial grievance, you now kind of have to apologize for what they provoked you to do. So, it's really important to recognize that this is bait and just to try to divert yourself the other way. Realize that not every insult or passive-aggressive remark needs an answer. Silence can sometimes be your friend. When you ignore taking this bait, you give this other person no ammo to really use against you. And then they only have to look at themselves and things that could escalate into a huge argument and end in other frustration just kind of fizzle out. I know it's hard not to let these people's words get to you, but it's important to remember that staying calm and keeping your composure is a lot easier than letting this person get to you over and over again and ultimately having to apologize yourself for something you might not have wanted to do in the first place. So, keep that in mind this week, good luck with it, and we'll see you next Monday. Thanks!