Our world is filled with conflict—ideological conflicts, conflicts among countries, and honest disagreements between people.A lot of pain and suffering has resulted from conflicts, but is it the conflict itself that has caused the negative outcomes, or is it how the conflicts are handled?Conflict resolution has been studied and written about extensively, and there is a wide range of information available, but a glance through the news tells us that to many, winning conflicts is more important than resolving conflicts peacefully with lasting results. People will always disagree with each other. It’s one of the things that makes life interesting. If we all agreed all the time, think of how bland and boring life would be.Conflict is not inherently a negative thing, but it is often thought of as something to be avoided or quickly ended. However, conflict, if handled patiently and with an open mind, can help us to learn about each other and can ultimately lead to positive change. Unfortunately, people are often defensive about their opinions, feelings, and beliefs. This defensiveness can stem from associating our stance with a core value. In these instances, an honest disagreement can seem like a personal attack.
How open are you to new ideas, new experiences, or new people?Some people are quite happy with their routine and feel like they don’t need anything new in their lives. But we learn and grow only when we face new things that we haven’t before (see Growth). When we go through periods of routine in our daily lives, it can be too easy to stick with our usual experiences or comfort zones. However, even if we feel like we’re happy with our routine, something new can offer us an element of surprise, excitement, or wonder that can enhance our outlook and mood. This might include meeting someone new or being open to different roles, or it might be a drastic departure from what we normally do, whether personally, professionally, or spiritually.It might also be as simple as increasing our awareness of the details of our current routine—an openness to the nuances that make each day special and new.
When was the last time you had some free time?
By free time, I don’t mean time to mow the lawn or a chance to finally clean the garage. I mean time that’s completely yours to do whatever you want—to do what you feel like doing in the moment.
Free time is such a foreign concept to most of us—we generally don’t make time for it and don’t even recognize it when we have it. Fitting in free time—unstructured time—can be extremely rewarding and can help us learn about ourselves and how we fit into our world.
We talk to people all the time.
Although technology has resulted in a decrease in the amount of communication that happens in person, it is still a critical aspect of how we interact. When something is important or sensitive, we handle it face to face.
But how many of us are skillful in the art of conversation—not just small talk, but meaningful conversation that transcends the narratives in our head and the need to steer the conversation to our benefit?
Everything we have, everything we know, and everyone we love will someday be gone. We will all be gone someday too.
Permanence is a delusion, and although the idea of permanence can sometimes be comfortable—making us feel secure and stable—it can also make us unprepared for the changes in our lives.
If we feel we can maintain our lives just the way they are in any given moment, we will invariably be frustrated and disappointed.