Invest in Positive Possibilities

Written by Thom Rutledge

Continued from page 1

It takes a lot less effort to believe that I am due a windfall soon --- that God surely has some success waiting just aroundrepparttar corner for me --- than it takes to invest in believing in myself inrepparttar 131428 nitty-gritty real world. Don’t get me wrong. I know that “somebody has to winrepparttar 131429 lottery,” and I see no harm in believing that it will be you. That is, I see no harm in expectingrepparttar 131430 long shots as long as you are also investing your valuable energy in believing in yourself inrepparttar 131431 course of your daily life.

If you identify with any of this, try this: Imagine that you are visited by a human-energy-efficiency expert who can evaluate how you invest your valuable daily allowance of energy. (This consultant is of course just a new member to your ever expanding inner-committee.) Like a good consultant, follow yourself around for a day or two, observing and making some notes. Then, fromrepparttar 131432 perspective ofrepparttar 131433 consultant, make a list of recommendations for how you might use your daily allowance of mental energy more efficiently and constructively.

In my experience, most people hire consultants, get their recommendations, then ignore them. I suggest that you listen to this one.

Thom Rutledge is a psychotherapist and author of several books. His new book, Embracing Fear, will be available June 2002. Contact:

Communication 101

Written by Thom Rutledge

Continued from page 1

4. Problem Solve with Benevolence. Be certain to clarify your intention (especially in conflict communication) as seeking a satisfactory outcome for both of you. Find common ground on which to base your communication (i.e. “We each want to be heard completely and accurately,” and/or “We need to make a decision about . . . “) Avoid seeking agreement about perceptions or feelings as a communication goal. There must be room for both of you to win.

5. Future Orient to Problem Solve. Those who forgetrepparttar past are, in fact, doomed to repeat it. True. But those who won’t let go ofrepparttar 131426 past may also be contributing to its repetition. In conflict communication it is best to state complaints about past behaviors clearly and concisely, and then to “future orient.” That is, sink most of your energy into describing and/or requesting what you want or need from your partner beginning now. You must be willing to takerepparttar 131427 chance that your partner wants to and can change along with you. (If you are not able to muster any faith that your partner is willing and/or capable of change, you are probably not working onrepparttar 131428 most serious problem in your relationship. Get some help.)

6. Take Breaks. Each of you must haverepparttar 131429 authority to call time out. And each of you must learn to respect time outs when they are called. Call time out when you recognize old, dysfunctional patterns of communication taking over. (They seem to have a life of their own.) When you call time out, it is imperative that you later initiate a time to talk again. Don’t just leave it hanging.

7. Backtrack. This is my favorite tool, probably because I have had to use it so often. All progress is not forward. Sometimesrepparttar 131430 best you can do is stop mid-mistake, apologize and ask for an opportunity to try again (“do overs” I believe we used to call them). But be careful to not ask for that chance if you do not think you can follow through with some new and improved communication. If you are not ready yet, try apologizing and step back to step 6: take a break.

Keep this collection of tools handy, and make use of themrepparttar 131431 next time you experience a communication problem. Better yet, use them before you experience a communication problem. And remember: You cannot solve many problems from adversarial positions. Work to stay onrepparttar 131432 same side ofrepparttar 131433 problem, and practice having conversations to "convey" rather than to "convince."

Thom Rutledge is a psychotherapist and the author of several books. Contact:

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