I heard this morning that our average attention span is 47 seconds, so I’ll keep this short. I hope that you had a restful holiday filled with good food, laughter, and warm hugs. That’s how mine was, and I feel lucky to have a great family. Now it’s time to hunker back to reality – a storm or no storm in NYC this weekend.
I listen to a lot of podcasts on my morning walks in the park with Sophie Gooddog. One of my favorites (in part, because it is short!) is Tammy Lenski’s show, Disagree Better. Tammy is a Vermont-based university professor and mediator whose work I’ve found to be accessible and helpful. This week she had an overview of 25 Ways to Disagree Better.
Here are a few that I particularly liked:
- Do we want an “A,” or do we want something to change? We often insist on being right in an argument – but that doesn’t mean that the other person will ever see it our way. You may be unable to convince them (Hint: Yelling louder won’t do it.) But is it so necessary to be right, after all?
- Listening is not waiting to talk. Sometimes when I’m mediating, I can see one person just waiting for their turn to talk, rather than listening to what the other person is saying. (Of course, I’ve done this, too!) We all want so badly to be heard – particularly when we are in conflict. After all, isn’t that at the heart of most conflict – feeling that we are not being heard and understood?
- Look into the eyes of the future. Stay focused on what is most important. (This requires deciding what is most important.). Perhaps, if you are getting divorced, this means keeping the kids away from the fighting. Perhaps you envision a time when you’ll be happy and whole again. Keep that future in mind when you’re deciding what is most important to argue over. In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff.
OK – I think my 47 seconds must be up! That’s my 2 cents for this week. But I’ll leave you with a photo of Sophie Gooddog and me in Prospect Park yesterday taken by my friend & dog photographer, Jennifer Williams.
Happy New Year!