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The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

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The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
– Big up Mr. Money Moustache for the recommendation.
– Talks about mediocrity and all kinds of excuse-itis – health, age, intelligence.
– Use big and positive words and phrases everywhere especially with people.
– Mostly pretty basic stuff like using creativity, always be open, try different things, work smart, etc.

How to use the magic of thinking big in life’s most crucial situations
A. When Little People Try to Drive You Down, THINK BIG
B. When That “I-Haven’t-Got-What-It-Takes” Feeling Creeps Up on You, THINK BIG
C. When an Argument or Quarrel Seems Inevitable, THINK BIG.
D. When You Feel Defeated, THINK BIG.
E. When Romance Starts to Slip, THINK BIG
F. When You Feel Your Progress on the Job Is Slowing Down, THINK BIG

Contents
1 – Believe You Can Succeed and You Will
2 – Cure Yourself of Excusitis, the Failure Disease
3 – Build Confidence And Destroy Fear
4 – How To Think Big
5 – How To Think And Dream Creatively
6 – You Are What You Think You Are
7 – Manage Your Environment: Go First Class
8 – Make Your Attitudes Your Allies
9 – Think Right Toward People
10 – Get The Action Habit
11 – How To Turn Defeat Into Victory
12 – Use Goals To Help You Grow
13 – How To Think Like A Leader

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Insults and Putdowns – Dealing with them & Responses

The first part is about dealing with insults and putdowns while the second goes deeper into responses.

Part 1 – How to Deal With Insults and Put-Downs by Neel Burton
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Insults can be physical, such as punching, slapping, or spitting. More usually, they are verbal, whether direct or indirect. Examples of indirect verbal insults are jokes and ironic comments, backhanded compliments, mimicry, and false fascination. Ocular and facial expressions can substitute for speech; and things like a cold or constant stare, a false or exaggerated smile, or a raised eyebrow can, depending on their intention, also count as indirect verbal insults.

All of the above involve actively doing something, and therefore count as insults of commission. But insults of omission are equally if not more common. Examples of insults of omission are not inviting or including someone, not deferring to her age or rank, and not responding to her friendly gestures, including basic eye contact.

So, what is the best way of dealing with all these insults?

1. Anger.
This is the weakest possible response, and this for three main reasons. First, it shows that we take the insult, and therefore the insulter, seriously. Second, it suggests that there is truth in the insult. And third, it upsets and hurts us—which can invite further insults.

2. Acceptance
This may seem like a very weak response, but in many cases is actually the strongest response of all. When someone insults us, we ought to consider three things: whether the insult is true, who it came from, and why. If the insult is true or largely true, the person it came form is reasonable, and his motive is worthy, then the insult is not an insult but a statement of fact and, what’s more, one that is potentially very helpful to us. Thus, we seldom take offense at our teacher, parent, or best friend.

In general, if you respect the person who insulted you, you ought to give thought to the insult and learn as much as you can from it. On the other hand, if you think that the person who insulted you is unworthy of your consideration, you have no reason to take offense, just as you have no reason to take offense at a naughty child or barking dog. So whatever the case, you have no reason to take offense.

3. Returning the insult
There are several problems with the put-down, even if it is a very clever one. First, it does have to be clever, and, second, it has to occur to us at just the right moment. But even if we are as sharp as Oscar Wilde, a witty put-down is unlikely to be our best defence. The problem with the put-down, however witty it may be, is that it tends to equalize us with our insulter, raising him up to our level and bringing us down to his. This gives him and his insult far too much credibility. The witty put-down should only be used among friends, and only to add to the merriment. And it should be followed by something like a toast or a pat on the shoulder. In other words, it should only ever be used for humor.

4. Humor
Humor is an especially effective response for three reasons: it undermines the insult, it brings the audience (if any) on side, and it diffuses the tension of the situation. Here is an example of the effective use of humor. Cato the Younger, the Roman statesman and stoic philosopher, was pleading a case when his adversary Lentulus spat in his face. After wiping off the spittle, Cato said, ‘I will sweat to anyone, Lentulus, that people are wrong to say that you cannot use your mouth.’

Sometimes, it might even be appropriate to exaggerate or add to the insult so as to make a mockery of the insulter and, by extension, the insult: ‘Ah, if only had known me better, you would have found greater fault still!’

