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The Game of Life

Turning Conflict into Cooperation

The following are selected excerpts from the pages of The Game of Life:

On Power

(page 37)

In every relationship, there exists a imbalance of power. Power is neither equally distributed between the parties nor is it static. Depending on the people and the situation, it is constantly shifting and fluid. This dynamic “disequilibrium” is perhaps best explained by viewing power as an equation. Your ability to understand this equation and manage it will greatly influence your chances of success in the game.

On Creativity

(page 42)

The barriers to creativity go beyond those imposed by formal education, time, money, policy, tradition, experience, assumptions, habits, and more. The way a problem is defined, the amount of information we have (either too much or too little), our environment and our motivation can all block our ability to conceive ideas and find innovative solutions. For some, the list of barriers that limit  creative potential seems virtually endless.  Yet, on analysis, these barriers are largely a matter of perception. We create our “boxes” and sustain and reinforce these comfort zones in our mind. They become convenient excuses for inaction, rationalizations that enable us to align our actual performance with our expectations of performance. These barriers to creative thought also become ammunition in the hands of those who oppose our ideas and our objectives.

On Listening

(page 57)

Next to physical survival, our greatest need as humans is psychological survival. That is the need to be appreciated, to be validated, affirmed and understood as individuals. Just as we need air to breathe, we need “psychological air” to grow. Empathic listening gives others psychological air. Once they’ve inhaled this  rarefied air, they are more willing to listen to our point of view, to consider our options and alternatives and to collaborate on solving problems. They play the game with a motivation to find mutually rewarding, win-win outcomes.

On Confrontation

(page 64)

Most of us instinctively shy away from confrontation. Yet our ability to handle confrontation and deal effectively with conflict will determine the direction, nature and quality of our lives. All personal renewal and organizational changes begin with confrontation. Change occurs when we confront inadequacy or complacency. New lifestyles encourage confrontation. And the result is usually progress, growth and new beginnings. Confrontation means facing up to reality. It means “saying it like it is” and dealing with the tangled web of issues, problems, challenges, values, and potentialities that can debilitate relationships and organizational performance. But confrontation is only the beginning of the process. Inevitably, it must lead to a search for innovative ways of solving personal and organizational problems.

On Bullies

(page 85)

Bullies appear to derive satisfaction from abusing their victims.While capable of physical assaults, the abuse they are more likely to deliver is psychological. They possess an uncanny sense of who will make a good victim. It’s as if they have antennae for insecure people, for those with low self-esteem or lacking in self-confidence. They seem to know which people are unlikely to retaliate when verbally abused or insulted. As with most of the challenging players in the game, however, it is the victim who energizes the monster by reinforcing the objectionable behaviour with normal but unthinking responses.

On Manipulators

(page 119)

Manipulators are cautious, coy and distrustful of others. They like to play games, bargain and strategize. They approach their game in a rather logical and specific way. They are expert players. They typically think through all their moves before executing them. In fact, they would prefer to have all the pieces before the game even begins. Favourite tactics include acting confused, stupid or helpless, playing the martyr, pitting people against one another, and trading for “favours.” They believe in the adage that dumb can be smart. They are invariably quite charming people who know the value of being dramatic when the occasion warrants. In chameleon-like fashion, they can become blamers, pleaders and weaklings.

On Whiners

(page 149)

Whiners see themselves as noble warriors for all that’s right in the world, so they complain about all they see that’s wrong. They are self-righteous folk who view themselves as perfect, but powerless. They typically have an answer or, better still, a prescription to virtually all of life’s many problems but they assume they lack either the authority or the means to implement solutions. The act of whining keeps them blameless and innocent … in their own eyes at least.

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