TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part One: Establishing the Five Rights of Everybody
Chapter 1 – Rights, Styles, Types of Communication
Part Two: Identifying Patterns of Behavior
Chapter 2 – The New Reality
Chapter 3 – Spot Your Patterns
Chapter 4 – Codependency in Relationships
Chapter 5 – The Perils of Misinterpretation
Chapter 6 – The Map to Better Listening Skills
Chapter 7 – Body Language Is More Than Crossed Arms
Part Three: Protecting Yourself from Conflict and Anger
Chapter 8 – Never, Ever Explain to an Angry Person
Chapter 9 – Vulnerable People Hide Behind Anger
Chapter 10 – The Urge to Smack Someone and How to Control It
Chapter 11 – Stay Grounded Despite It All
Chapter 12 – Take a Test: How Well Are You Coping?
Chapter 13 – Power: How to Get It and Give It
Chapter 14 – Getting Someone to Do What You Want for a Change
Part Four: Getting What You Want through Negotiation
Chapter 15 – The Art of Personal Negotiation.................159
Chapter 16 – Solving Workplace Challenges ..................171
Chapter 17 – The Tricks to Business Negotiation ...........181
Chapter Review Questions...............................................191
About the Author..............................................................205
As a renaissance man who has had many careers and more than 40 jobs—from warehouse worker to office professional, fisherman to trucker, salesman to executive, and musician to therapist—I have discovered some fundamentals to solving confrontations among people from varied backgrounds.
Drawing on these fundamentals, I wrote this book for real people who have to deal with other real people on a day-to-day basis. It provides proven field skills for communication that can be used with a family member who’s upset, a frustrated employee you want something from, and anyone with whom you interact.
Just as computers regularly need to be cleaned of files that slow them down, people need to conduct periodic maintenance checks on themselves before they end up having to see a therapist for expensive repair.
Do you heed the warning light on your “operating system”? The majority of clients I taught anger management to did not. These people had been arrested and were directed to my class to make things work better in their lives. They did not heed the warning light on their operating system blinking away at them. In the classes, I gave them information and taught them techniques that can benefit everyone. These classic tenets and skills involve (but aren’t limited to):
understanding that people’s intelligence goes down in proportion to their anger and passion;
paraphrasing someone’s concerns without necessarily agreeing with them;
knowing why it’s important to understand the difference between an extrovert and an introvert;
reading body language to your benefit;
understanding the different spectrums of trust;
using “I” statements instead of “you” statements;
eliminating a certain five words from your vocabulary and understanding five common reactions to conflict.
Changing Patterns: Like my clients, you may keep getting results that you don’t want. You realize that ways of behaving and speaking you learned as a child—and still use to protect yourself— need to change. Perhaps you’re unable to clearly see your own defense mechanisms. But rest assured. Others see them in you and can manipulate you because of them. Many people in power don’t want you to know this; they want you to remain unhealthy so they can profit from you in numerous ways.
Yet following simple, proven guidelines for how to best treat yourself and others can provide the healing salve needed to turn everything around. Helping you change your patterns is what my work is all about. This has been my intriguing passion over the past 50 years. To push the borders and stretch my own boundaries, I’ve participated in more than 75 personal growth workshops. Some lasted only a day while others were conducted over weeks in isolation. All of the experiences enhanced my formal education in business and psychology. They include:
MBTI® (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) instrument,
Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument,
H.A.I. (Human Awareness Institute) yoga retreats,
Many others that fall under humanistic studies.
I draw on this varied background to help people reduce conflict and live happier, more peaceful lives.
You Don’t Have to Get Naked
I recall the first time I attended a summer camp called Network For a New Culture (nfnc.org). For two weeks we camped in the woods, ate vegetarian, avoided coffee, sugar, and drugs, and shared a clothing-optional environ- ment. The group consisted of a diverse cross-section of people from 20-somethings to 80-year-olds, many with a philosophical bent toward New Age.
On the first full day of this event, I sat in shorts and a t-shirt on the carpeted floor of a comfortable, open-air, circular tent structure with 80 other participants. Picture northern California on a summer afternoon. As this was the event kickoff, we were looking around at each other, smiling discreetly, respecting this great and as yet un- known adventure.
After the facilitators introduced themselves, they guided us in a lovely meditation exercise for about 30 minutes, leading us with words to experience peaceful coexistence with the planet.
Next came a request that took us by surprise. They emphasized that we continue to keep our eyes closed and asked that we remove all our clothing while staying low to the ground. I didn’t hear much laughter because most of us were in a state of bliss or shock. Even though clothing was optional at this retreat and half the attendees were newbies, surprisingly, 90 percent complied. Those who didn’t get naked stayed and were welcomed. After all, from a simplistic perspective, what was there to be afraid of?
Then we were asked to open our eyes, choose a person closest to us we didn’t know, face each other, and introduce ourselves. What a great way to drop the barriers and judgments we all have for each other and become real. To abbreviate considerably, by the end of the 12 day event, I felt everyone was my brother or sister.
In fact, I was surprised I felt that way about one fellow, twice my size, with a large, bald head and a look that said to me, “You’re not someone I want to know; stay away.” In the beginning, we experienced conflict between us, and later, through camp exercises, I learned he had the same impression of me initially. But as a result of the exercises, we became great friends and remain so to this day. We developed a tremendous respect for how different we are—and yet the same.