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5. Ignoring the insult
One downside of humor is that it requires quick thinking. In contrast, ignoring the insulting is easier and, in fact, more powerful. One day, a boor struck Cato while he was out at the public baths. When the boor realized that it was Cato whom he had struck, he came to apologize. Instead of getting angry or accepting his apology, Cato replied, ‘I don’t remember being struck.’ Subtext: ‘You are so insignificant that I don’t even care to register your apology, let alone take offense at your insult.’

In conclusion, we need never take offense at an insult. Offense exists not in the insult but in our reaction to it, and our reactions are completely within our control. It is unreasonable to expect a boor to be anything but a boor; if we take offense at his bad behaviour, we have only ourselves to blame.

Acknowledgement: The principal ideas and examples in this chapter are from A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine.

Part 2 – First-Class Responses to Second-Class Putdowns By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D
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Wouldn’t it be great if people went out of their way to appreciate what you did right instead of berating you for what you did wrong? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if people nixed their insults, squelched their criticisms and, instead, supported and encouraged you? Before you interrupt my starry-eyed fantasy, let me enjoy my moment of reverie.

Okay, micro-vacation over. Back to reality, where people blame and criticize all the time — and that’s on their good days! On their bad days, they throw in insults, curses, ridicule and humiliation.

When you’re on the receiving end of such put-downs, how should you respond?

Most people are familiar with only three strategies:
– Explain or justify why you did what you did
– Respond offensively by attacking the attacker.
– Say nothing and silently stew.

Such responses frequently result in attacks and counterattacks or passive-aggressive behavior laced with blame and shame. Thus, it’s a good idea to expand your repertoire of responses. Here are seven ideas for you to try on:

1. Agree with what’s been said. Disagree with the negative value judgment.
“Yes, I agree. My room is a mess. No need to call me names, though. I’ll clean it up this evening. Promise.”

2. Respond to what’s happening (the process), not to what was said(the content).
“I can see you’re upset with me. Can you calmly explain what I did that’s bothering you?”

3. Agree that you did something wrong and apologize.
“Yes, I should have called earlier to cancel. I apologize. I’d like to set another date now if that’s OK with you.”

4. Disagree but try to understand the other person’s viewpoint.
“I didn’t think I did anything wrong but I see you’re upset. Tell me more about what’s upsetting to you so I can understand.”

5. Enlighten the person about your sensitivities.
“I feel demeaned when you use that tone of voice with me. You may think there’s nothing wrong with it, but it feels patronizing to me.”

6. Offer the person another way to phrase what he said.
“I don’t mind if you call me ‘sensitive’ but it feels like a putdown when you say I’m ‘overly sensitive.’

7. Be succinct.
Often, the less you say, the more powerful your message. “The name you just called me is totally unacceptable. I don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

If you believe that you’ve been unfairly put down, your goal should be to respond with valuable, constructive information in a confident, strong tone of voice.

You may also find this post helpful – How to Handle Criticism and Negativity

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Excellent Talk on Negotiations – How Creatives Should Negotiate by Ramit Sethi

Excellent Talk on Negotiations – How Creatives Should Negotiate by Ramit Sethi

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My Notes:
– Reframes negotiating as a good thing and you can use it anywhere! Gyms, credit cards, phone companies, etc.
– Gives you scrips you can good. Links with other goodies below.
– Build rapport by talking about how long you’ve been with them. Stay cool.
– Ask what else can they do or offer.
– What to do when others negotiate with you.
– Ask open ended questions not yes or no questions.
– In a job interview never answer salary requirements question.
– Women find it harder to ask but they also smile more which helps.
– How to take or turn down offers that are close to what you do like wedding photography. I don’t have the equipment right now, I’m not an expert but I’ll try.
– Don’t feel bad for charging what your worth is and first sell yourself to yourself. Creatives should not underestimate themselves. Don’t feel bad monetising your work. Don’t defend yourself, take it or leave it.
– Start of with an hourly rate and see what competitors charge.
– When you work for free tell them what your normal rate is and say you’re doing it because you want 3 referrals or whatever condition you decide because sometimes there are other things more valuable than money.
– Be prepared to answer ‘your greatest weakness’ question. Tell a good story as humans cannot stop listening to a good story.

