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The Keys to Solving Problems with People

The Real Problem: A Closed Mind

I had written a previous related post on this topic but it was truly horrible. I apologize for that.  Hey, this blog is meant to be a learning experience and sometimes the journey’s a little messy.

This article isn’t about anyone in particular. It’s about a lot of people who don’t get their points across, deal in silence, and send the wrong message. As well, they believe in mind reading and telepathy. My thought here is that by thinking about the communication process we can solve the hundreds of problems we might be having at work or at home.

Everyone Believes They’re Open Minded

They’re not. They don’t have that much courage. So they won’t question it or their communication skills.  This about communication, and at the end of this article, we’re left with the matter of courage and being honest with yourself. You’re invited to read this whole post and find out how it gets to that.

This isn’t snackable content, it’s premium stuff. Don’t you prefer wine and caviar to beer and bratwurst?

The topic was solving problems with people.  And logic leads us to the conclusion that people problems are an issue of communication (facts and real priorities), and communication stems from courage and an open mind. To solve problems then, you need to pry open people’s minds and get them to look at things differently. Hopefully, this article will do that.

If people don’t communicate, it’s because they only care about what they want. Their mind is closed. They have no confidence that a resolution will work for them or that they possess the power to create a solution. So, these people need some more brains and a little more heart. That’s doable.

Let’s face it we’re all guilty of this. When’s the last time you wouldn’t talk to someone, or couldn’t find a way to communicate? How much pain did it cause them? Are poor communicators sadistic?

Only My Values and Circumstances are Relevant


Certainly people have different sets of values and this can result in conflicts and ill feelings. One person breaks another person’s rules and off we go with the nastiness. And each side believes they are right and will have a team of gods, judicial systems, and supporters to back them up.

So, I’m not talking to you because I’m right and you refuse to let me be right. My truth is the only truth. I want what I want. Obey me.”

You can see how useless that reasoning is, yet that’s exactly what people believe.  If you think that your views are the only right ones, you’re not being honest with yourself. Other’s perspectives can hold a grain of truth and actually help you modify your approach so that you’re more successful. That is, if they’re willing to share their insight (not their opinion) with you.

When you don’t communicate well, you lose opportunities and fail to achieve the best you can.  Do you get it? You Lose.

There’s Too Much to Lose When you Don’t Talk

Talking is just a line of reasoning that leads to the truth, or an understanding at least. In order to begin talking again, you have to give up the notion that you are absolutely 100% right and justified in your attitude. You’re not necessarily wrong — you might be only missing some vital facts that will help you make good decisions and come up with better results.

Even if two people come to a standoff in a work or personal relationship, and think that it’s dead, it might not be. It’s actually the start of something fresh and new. If you’re willing to start at that new point, then everything’s fine. You really can reinvent the relationship on a new tangent. It’s that same thing with an argument.

So if you couldn’t communicate, and you were speaking to a psychologist, what would they say to you?  They wouldn’t say anything. They’d ask you questions to get you to find your own solutions. They don’t have any answers. The answers are only in your head and you have to pull them out. You can’t do that unless your communication channels and mind are open.

Captain, We’ve Come to A Full Stop

So you’ve stopped communicating.  Very common. Or, maybe you’ve got a serious case of verbal diarrhea. That might actually be worse. You’re not really communicating. Same old, same old, I’m right you’re wrong. I’m good, you’re bad. Whatever.

The stubborn, arrogant, and self-righteous person is like a child.  The reason they’re not communicating is because they believe they won’t get what they want, whatever that is.  It’s a temper tantrum. At this point, we have to retrain our thinking to believe we will get what we want. But in a fairer way right?

This is the radical part: you’re going to be open minded, yet in the end you’ll achieve a new solution or situation you’ll be okay with. It may not be perfect, but you’ll have the courage of knowing that overall, things will be great.

From an article in Entrepreneur.com, the author made some great suggestions on how to solve these interpersonal problems and deal with toxic emotions like anger and resentment that interfere with communication and problem solving. Numbers 1 and 5 below seem to be the key problem solvers in my opinion. What do you think?

This works for either personal or work relationship problems.

  1. Always have a goal in mind
  2. Don’t make decisions when you’re emotional
  3. Take a time out when you’re too angry (don’t blog when you’re angry either)
  4. Think about the consequences before you act
  5. Communicate calmly and freely

These tips align pretty well with material on my previous article on achieving equanimity, which is about keeping your emotional balance under trying circumstances.

Have a Specific Goal for the other Person

The first tip is very interesting — always have a goal in mind.

So when a tough unsolvable problem occurs with someone, consider what your core goal is with that person, rather than the issue at hand.

This isn’t about using that person and pushing them around. It’s simply saying that other people have a purpose in relation to you. Have the courage to find what that purpose is, rather than trying to make them into something they can’t be.

Who and what is this person to you? Are they a xlover, friend, good friend, acquaintance, coworker, boss, sibling, mailman, auto mechanic, travel partner, investor, sports team mate, lunch room buddy, store clerk, neighbour, or parent? Go deeper and qualify them even further so you know where they should be on your hierarchy (that helps) and what the essence of your relationship is.

It does take courage to be honest with yourself, be insightful, and share that insight without opinions that come out of a closed mind.  Get over your own fear, vanity, prejudice, and bad attitude. Just give other people the facts and the encouragement they need to accept your wisdom and you should end up with great communication.

You’ll both be better for it.

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