What pisses you off?

From Volume 11, Issue 5:Seriously. What event, person, occurrence, treatment routinely puts you over the edge? Write it down… on paper.

Got it? For me, it’s pretty routinely my level of anger of stupid things that I do, personal failures, frequently forgetting details or things that cascade into bigger things—like leaving the phone on my nightstand when I’m expecting an important call.

I coulda been a contender

From Volume 11, Issue 5:You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.

Marlon Brando’s (Terry Malloy’s) impassioned conversation with his brother in the 1954 movie On The Waterfront tells the whole story.

Malloy’s narrative on his own life at that point set his limits. He’d been a prizefighter, managed by his brother and some shady boxing impresarios to throw fights for quick money. While actually a fairly talented athlete, the quick money was always what he was expected to win… by losing.

Moment of Clarity, May 2018…Factfulness = Clarity

Defining the problem

From Volume 11, Issue 4:Harold walked into his boss’s office to report on the project he’d been given earlier in the week. Before Harold said a word, his supervisor, clearly agitated, asked why the completed project was not yet on his desk.

Harold’s blood pressure rose and in an instant he found himself in a potential fight, flight, or freeze situation. He chose to defend himself and offered myriad valid reasons why the project was not yet done.

The battle had just begun—and not for the first time. Harold’s supervisor frequently set expectations of Harold that Harold felt were unreasonable. In other words, this dialog was not foreign to either participant.

Solving the problem

From Volume 11, Issue 4:Here’s Mr. Oil and Mr. Water staring at each other across the desk. Both are replaying a video of themselves in their youth in the same emotional situation. One’s getting harassed for underperforming, and the other’s on the offense, because that was (and is today) his role and makes his world work the way he wants it to.

Allowed to play out, the dialog that develops between these two (and husbands and wives and parents and kids) will most likely follow the same pattern it’s followed for years. One individual, locked in their Knower/Judger response patterns, will elicit the same response from the other individual locked in their K/J response patterns. There’s virtually no hope that anything different will happen than has happened in the past. It’s a downward spiral and actually, with repeated experiences, becomes easier and easier to reach the level of dysfunctional faster.

Komrad Kim in Eastern Europe

Moment of Clarity, March 2018…Journey? Or destination?

The nature of anger

From Volume 11, Issue 3:What makes you angry? Politics? Bad manners? Erratic driving? Poor service?

And why, when so triggered, do you express the emotion anger?

Psychologist Gail Brenner, whom I’ve been reading lately, has dived deeply into this emotion, and it ties in with the nomenclature I’ve been using to describe reactive behaviors in this newsletter. Anger exists in the Knower/Judger. It’s learned.

Love means never having to say you’re sorry

From Volume 11, Issue 3:Have you ever thought of the various uses of “I’m sorry”?

There are people who perpetually apologize for things that don’t warrant an apology—sometimes they’re just prefacing a simple sentence, like “I’m sorry, can we have a conversation about your time card for last week?”

Or they say “I’m sorry” every time they pass someone closely in a hallway. For these people, it’s a trained reaction. My experience has been that these folks learned this at an early age and frequently beat themselves up about not executing their lives to perfection.

Developing power in a conversation

From Volume 11, Issue 2:You’re in a conversation with your co-worker. Your opinions on the subject at hand are clearly disparate. And you both absolutely and truly believe you are right. How does that conversation go?

“Are too!” “Are not!” “Are too!” “Are not!” (ad nauseum)