Show notes from original post on Tim’s blog – http://tim.blog/2016/06/15/how-creatives-should-negotiate/
Optimizing your spending with credit card companies, cable and telephone providers, the gym — you name it. [07:46]
Ramit’s word-for-word negotiation script (tested with tens of thousands of people and multiple companies). [11:43]
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about negotiating. [13:01]
Mock negotiation (waiving a credit card late fee). [14:50]
The importance of rapport. [17:28]
Is rent negotiable? [18:50]
Negotiating even when you’ve already got the best price in town. [21:21]
How can you negotiate if you don’t have a perfect track record or the advantage of being a long-time customer? [22:28]
What to do when clients use your negotiation tactics on you? [23:18]
Are there gender differences in negotiation? [25:32]
How to answer the “What are your salary requirements?” question. [28:19]
The difference between theory and practice in negotiation. [31:21]
Your credit card was just sold to a new company. How long should you wait to negotiate with the new company? [31:55]
Can you negotiate insurance? [33:34]
Can you negotiate with monopolies? [34:32]
What Ramit learned by videotaping his negotiation style that changed everything. [35:43]
Why being “too busy” is a good problem for creatives to have. [43:08]
How to overcome the mindset of “I hate selling myself.” [43:53]
Understanding the needs of your client base, upping your rate, and justifying it (to yourself) without guilt. [50:25]
When you’re comfortable with your rates, you can be okay when clients say “No thanks.” [53:54]
Finding ways to overdeliver. [56:40]
How do introverts talk business? [57:47]
How much should you charge? [59:12]
Should you ever work for free? [1:00:40]
How to go from one client to many. [1:05:55]
How do you research what your competitors are charging when many of them don’t discuss it until they’re trying to close a sale? [1:08:10]
How do you handle price shoppers? [1:10:41]
For hourly consulting, is it better to price in packages? [1:13:22]
Do you have to tell a story to convey emotion every time you’re pitching a client? [1:14:52]
How powerful is a smile? [1:17:35]
How to answer, “What is your greatest weakness?” [1:20:56]
Reiterating the importance of storytelling. [1:26:44]
How to answer the “Among all candidates, why should I choose you?” question. [1:28:13]
How can you practice? [1:36:14]

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Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project

Difficult Conversations
I have tried to keep the notes as neat as possible. You can find another great summary here –
http://www.fscanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Difficult-Conversations-Summary.pdf

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– 3 Conversation
1. The “What Happened?” Conversation. Most difficult conversations involve disagreement about what has happened or what should happen. Who said what and who did what? Who’s right, who meant what, and who’s to blame?
2. The Feelings Conversation. Are my feelings valid? Appropriate? Should I acknowledge or deny them, put them on the table or check them at the door? What do I do about the other person’s feelings? What if they are angry or hurt? These feelings are not addressed directly in the conversation, but they leak in anyway.
3. The Identity Conversation. This is the conversation we each have with ourselves about what this situation means to us. We conduct an internal debate over whether this means we are competent or incompetent, a good person or bad, worthy of love or unlovable. What impact might it have on our self-image and self-esteem, our future and our well-being? Our answers to these questions determine in large part whether we feel “balanced” during the conversation, or whether we feel off-center and anxious.

– 3 fronts — Truth, Intentions, Blame
1. The Truth Assumption. As we argue vociferously for our view, we often fail to question one crucial assumption upon which our whole stance in the conversation is built: I am right, you are wrong. This simple assumption causes endless grief. There’s only one hitch: I am not right. They are not about what is true, they are about what is important. (Paras note: Something I say about relationships. Either one person wins/is right or the relationship wins/is right)
2. The Intention Invention. Did you yell at me to hurt my feelings or merely to emphasize your point? What I think about your intentions will affect how I think about you and, ultimately, how our conversation goes. We assume we know the intentions of others when we don’t. Worse still, when we are unsure about someone’s intentions, we too often decide they are bad. Sometimes people act with mixed intentions. Sometimes they act with no intention, or at least none related to us. And sometimes they act on good intentions that nonetheless hurt us.
3. The Blame Frame. Most difficult conversations focus significant attention on who’s to blame for the mess we’re in. We don’t care where the ball lands, as long as it doesn’t land on us. But talking about fault is similar to talking about truth—it produces disagreement, denial, and little learning. It evokes fears of punishment and insists on an either/or answer. Nobody wants to be blamed, especially unfairly, so our energy goes into defending ourselves. Talking about blame distracts us from exploring why things went wrong and how we might correct them going forward. Focusing instead on understanding the contribution system allows us to learn about the real causes of the problem, and to work on correcting them. The distinction between blame and contribution may seem subtle. But it is a distinction worth working to understand, because it will make a significant difference in your ability to handle difficult conversations.

