Four more causes of conflict to go, so much learning remains.
How to get better? Practice – Part 2?
This is a follow-up to last week’s post, Part 1 of practice. Today, I will discuss the fun stuff: pressure, power, values, and policies. Whereas last week focused more on internal conflict, this week is about external conflict. Remember, you will never get better at anything without practice. You will only master something with deliberate practice. Shall we begin?
Practice Reframing 4 Causes of Conflict
You know about Bell and Bret, the Hitman, Hart, so I will not reiterate what I did the last week. Just remember, these two are the experts, and you should always read original sources. Do you really want someone’s biased interpretation, or would you rather read an original source? You choose.
Cause 5: Pressure
Pressure generates a LOT of conflict. Performance pressure, financial pressure, emotional pressure. All kinds of pressures exist in our lives. Pressure generates lots of successes. You must earn the best grades to get into the best schools to get the best jobs. If you fail to live up to expectations, most commonly called failing, then pressure increases. Thinking about how much pressure external entities place on us coupled with how much pressure we place on ourselves, it’s amazing that we do not explode more often.
Kaboom. What’s the point? The next time someone pressures you in any way, ask why. Friend, why are you pressuring me to go out to that bar? Parent, why are you pressuring me to have a child. Boss, why are you pressuring me to work more without compensation? What I am proposing that you do is scary. It is easier to challenge your friend or your parent than it is to challenge your boss. But, my purpose is to help you take back control.
I write to you, reader, my avatar, to help you reframe your thoughts surrounding pressure. This equally applies to internal pressure. Ask yourself, “why am I putting all this pressure on myself?” Pressure leads to stress, which often leads to conflict. Stress and conflict lead to dark places. Take a step back, and think your pressures. See if you can control just one of them. Then another. Eventually, hopefully, you will reduce external and internal pressure.
Cause 6: Power
POWER. We romanticize power in so many ways. Everyone wants power in some way. Those who do not have power, want power. Those who have all the power, want more power. Do you want more power? We equate power to importance and responsibility in several common clichés.
“Wear your power suit to that meeting.”
“Power through that last set.”
Power is everywhere, and it causes conflict all the time. Because of how we define power, we lose ourselves in it. My question to you is this: what will more power do for you? Will you earn more money? Will others view you as more important? How will this impact you? Why do you care about money and importance?
Taking a step back and answering the underlying “power” questions will guide you on your journey to self-authorship. Reframe how you think about power and see how much conflict power creates in your life and the lives of those around you. If you take a step back and still want all the power, you want it for reasons that you can own instead of external reasons that society places on you. That is the power of reframing (cliché!).
Cause 7: Values
I want to skip values. I don’t want to write about reframing values because values are so personal. World Wars start because of value differences (and power, of course, but values underlie all conflict). Our political parties revolve around a value system. People hate each other, without knowing each other, because of values. Values are one of those topics where people use inductive reasoning all the time.
“Oh, Jim is from Iowa, he is definitely a redneck.”
“You’re a Patriots’ fan? Aka a fair weather fan.”
“You live in Southern California? Definitely a hippie.”
“You voted for a Republican? Don’t you care about people’s rights?”
I could legitimately fill 25,000 pages of quotes about how people make broad assumptions based on values. I will not spend a lot of time here because reframing how we think about our own values is not something many people are willing to do. My simple challenge to you is to take a value that you hold loosely (e.g., something that is not core to you) and talk to someone, read about, or think about that value from the opposite perspective. Do this once and see what happens. You might be surprised.
Cause 8: Policies
Policies are like values in the sense that you don’t exactly have control over them. You might think that you have control over your values, but years and years of holding values means that it is extremely difficult and requires a lot of deliberate practice to change your values. Policies are even worse because we often have almost no control over them. Do you think that Schools, Courts, and Governments routinely misinterpret the application of the First Amendment? Well, that is unfortunate because there is a <0.01% chance that the First Amendment will change.
Policies cause conflict because it is in their nature. People, with different values, create policies. Policies only change when people change them. If you disagree with a policy, there are limited ways to change the policy. You could 1) start or join a movement or 2) become a policymaker or lobbyist. Look at Change.org and tell me if #1 works well. Of course, there are dozens of examples of large-scale policy changes that occurred because of large social movements, but in general, the real change occurs when the people who are part of those movements either elect people who align with their values or become policy makers themselves.
When reframing how we think about policies, ones that might not change especially, we must think about how we can interpret those policies in a way that more closely aligns with our value structures. You can always take up policies with policy makers hoping to make change. You also can practice working within a policy to meet your goals. We all must live within a system. Learn to navigate that system by reframing how you think about the policies that govern the system.
If you want to jumpstart your reframing adventure, book an appointment with me today!