The Recovering Farmer

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Try To Undertand

Conflict can be such a confusing issue to deal with. First we are told that it can be positive. But then again it can be negative. Addressed properly it can be constructive. Improperly it is destructive. Why is that? Maybe, just maybe, it is because we don’t listen well.

The recent election in the USA has shown us some classic examples of what conflict should not be. To a degree this was prevalent in the Canadian election a year ago. Let’s be clear. Obviously as democracies we hold elections because there are many and diverse ideas of what government policy should be about. In simple terms we have ideologies from right wing to left wing. People differ and that is not a bad thing. Political debates and conversations should be a means to discuss policies, share ideas and visions, issues that can improve the lot of citizens and ultimately the world. However, when the dialogue denigrates into personal accusations and insults we accomplish nothing except destructive conflict.

Even after the election, the insults, anger, and gnashing of teeth continues. A short scroll through Facebook proves the point. As someone suggested the other day they miss the day when someone would post instructions on pork chop recipes, or of a dog that was not feeling well, or of. . . . forget it. Might say something I may regret. And don’t even get me going on people that drag religion into the political arena. Never seen such sanctimonious and self-righteous venting as I have in the last year. Perhaps my forefathers were right when they suggested that church and state don’t mix. Their thoughts were that our only duty was to pray for our government. Isn’t that a novel idea.

Sorry. Back to conflict. As has been taught through the ages constructive conflict is important and beneficial. It helps us learn. It helps us develop new thought and ideas. Patrick Lencioni describes the usefulness of conflict in his book “Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. In essence he suggests that the basis of any team is trust and when trust is present team members can engage in conflict because it provides the safety to express ideas and thoughts even if they are bound to create significant feedback.

What is it that spirals our relationships into destructive conflict? Why is it that I have such a difficult time in admitting to being wrong? Why is it that I keep defending my position even when subconsciously I know I am wrong? I hate being wrong. The thought of being wrong is a blow to my self-esteem. In essence it makes me unacceptable to myself. That is why I tend to become defensive. I need to save face.

However, when I drill down to the cause of this defensiveness, when I take the third person approach, I gain an understanding of what is happening internally. I find that I have not listened to understand but rather to respond. I have not taken the time to check on what the other really is trying to achieve. I have not explored what I really need out of the conversation. So I argue vigorously to make my point. A point that becomes lost because quite frankly when two parties are in attack mode what really is the point.

I hate being wrong. What is even worse is admitting I am wrong. So I need to look inward. And answer a key question. Do I want to defend my beliefs at all costs or do I want to see the world as clearly as possible? I want to see the world as clearly as possible. And when I am intrigued rather than defensive I am well on my way to gaining a much clearer perspective and having what the Eagles sing about. “That peaceful, easy feeling.” Make it a good one.

“Be selective with your battles. Sometimes peace is better than being right.”

Monday, November 7, 2016

Much Ado About Nothing

It has been awhile. Did manage to put some thoughts together after our road trip this summer. Still love telling the story of 4 GPS’s, a map, and my wife. Not sure why my inspiration to write left me. Perhaps it was writer’s cramp. Quite frankly I don’t even know what that means. Perhaps I lost focus. Thoughts that could be passed on did not come to me. If they did I would forget before I had a chance to jot them down.

Changing the clocks this weekend seems to have reignited something. Twice a year the debate rages. All the dangers society faces when our bodies have to adjust for a one hour change. Statistics show that there are more accidents the Monday after we lose the one hour. Okay. Perhaps. Just not sure why. Its not that we all have a set time when we go to bed or wake up. So these changes happen in our bodies even if the clock doesn’t change. But to flog that debate again when we gain an hour of sleep is beyond me.

Here is the latest. So as mentioned, in Spring there are more accidents on Monday morning. Now the experts say that the fall change affects us more on Saturdays. Does that make sense? Me thinks that is much ado about nothing.

Don’t get me wrong. Sleep is important. I have been reminded of that again as I prepare for a stress management workshop in Saskatchewan. I have been reviewing the materials used in our Sleepless in Manitoba workshops from a few years ago. How well we perform during the day depends on the sleep we have had the night before. Lack of proper sleep increases the risk of accidents and injury. We become more susceptible to heart attacks, strokes, and other medical issues. There is an increased likelihood of depression and other mental health problems. There is an increase in substance abuse. Research has shown that decreased productivity from lack of sleep costs $25 billion in Canada.

So I get it. We need a good night’s sleep. It will provide for a better quality of life. But does a one hour change really impact that much? Quite frankly if I was in charge I would add another change. Hear me out. Should we not change to daylight saving time the sun would rise around 4:00 am during the time of the summer solstice. It would set at 9:00 pm. It would seem to me that we would spend too much time sleeping during daylight hours. What I would suggest is that right round the middle of May we spring ahead an additional hour. That would make for even longer daylight in the evenings. I like that. After all I am an avid golfer.

So if the one hour change twice a year wreaks havoc in our lives think of the chaos four time changes would create. Apocalyptic. Makes me shudder just thinking of it. In fact I think our current leaders should no longer allow travel outside of our time zones. Just imagine the danger we are when we travel east or west. And the further we travel the more dangerous we become. It should not happen. We need to stay put. Perhaps there is a reason I am not in charge.

There is my vent for the week. Aren’t you glad I was inspired to write about this? You too can now be more aware of the detrimental effects of a time change. Be vigilant. Be careful. But most of all just get some sleep. The good news is that in a mere six weeks the days start getting longer. That’s what I am waiting for. Make it a good one.

“At the end of the day I am thankful that my blessings are bigger than my problems.”