– Why We Argue, and Why It Doesn’t Help. We think they are the problem. They think we are the problem. We each make sense in our story of what happened. Arguing blocks us from exploring each other’s stories. Arguing without understanding is unpersuasive.

– Move from Certainty to Curiosity. Curiosity: the way into their story. Embrace both stories: adopt the “and stance”. They can feel one thing and you can feel something totally opposite. Exceptions are I really am right (caught daughter smoking) and giving bad news (firing/breaking up).

– Disentangle Impact and Intent. Separating impact from intentions requires us to be aware of the automatic leap from “I was hurt” to “You intended to hurt me.” You can make this distinction by asking yourself three questions: 1. Actions: “What did the other person actually say or do?” 2. Impact: “What was the impact of this on me?” 3. Assumption: “Based on this impact, what assumption am I making about what the other person intended?” Share the Impact on You; Inquire About Their Intentions.

– Listen for Feelings, and Reflect on Your Intentions. When we find ourselves being accused of bad intentions — we have a strong tendency to want to defend ourselves: “That is not what I intended.” We are defending our intentions and our character. However, as we’ve seen, starting here leads to trouble.

– Listen Past the Accusation for the Feelings. Accusation about our bad intentions is always made up of two separate ideas: (1) we had bad intentions and (2) the other person was frustrated, hurt, or embarrassed. Don’t pretend they aren’t saying the first. You’ll want to respond to it. But neither should you ignore the second. And if you start by listening and acknowledging the feelings, and then return to the question of intentions, it will make your conversation significantly easier and more constructive.

– Be Open to Reflecting on the Complexity of Your Intentions. When it comes time to consider your intentions, try to avoid the tendency to say, “My intentions were pure.” We usually think that about ourselves, and sometimes it’s true. But often, as we’ve seen, intentions are more complex.

– Blame Is About Judging, and Looks Backward. Contribution Is About Understanding, and Looks Forward. Contribution is joint and interactive.

– Three Misconceptions About Contribution.
1: I should focus only on my contribution.
2: putting aside blame means putting aside my feelings.
3: exploring contribution means, “blaming the victim”.

– Four Hard-to-Spot Contributions.
1. Avoiding until now.
2. Being unapproachable.
3. Intersections.
4. Problematic role assumptions.

– Two Tools for Spotting Contribution. Role reversal. The observer’s insight.

– Map the Contribution System. What are they contributing? What am I contributing? List each person’s contribution. My contributions. His contributions. Who else is involved? Take responsibility for your contribution early. Help them understand their contribution. Make your observations and reasoning explicit. Clarify what you would have them do differently.

– Don’t Vent: Describe Feelings Carefully.
1. Frame feelings back into the problem.
2. Express the full spectrum of your feelings.
3. Don’t evaluate — just share. Express your feelings without judging, attributing, or blaming. Don’t monopolize: both sides can have strong feelings at the same time. An easy reminder: say “I feel . . . .”

– The Importance of Acknowledgment. What does it mean to acknowledge someone’s feelings? It means letting the other person know that what they have said has made an impression on you, that their feelings matter to you, and that you are working to understand them. “Wow,” you might say, “I never knew you felt that way,” or, “I kind of assumed you were feeling that, and I’m glad you felt comfortable enough with me to share it,” or, “It sounds like this is really important to you.” Let them know that you think understanding their perspective is important, and that you are trying to do so: “Before I give you a sense of what’s going on with me, tell me more about your feeling that I talk down to you.” Sometimes feelings are all that matter.

