Friday, November 9, 2007

Oh, no! Confrontation!

Resolve Conflict Quickly with The Four Agreements

It’s that time again: The semester is almost shot, tests and papers are piling up, finals are just around the corner. Your roommates/ sorority-sisters/ guy at the next table/ teachers … SOMEONE is driving you nuts! For your own sanity, take the time to read this, Margaret Mason’s review of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

The Four Agreements
by Don Miguel Ruiz

I dread conflict. In fact, when I know a confrontation is imminent, it’s all I can think about. I mull it over when I could be labeling file folders, I ponder it while my inbox burgeons, while my 3x5 cards gather dust. Conflict is my productivity disaster.

Fortunately, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz gave me a few significant tools for moving past conflict in any arena. … I find it especially helpful when I’m anxious about a tough meeting, phone call, email exchange, or personal conversation. Before I head into the lion’s den, I review the agreements to put myself in the right frame of mind:

1. Be impeccable with your word. Words have immeasurable power, so use them with care. Say only what you mean, and remember your opinion isn’t fact. Silence is better than saying something you’ll regret.

2. Don’t take anything personally. Here I’ll quote the book, “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” That guy honking at you just spilled scalding coffee all over his lap, the boss screaming at you is going through a divorce. Their stuff has nothing to do with your stuff, and assuming you’re the root cause of someone’s behavior is not only self-centered, it’s also a big waste of energy.

3. Don’t make assumptions. You can spend hours generating theories about why someone did something, or you can just ask.

4. Do your best. Do the best you can with the conflict in front of you, and you won’t need to waste brain power on self-judgments or regrets.
Read Margaret Mason’s entire review at

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