You may be relieved to know that shorter but still effective ways of resolving conflict with others exist that don’t require getting naked in the woods for two weeks. They involve honoring others’ boundaries and finding new patterns for approaching people you wouldn’t ordinarily have anything to do with.
Solving Conflict Isn’t Complicated
When I’m tired of a particular conflict or becoming sick and unhealthy around it, I want a remedy or way of dealing with the situation that isn’t complicated. I want a way of dealing with conflict that carries integrity without being full of convoluted personal therapy and angst. The KISS principle of Keep It Simple Sweetie appeals to me. (The acronym usually ends with Stupid, which I find demeaning. Saying “Sweetie” is less offensive and even endearing.)
“I want a way to deal with conflict that carries integrity without being full of convoluted personal therapy and angst.”
Solutions can be simple if you’ve got a way to come up with them. For example, I learned from carpenters how to solve a sawing dilemma that was causing me endless hassles and measurements. I learned from a plumber how to fix my toilet with virtually no fuss compared to my usual daily frustrations. I learned from a computer wizard friend incredible tricks to edit my work that saved me wasted time cutting and pasting. Every day I speak with people who have an interest and experience in something I know little about, and they surprise me—like how my six-year-old nephew showed me the best way to brush and groom our dog. The moral is that living a life with minimal conflict isn’t brain surgery. You just have to learn from people who know how.
I looked around at how successful, talented people in different walks of life solved their challenges and used their skills as the template for this book. I then applied these observations with my extensive background in humanistic studies to develop practical, real life applications. My motivation for writing the book came from receiving dozens of requests for my workshop handouts. The handouts featured insights and exercises for remaining emotionally healthy in the face of conflict and anger, both in the workplace and the home. They grew over the years from a few pages to as many as 40 pages. It felt rewarding when attendees who had small epiphanies would ask me for extra copies for their bosses, spouses, or people they felt really needed it.
Defining the Five Rights
Throughout this book, I offer numerous suggestions for harmonious communication and, in Chapter 1, introduce the foundation for these skills, The Five Rights for Everybody. These universal Rights are simple, genuine win-win concepts based on mutual respect and accepted remedies for conflict, crossing all cultures and continents. Years of practice and proof have substantiated what I now consider facts of life.
To be clear, the Five Rights aren’t commandments like those found in the Bible. Rather, they’re guidelines for creating more effective and harmonious lives throughout the inevitable conflicts that arise.
What Is Perfection?
In this book, I address the needs of people who don’t want a complete psychological makeover but do want to improve the quality of their lives. After all, most of my clients don’t expect perfection; they just want improvement. I’ve known and worked with some fabulous, well-balanced individuals who are socially and economically successful and whose admirable lives seem to be perfect. After sharing intimate conversations with them, however, I learned they all thought they could have done better. I’ve come to believe a “perfect” life is about adapting to change and learning new things all the time. So if while reading this book, you have one of those “aha!” moments, you’re most certainly experiencing perfection.
My idealistic expectations for this book? To make the world a better place.
My realistic expectations? That it will help, in some small measure, most of the people who read and reflect upon it.
“If while reading this book, you have one of those ‘aha!’ moments, you’re most certainly experiencing perfection!”
Underlying the Five Rights, is the best medicine for resolving conflict:
The universal application of appropriate health practices. You might view these actions as a preventive maintenance program similar to those used for most mechanical systems.
Basic health practices include:
using some form of peaceful activity every day of your life to consciously slow down your breathing;
drinking more plain filtered water and fewer caffeinated and sweetened drinks;
getting your body moving every day so it can naturally work at healing itself;
participating in play or creativity with others on a regular basis; and learning something new with a child-like awareness.
These practices provide all that most of us need to stay healthy. You can follow a program to get and stay healthy. But if you don’t do something to guide your life, life will guide you somewhere you may not want to go.
“If you don’t do something to guide your life, life will guide you somewhere you may not want to go.”
Take Steps to Change
Many great thinkers have one thing in common; they were greatly dissatisfied before they changed their lives. Most took steps to adopt some kind of program or discipline. Your Five Rights for Resolving Any Conflict offers easy, accessible steps toward experiencing less conflict and more of what you want in your life.
Your action might be as simple as reading parts of this book to open yourself to possibilities. Be sure to try the techniques described. Whatever it is, take a step toward change and growth. Take control of your life, or it will control you.
From Flawed Perceptions to Professional Opportunity
I grew up feeling loved and cared for in a strong Catholic, French-speaking culture. I had many friends and family connections with cousins, aunts, and uncles acting as my guideposts for living life. Tall, skinny, red-haired, and freckled, I was a cute young kid, but became gawky-looking from about age 10 to 25. I figured I was as normal as anyone else.
Because I’ve been a keen observer all my life, I earnestly explored psychology. During my prolific business years, I found conflict compounding itself and so, through education and practice, I transitioned into being a full-time therapist. From all my advanced education, I learned the shocking news that my perceptions of reality were flawed. In fact, I realized that I’d been raised in an abusive, alcohol-ridden, divorced, clinically dysfunctional family. I also realized that most people come from some kind of dysfunctional family, and that most people live with similar less-than-secure foundations.
Ironically, I’ve come full circle. I see that whatever our beginnings may be, we can find value in learning from them. You can, too. I invite you to explore your beginnings and increase your sense of health and peacefulness throughout this book.
Right here, right now makes the best place to start.
Wave J. Bannister
February 10, 2015