– Three Core Identities. Am I competent? Am I a good person? Am I worthy of love?

– Vulnerable Identities: the all-or-nothing syndrome. Denial. Exaggeration. We let their feedback define who we are.

– Ground Your Identity.
1: become aware of your identity issues.
2: complexify your identity (adopt the And Stance).

– Three Things to Accept About Yourself.
1. You will make mistakes.
2. Your intentions are complex.
3. You have contributed to the problem.

– Learn to Regain Your Balance. Let go of trying to control their reaction. Prepare for their response. Imagine that it’s three months or ten years from now. Take a break.

-Three Kinds of Conversations That Don’t Make Sense.
1: is the real conflict inside you?
2: is there a better way to address the issue than talking about it?
3: do you have purposes that make sense?

– Remember, You Can’t Change Other People. Don’t focus on short-term relief at long-term cost. Don’t hit-and-run. Letting go. Adopt some liberating assumptions. It’s not my responsibility to make things better; it’s my responsibility to do my best. They have limitations too. This conflict is not who I am. Letting go doesn’t mean I no longer care. Create a learning conversation.

– If You Raise It: Three Purposes That Work.
1. Learning their story.
2. Expressing your views and feelings.
3. Problem-solving together.

– Why Our Typical Openings Don’t Help. We begin inside our own story. We trigger their identity conversation from the start.

– Getting Started.
1: Begin from the Third Story. For example, in the battle between bicycles and cars for the streets of the city, the third story would be the one told by city planners, who can understand each side’s concerns and see why each group is frustrated with the other. When tensions arise in a marriage, the third story might be the one offered by a marriage counselor. In a dispute between friends, the third story may be the perspective of a mutual friend who sees each side as having valid concerns that need to be addressed. Think like a mediator. Not right or wrong, not better or worse – just different. If they start the conversation, you can still step to the third story.
2: Extend an Invitation. Describe your purposes. Invite, don’t impose. Make them your partner in figuring it out. Be persistent.

– “I Wonder If It Would Make Sense . . . ?” Revisiting conversations gone wrong. Talk about how to talk about it. A map for going forward: third story, their story, your story.

– What to Talk About: The Three Conversations (What Happened? Feeling. Identity). Explore where each story comes from. Share the impact on you. Take responsibility for your contribution. Describe feelings. Reflect on the identity issues. How to talk about it: listening, expression, and problem-solving.

– Listening to Them Helps Them Listen to You. The stance of curiosity: how to listen from the inside out. Forget the words, focus on authenticity. The commentator in your head: become more aware of your internal voice. Don’t turn it off, turn it up. Managing your internal voice. Negotiate your way to curiosity. Don’t listen: talk.

– Three Skills: 1: Inquiry, 2: Paraphrasing, and 3: Acknowledgment.
1: Inquire to Learn – don’t make statements disguised as questions. Don’t use questions to cross-examine. Ask open-ended questions. Ask for more concrete information. Create a learning conversation. Examples – can you say a little more about how you see things? What information might you have that I don’t? How do you see it differently? What impact have my actions had on you? Can you say a little more about why you think this is my fault? Were you reacting to something I did? How are you feeling about all of this? Say more about why this is important to you? What would it mean to you if that happened? Make it safe for them not to answer.
2: Paraphrase for Clarity – check your understanding. Show that you’ve heard. Create a learning conversation.
3: Acknowledge Their Feelings (Paras note: big one for me) – answer the invisible questions. How to acknowledge. Order matters: acknowledge before problem-solving. Acknowledging is not agreeing.
A final thought: empathy is a journey, not a destination

– Failure to Express Yourself Keeps You Out of the Relationship. Feel entitled, feel encouraged, but don’t feel obligated. Start with what matters most. Say what you mean: don’t make them guess. Don’t rely on subtext. Avoid easing in. Don’t make your story simplistic: use the “me-me” and.

Telling Your Story with Clarity: Three Guidelines.
1. Don’t Present Your Conclusions as The Truth.
2. Share Where Your Conclusions Come From.
3. Don’t Exaggerate with “Always” and “Never”.
“Always” and “never” do a pretty good job of conveying frustration, but they have two serious drawbacks. First, it is seldom strictly accurate that someone criticizes every time, or that they haven’t at some point said something positive. Using such words invites an argument over the question of frequency: “That’s not true. I said several nice things to you last year when you won the interoffice new idea competition”—a response that will most likely increase your exasperation.

