Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ten Tips on How to Argue With an Idiot

"Idiots" are simply people like you and I who are struggling with unresolved personal issues ranging from low self-esteem to ego, insecurity to poor impulse control and more. While it is acceptable to regard the behavior as idiotic, it is never permissible to label the individual as such. People are inherently good but each of us at times acts out in an obnoxious or difficult manner. As you know, I do not make excuses or condone bad behavior but I do practice being understanding and non-judgmental of it.

When arguing with a person acting in an idiotic manner, here are a few tips that will be beneficial to all parties:

1. First assess if the situation even warrants your time and energy. If not, no response is necessary and you are free to ignore the comments.
2. If, in fact, you feel it is essential or you choose to engage with the other party, examine your motives for doing so. If you have any hidden agendas or your reasons are not purely honorable, refrain from interacting at that time.
3. Relinquish the need to be right, to be acknowledged, to be heard or to win. Most likely none of those will occur.
4. Practice diffusing statements. Refrain from making inflammatory comments that will fuel the argument. Remember the R/D/C Method: Refuse (to get caught up in the drama), Diffuse (using proper verbiage), Choose (alternatives to methods that have proven ineffective in the past).
5. Operate from a place of Spirit. Never allow ego to dictate your course of action.
6. State your position once. Do not repeat (unless they sincerely need clarification), explain, justify, or convince.
7. Be firm, fair, clear, and brief.
8. Acknowledge their position, feelings, beliefs and such. Be sincere. It is the first step towards gaining their respect and cooperation.
9. Thank them for their time and for sharing.
10. Know when to bow out of the discussion. Either change the topic or disengage completely (walking away is a form of disengaging.) Make a statement to inform the other party of your intention. "Nice speaking with  you. I wish you the best. I have to leave now." 

Remember, true personal power is the ability to be unaffected negatively by outside circumstances. Maintain your composure and dignity and always extend respect to the other party regardless of how badly they are behaving. Be the example.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Run For Your Life

April 15, 2013 - the running of the one hundred and sixteenth Boston Marathon. A day for celebrating the tenacity of human nature to push itself beyond  all limitations and achieve extraordinary goals turned deadly when two bombs  detonated near the finish line. Three lives taken before their time; one hundred seventy-six others left broken and bloodied; lives forever scarred
Added to the growing list of senseless massacres in this country, Americans from coast to coast are seeking answers, struggling to make sense of such meaningless carnage.  No gun control laws could have protected the lives of those commemorating this historic event.
The youngest casualty, Martin Richard, had only eight tender years in this life. Cheering their friends as they crossed the finish line, his mother, Denise, suffered a traumatic brain injury and his six-year old sister lost a leg.

Once considered a rarity, acts of violence in America are becoming more commonplace. But violence is only a symptom of a much deeper rooted problem: our world suffers from an extreme lack of moral integrity. Society has been poisoned by greed, self-righteousness, entitlement, and vengeance. Where decency, compassion and kindness once defined our civilization, we have recreated ourselves as bigoted, arrogant, callous, and hateful. We have turned our backs on God and declared we have a right to live as we please, liberated from any jurisdiction that restricts our freedom. God's Laws to "Love your neighbor as yourself" and "You shall not kill" are obsolete and have been rewritten to justify living selfishly.  Revising the word killing by using terms such as "terminating a pregnancy" or "death with dignity" is a clever attempt to conceal murder. "You shall not kill." Period. End of sentence. There is no "with the following exceptions" list. A rose by any other name...

The world continually violates Divine Law and then we're shocked when horrific events such as this occur. Some people are even offended by the mere mention of the Almighty's name. God is not permitted in our schools, ball fields, and government buildings.  It is no longer politically correct to wish someone a Merry Christmas, decorate a "Christmas" tree, or assign the Easter egg hunt any religious connotation at all. When you take "Love" (God) out of the equation what remains is apathy towards His children.

We glorify anger,  violence, rudeness, and the infliction of pain on others as a form of entertainment.  We seek revenge on others who have wronged us and brag to others of how we "got even.
We judge and label those who are different, those who are struggling with personal demons, those who do not live up to our personal standard of excellence. And we are oblivious and indifferent to  the suffering we cause others with our hurtful words, labels, exclusions, and intimidations .
We have devalued human life by assigning individual importance to one another rather than viewing each person as they are: a sacred child of God, precious in His eyes and loved beyond measure. Only when we learn to respect and value all human life as equal and sacred and vow to treat each as such, will we even begin to see an end to these horrific acts of violence that desecrate our loved ones.

On the stoop of the Richard's home, someone placed a few bouquets of flowers and a small stuffed bear. One solitary word was written in chalk on the sidewalk: “Peace.” The only path to peace is by putting God (Love) back in our hearts and our world.

"We cannot be a world at peace until we are first a people of peace."

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What Makes (Mike) Rice Boil? A Look at Aggressive Behavior

 Aggressive behavior - many believe it is a sign of power, self-confidence, and courage. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Last week the country witnessed the termination of Rutgers University head basketball coach, Mike Rice. Video surfaced of his mean-spirited treatment of  his players during practice. From name-calling to shoving, grabbing to gay slurs, his actions received nation-wide criticisms resulting in his dismissal.

Aggressive behavior is actually rooted in fear. One does not fully trust the individuals involved and must exert authority over them in order to force them to comply with his/her demands thus producing the desired outcome. Yelling, hitting, throwing things, intimidation, manipulation, coercion, and threats are all forms of bullying and abuse (pseudonyms of aggression). By instilling fear in the other party, one can create the illusion of having control over them by gaining their cooperation. In reality, the individual chooses to comply in an attempt to quiet the abuser. Aggressors have no concern for the well-being of others and will inflict verbal, psychological or physical harm on them in order to get their way. There is never justification for inflicting harm on another person or putting them at risk. 

In Rice's case, his need to have a winning team overrode his ability to make wise decisions. After all, there was a lot at stake for him. If his players did not follow his orders, they may not win. This would reflect poorly on him as a coach (feelings of shame), possibly affect his position at Rutgers, impact his salary, and result in loss of respect from his peers. His concerns (fear) led to the need to have dominance and compliance from every player on his team and he chose aggression as a means to an end. 

However, as with all bullying behavior, while the short term results may be as desired, in the long run the consequences are devastating.  Loss of job and income, public humiliation, health problems, relationship issues, respect of family, friends, and peers are just some of the risks. Shoving can lead to injury, even death, to the other party which could then lead to assault or murder charges. People need to consider the long-term and far-reaching consequences of their actions before engaging in such destructive behaviors. Remember: one bad choice can change your life forever. 

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