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Don’t Get Lost in Being Right.

5 Steps to Reducing Rage and Having Better Conversations

I know I’m right. Why can’t you just accept that? As you’re talking, I’m thinking about the rebuttals I have to all of your ludicrous statements. Before you finish your spiel, I jump in and unload my verbal diarrhea on you because you deserve it and need to hear it now. Then instead of accepting my argument, you have the audacity to interrupt me with your half baked thoughts to try and convince me I’m crazy. Are you kidding me? Who the hell do you think you are? Wait I know, you’re just stupid. There’s no point in having this conversation with you, you’ll never understand where I’m coming from and are simply intellectually incapable of having a rational human conversation. You’re blind and I’m done with this. I’m now going to proceed to walk away from you feeling frustrated, but also feeling pretty superior because I’ve labelled you an idiot. Rage!

  1. Open your mind before you listen.
  2. Listen before you think.
  3. Think before you speak.
  4. Speak, remain aware and then start back at 1.

1. Be aware of your ego before you open up your mind.

Goal: I try and recognize that I have personal motivations for wanting to be right, and that these motivations influence how I react to other people’s opinions and arguments.

2. Open your mind before you listen.

Goal: I try and recognize that I have biases built into my thought process. That’s okay, everyone has biases, but I need to be aware of the fact that they exist. I try to temporarily hit the reset button on my biases to gain an open mind before getting deep into a discussion.

3. Listen before you think.

Goal: I try to do just one thing when I’m in the middle of a conversation: listen to the person I’m talking to. Instead of thinking of how I may structure an argument to disprove him or how to share a relevant personal story of my own, I try to just listen and absorb the words being said to me.

4. Think before you speak.

Goal: This part is two fold: 1) I try to make sure I’ve made a conscious effort to understand the information that was just shared with me and 2) I try to consider the impact of the words that are about to leave my mouth before saying them out loud.

5. Speak, remain aware and then start back at 1.

Goal: This one is the most difficult. I try to speak while separating my emotion from the conversation. As part of this, I make a conscious effort to acknowledge the other party’s point of view while ensuring I’m not bullying them into agreement. This can also mean slowing down and pausing if I need to mid-sentence in order to catch myself. I may also go back and repeat step 4 in order to get my thoughts together.

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