“Always” and “never” also make it harder — rather than easier — for the other person to consider changing their behavior. In fact, “always” and “never” suggest that change will be difficult or impossible. The implicit message is, “What is wrong with you such that you are driven to criticize my clothes?” or even “You are obviously incapable of acting like a normal person.”

A better approach is to proceed as if (however hard it may be to believe) the other person is simply unaware of the impact of their actions on you, and, being a good person, would certainly wish to change their behavior once they became aware of it. You could say something like: “When you tell me my suit reminds you of wrinkled old curtains, I feel hurt. Criticizing my clothes feels like an attack on my judgment and makes me feel incompetent.” If you can also suggest what you would wish to hear instead, so much the better: “I wish I could feel more often like you believed in me. It would really feel great to hear even something as simple as, ‘I think that color looks good on you.’ Anything, as long as it was positive.”

The key is to communicate your feelings in a way that invites and encourages the recipient to consider new ways of behaving, rather than suggesting they’re a schmuck and it’s too bad there’s nothing they can do about it.

– Give Them Room to Change. Help them understand you. Ask them to paraphrase back. Ask how they see it differently — and why.

– You can reframe anything. The ‘you-me’ and (I can try to understand you and you can try to understand me). It’s always the right time to listen. Be persistent about listening. It takes two to agree. Gather information and test your perceptions. Say what is still missing. Say what would persuade you. Ask what (if anything) would persuade them. Ask their advice. Invent options. Ask what standards should apply. The principle of mutual caretaking. If you still can’t agree, consider your alternatives.

– Putting It All Together. (See below checklist for more details). 1: prepare by walking through the three conversations. 2: check your purposes and decide whether to raise it. 3: start from the third story. 4: explore their story and yours. 5: problem-solving.

– Expression: Speak for Yourself with Clarity and Power. Orators need not apply. You’re entitled (yes, you). Failure to express yourself keeps you out of the relationship. Feel entitled, feel encouraged, but don’t feel obligated. Start with what matters most. Say what you mean: don’t make them guess. Don’t rely on subtext. Avoid easing in.

– Don’t Make Your Story Simplistic: Use the “Me-Me” And. “This memo shows incredible creativity, and at the same time is so badly organized that it makes me crazy.” In your attempt to be clear, you say, “Your memo is so badly organized it makes me crazy,” or worse, “Your memo makes me crazy.”

– Problem-Solving: Take the Lead. Reframe, reframe, reframe! You can reframe anything. The “you-me” and (“I can listen and understand what you have to say, and you can listen and understand what I have to say.”). It’s always the right time to listen. Name the dynamic: make the trouble explicit. Now what? Begin to problem-solve. It takes two to agree.

– Gather Information and Test Your Perceptions. Propose crafting a test. Say what is still missing. Say what would persuade you. Ask what (if anything) would persuade them. Ask their advice. Invent options. Ask what standards should apply. The principle of mutual caretaking. If you still can’t agree, consider your alternatives.

– Difficult conversation checklist
Step 1: Prepare by Walking Through the Three Conversations
– Sort out What Happened. Where does your story come from (information, past experiences, rules)? Theirs? What impact has this situation had on you? What might their intentions have been? 
What have you each contributed to the problem?
– Understand Emotions. 
Explore your emotional footprint, and the bundle of emotions you experience.
– Ground Your Identity. What’s at stake for you about you? What do you need to accept to be better grounded?

Step 2: Check Your Purposes and Decide Whether to Raise the Issue
– Purposes: What do you hope to accomplish by having this conversation? Shift your stance to support learning, sharing, and problem-solving.
– Deciding: Is this the best way to address the issue and achieve your purposes? Is the issue really embedded in your Identity Conversation? Can you affect the problem by changing your contributions? If you don’t raise it, what can you do to help yourself let go?

Step 3: Start from the Third Story
– Describe the problem as the difference between your stories. Include both viewpoints as a legitimate part of the discussion.
– Share your purposes.
– Invite them to join you as a partner in sorting out the situation together.

