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GenerativeNLP Newsletter Issue 6

Real life dilemmas. Solved.


Dilemma 6: I regularly find myself having disagreements with people because I don't agree with or like what they're saying

This month's real life dilemma provides you with a technique to help you keep your mouth shut and think before you speak. It's perfect for anyone who finds them selves "ruffling feathers" a little more often than they'd like!

Imagine the feeling of control that you'll have when you're able to just nod and smile when you hear someone say something that you don't agree with or like hearing. The ‘offensive' words will be like water off a ducks back! No uncontrollable compulsion to put them straight and bolster your ego, no need to raise your defenses, and no need to prove them wrong. By looking at three common scenarios we'll present a picture of what it'll be like for you when you've mastered this behaviour and an overview of the individual steps that will help you get there.

A look at what's possible...

Scenario 1 - The nagging friend

You've told a friend about something that you're planning to do, and they don't agree with your plans. They proceed to use a variety of tactics to try and convince you round to their way of thinking, including taking on the role of teacher and trying to educate you, trying to instill fear in you by relaying horror stories, and playing the "It's only because I care about you so much" card. In your mind you assess the relationship that you want to be having with this person, and you decide that in this instance it's not a friendship that you want to put any further time and energy into because it's becoming more and more apparent that each of you has very different beliefs and values about life. You politely bring the conversation to a close without any drama.

Scenario 2 - The group situation

You're in a social or professional group situation and members of the group are saying things that you think is a load of rubbish. You think about what brings this group together (the group's purpose); you remind yourself of your role within the group; and you quickly consider the impact that what you're hearing may or may not have on the group's purpose and its members. The conclusion that you reach is that saying nothing is the best course of action.

Scenario 3 - The relative you adore

A family member that you're close to and see a lot of is clearly ill at ease within himself and this is beginning to show up as a series of health issues and other mini-crisis in his life. Your love for this person and overwhelming desire to help tempts you to jump in with both feet and speak your mind but you don't do this. You think about your intentions for this person, and decide that a more subtle, patient approach would work best.

The 3rd Position Technique

The 3rd position is the same as having a "fly on the wall" perspective. From this perspective you are able to 1) Pause 2) Consider your response options 3) Choose how to respond.

Here's the process to follow:

Trigger: Someone says something that you don't like or don't agree with.

1. Recognize the signals

In the moments leading up to your "un-controlled" response, there will be signals to let you know what's going to occur. The signals might be a change in your breathing, tightness in your stomach, a rise in your body temperature, or a speeding up of your heart beat. The signals will vary for everyone, but without a doubt, the signals are there. Recognize these signals as hazard lights to warn you of what's ahead.

2. Respond to the signals

Interrupt the behaviour pattern that's on course to occur by moving (in your mind's eye) to 3rd position.

3. Pause

Consciously acknowledge to yourself that you have moved to 3rd position to avert a behaviour pattern that you don't want. You could say to yourself "I'm in 3rd position and I'm now in control of how I respond".

4. Consider your response options

Keep your options simple...will you:

a) Let rip and say what's on your mind

b) Keep your mouth shut (for now, or possibly for ever...)

c) Engage in reasoned debate to discuss the issue at hand (caution: good communication skills are needed for this. It's best not to choose this option until you're reasonably confident that you have the skills to prevent it from spiraling out of control. If in doubt, choose option b, and when the time is right re-address the issue - if it still is an issue by then).

5. Choose a, b or c above

6. Implement your choice


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