Can’t we all just get along?

If people would have high esteem for themselves, and for other people, they would get together and have better solutions. Two minds are almost always better than one. This is the story of our lives, and of our ancestors. Why do we sometimes take the initiative, get together, and work things out, and other times, we run away? It’s not about being the absolute best at everything, or being perfect about anything– it’s about finding a solution that works, hopefully better.

What’s a ritual? You might call them tools, sales techniques, objection removers, routines, habits, ceremonies, solutions, or “ways of dealing with things.” Some work; some don’t. Anybody have a special affinity for the more dysfunctional ones? If you are as human as I am, you have to admit that there have been at least a few times you have tried the same less-than-perfect solution more than once. In our more rational moments, we must admit that better solutions, better rituals, are… well… better. A good illustration of this is the post on Chickens.

Lack of Communication. This is at the core of the problem. People don’t talk to each other. It has nothing to do with conflict, and everything to do with misunderstanding. Maybe it is poor salesmanship, pride, a prejudice, jumping to conclusions, or a need for control. It could be a fear of the unknown, of conflict, or of a stereotype. There may be a need for better salesmanship or marketing. It is very easy to fix, yet somehow, we miss the opportunity. A phone call or a letter can work. 20 minutes over a cup of coffee can work wonders.

Pessimism. We tend to get what we expect. “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”– Abraham Lincoln

Organizations. There are professional associations, community groups, industry consortiums, and other social means of communicating– directly or indirectly.

Low Self-esteem. L.S.M.F.T.– Remember the Lucky Strike cigarette commercial? Except it really means, “Low Self-esteem Means Friction and Trouble.” We are all better than that.

Bragging Rights. We did a short project for the GWB White House a few years ago, and there should be plenty of bragging rights for anyone and everyone that had even the slightest role in helping that be a huge success. Yet somehow, whether by a lack of communication, prejudice, personal attack, or jealousy, there is a huge vacuum here. Did someone misplace an After Action Report? Am I the only one who sees this?

People-pleasing. Some of us try too hard to keep everyone happy. For myself, I could learn to say, “Well, that’s your opinion, isn’t it? And I’m not about to waste my time trying to change it.” Perhaps the best advice I have ever received, from a retired IBM division president, is to Find your customer, keep them informed, and please them. Realize that we can’t please everyone all of the time.

Straw Man. “It’s not me, it’s that evil corporation I work for that is making me cheat.”— It’s always easier to blame someone else, in this case, a corp. A corp is neither moral nor immoral, it is amoral.  “Piercing the corporate veil” applies when people in the corp attempt less-than-legal activity and try to make the corp responsible for their actions. If you are in a selling situation with them, appeal to your contact to commit to recommend to their management as you suggest. “You will recommend that they do ______, right? And they always take your recommendation, right?” Ridicule and contempt are also straw man or personal attacks. Ad hominem means to the man, in Latin.

Objectivity. Sometimes we need to look at an issue from the other person’s point-of-view. Our own feelings and subjectivity can mislead us.

Prejudice. We all have our pre-dispositions– but can we deal with them? Dale Carnegie says, “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotions, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” If we can marginalize our opponent as being somehow different than the majority of us, we seem to take that as an excuse for excluding them. For example, if someone were left-handed and from New Jersey, one could argue that those are the only people they should work with.

FEAR. False Evidence Appearing Real. We jump to conclusions without confirming our suspicions. Take a chill pill, and get some empirical info.

Passive Aggression. Instead of dealing directly with the source, we make others manage what we have assumed to be the source of our frustration. 80% of the time, there has simply been a misunderstanding of the other person’s intentions.

Training. We do as we were trained, for good or for ill.

False Premise. Sometimes our assumptions are wrong, and the “solution” is unwarranted and worse than the supposed problem. Non sequitur means “it does not follow” in Latin. There are many types of questionable causes and logical fallacies.

Doing the Right Thing. If we are trained correctly, we will do the right thing.

Sebastian Bailey (PhD Psychology and Education), writing for Forbes Magazine, lists six ways (I added comments) to encourage rivals to team together:

  1. Put group goals above self-interest. (It takes a team.)
  2. Introduce a common enemy. (In our Revolutionary War, getting French support was critical. The Marquis de La Fayette and Ben Franklin were able to rally the French because the British were a common enemy to both the French and the American Revolutionaries.)
  3. Have everyone change perspective. (An example of this would be Pennsylvania in the 1700’s, when people with diverse backgrounds were part of a great “experiment” of freedom and tolerance in a new land.)
  4. Encourage open-mindedness and emotional stability. (We all like encouragement.)
  5. Give each other the benefit of the doubt. (Cut your co-workers some slack.)
  6. Persevere. (Stick to your convictions.)

Common Language and Culture. Just like the news anchors on TV, we have a large body of language and behavior that works for a wide cross-section of our society.

Humility. We are all flesh and blood. Just like you, I am not perfect yet. We are all capable of screwing up royally. We are further ahead if we respect and help each other.

1 Response to Blog

  1. Mostyn Thayer says:

    Hello! I was hoping to find a clue on your website regarding the origins of my 4th great-grandfather, Henry Steel (1755-1821) who died in Delaware Township, Pike County, Pennsylvania and seems to have been born nearby in 1755, in the area just south of Dingmans Ferry, along the New Jersey border. But I can’t figure out how to post a query on your site. Can you assist me? Thank you!
    Mostyn Thayer
    Port St. Lucie, Florida

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