Step 4: Explore Their Story and Yours
– Listen to understand their perspective on what happened. Ask questions. Acknowledge the feelings behind the arguments and accusations. Paraphrase to see if you’ve got it. Try to unravel how the two of you got to this place.
– Share your own viewpoint, your past experiences, intentions, feelings.
– Reframe, reframe, reframe to keep on track. From truth to perceptions, blame to
contribution, accusations to feelings, and so on.

Step 5: Problem-Solving
– Invent options that meet each side’s most important concerns and interests.
– Look to standards for what should happen. Keep in mind the standard of mutual caretaking; relationships that always go one way rarely last.
– Talk about how to keep communication open as you go forward.

Contents:
Foreword by Roger Fisher
Acknowledgments
Introduction

The Problem
1 Sort Out the Three Conversations

Shift to a Learning Stance – The “What Happened?” Conversation
2 Stop Arguing About Who’s Right: Explore Each Other’s Stories
3 Don’t Assume They Meant It: Disentangle Intent from Impact
4 Abandon Blame: Map the Contribution System

– The Feelings Conversation
5 Have Your Feelings (Or They Will Have You)

– The Identity Conversation
6 Ground Your Identity: Ask Yourself What’s at Stake

– Create a Learning Conversation
7 What’s Your Purpose? When to Raise It and When to Let Go
8 Getting Started: Begin from the Third Story
9 Learning: Listen from the Inside Out
10 Expression: Speak for Yourself with Clarity and Power
11 Problem-Solving: Take the Lead
12 Putting It All Together

A Road Map to Difficult Conversations
A Note on Some Relevant Organizations

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Conversations With God – Book 3 by Neale Donald Walsch

Conversations With God – Book 3 by Neale Donald Walsch
Notes:
– This book will have Concepts dealing with other realms, other dimensions, and how the whole intricate weave fits together.
Act as if you are, and you will draw it to you. What you act as if you are, you become. In other words, “Fake it until you make it.” Therefore, whatever you choose for yourself, give to another.

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– No one is more ill-equipped to raise children than young parents. And no one knows this better than young parents. 
Most parents come to the job of parenting with very little life experience. They’re hardly finished being parented themselves. They’re still looking for answers, still searching for clues. They haven’t even discovered themselves yet, and they’re trying to guide and nurture discovery in others even more vulnerable than they. They haven’t even defined themselves, and they’re thrust into the act of defining others. They are still trying to get over how badly they have been misdefined by their parents. In most advanced races and societies, elders raise the offspring, nurture the offspring, train the offspring, and pass on to the offspring the wisdom, teachings, and traditions of their kind.

– How men created a male God and Satan because women had power back in the day.

– Death, souls, afterlife, microcosm and macro intertwined.

– 3 choices you have:
1. You may allow your uncontrolled thoughts to create The Moment.
2. You may allow your creative consciousness to create The Moment.
3. You may allow the collective consciousness to create The Moment.

– Think of the Cosmic Wheel as that CD-ROM. All the endings already exist. The universe is just waiting to see which one you choose this time. And when the game is over, whether you win, lose, or draw, the universe will say, “Want to play again?” So if you think it would be interesting for the doomsday predictions of the psychics to come true, focus all your attention on that, and you can draw that to yourself. And if you think you would like to experience a different reality, focus on that, and that is the outcome you can draw to you.

– Who You Are is love.
 What love is, is unlimited, eternal, and free.
 Therefore, that is what you are. That is the nature of Who You Are. You are unlimited, eternal, and free, by nature.
Now, any artificial social, moral, religious, philosophical, economic, or political construction which violates or subordinates your nature is an impingement upon your very Self—and you will rail against it. 
What do you suppose gave birth to your own country? Was it not “Give me liberty, or give me death”?
 Well, you’ve given up that liberty in your country, and you’ve given it up in your Jives. And all for the same thing. Security.
 You are so afraid to live—so afraid of life itself—that you’ve given up the very nature of your being in trade for security.

– The institution you call marriage is your attempt to create security, as is the institution called government. Actually, they are both forms of the same thing—artificial social constructions designed to govern each other’s behaviour. It is the ultimate announcement of fear.
 If marriage allowed you to be unlimited, eternal, and free in your love, then it would be the ultimate announcement of love. As things are now, you become married in an effort to lower your love to the level of a promise or a guarantee.
 Marriage is an effort to guarantee that “what is so” now will always be so. If you didn’t need this guarantee, you would not need marriage.

And how do you use this guarantee? First, as a means of creating security (instead of creating security from that which is inside of you), and second, if that security is not forever forthcoming, as a means of punishing each other, for the marriage promise which has been broken can now form the basis of the lawsuit which has been opened. You have thus found marriage very useful—even if it is for all the wrong reasons.
 Marriage is also your attempt to guarantee that the feelings you have for each other, you will never have for another. Or, at least, that you will never express them with another in the same way. 
Finally, marriage as you have constructed it is a way of saying: “This relationship is special. I hold this relationship above all others.” If Who You Really Are is a being who says, “This one relationship—this single one, right over here-is more special than any other,” then your construction of marriage allows you to do that perfectly.

Yet you might find it interesting to notice that almost no one who is, or has been, recognised as a spiritual master is married. It’s because masters cannot truthfully make the statement that your present construction of marriage seeks to make: that one person is more special to them than another.
 This is not a statement that a master makes, and it is not a statement that God makes.
 The fact is that your marriage vows, as you presently construct them, have you making a very un-Godly statement. It is the height of irony that you feel this is the holiest of holy promises, for it is a promise that God would never make. Yet, in order to justify your human fears, you have imagined a God who acts just like you.

Therefore, you speak of God’s “promise” to his “Chosen People,” and of covenants between God and those God loves, in a special way. 
You cannot stand the thought of a God who loves no one in a way which is more special than any other, and so you create fictions about a God who only loves certain people for certain reasons. And you call these fictions Religions. I call them blasphemies. For any thought that God loves one more than another is false-and any ritual which asks you to make the same statement is not a sacrament, but a sacrilege. Religion and marriage the way you have constructed them is what we are talking about here.

Love has no requirements. That’s what makes it love.
 If your love for another carries requirements, then it is not love at all, but some counterfeit version. 
That is what I have been trying to tell you here, It is what I have been saying, in a dozen different ways, with every question you’ve asked here.
 Within the context of marriage, for example, there is an exchange of vows that love does not require. Yet you require them, because you do not know what love is. And so you make each other promise what love would never ask. (Neale and Nancy’s declaratio to each other – http://everything2.com/title/Uncommon+wedding+vows)

– You have bastardised the Word of God in order to justify your fears and rationalise your insane treatment of each other.
 You will make God say whatever you need God to say in order to continue limiting each other, hurting each other, and killing each other in My name. You have invoked My name, and waved My flag, and carried crosses on your battlefields for centuries, all as proof that I love one people more than another, and would ask you to kill to prove it.
 Yet I tell you this: My love is unlimited and unconditional. That is the one thing you cannot hear, the one truth you cannot abide, the one statement you cannot accept, for its all-inclusiveness destroys not only the institution of marriage (as you have constructed it), but every one of your religions and governmental institutions as well. For you have created a culture based on exclusion, and supported it with a cultural myth of a God who excludes. Yet the culture of God is based on inclusion. In God’s love, everyone is included. Into God’s Kingdom everyone is invited.

– If you terminate a pregnancy, We terminate a pregnancy. Your will is My will.

– You’re approaching the same point in human history again. It’s vitally important that you understand this.
Your present technology is threatening to outstrip your ability to use it wisely. Your society is on the verge of becoming a product of your technology, rather than your technology being a product of your society.
When a society becomes a product of its own technology, it destroys itself.

– Because guilt and shame is something which is imposed on a being from outside of itself. It can then be internalized, no question about that, but it is initially imposed from the outside. Always. No divine being (and all beings are divine) ever knows itself or anything it is doing to be “shameful” or “guilty” until someone outside of itself labels it that way. In your culture, is a baby ashamed of its “bathroom habits”? Of course not. Not until you tell it to be. Does a child feel “guilty” for pleasuring itself with its genitals? Of course not. Not until you tell it to feel guilty.
The degree to which a culture is evolved is demonstrated by the degree to which it labels a being or an action “shameful” or “guilty.”

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