While some folks relish the opportunity for conflict – the yelling, the battle, the threatening of a relationship; others will do anything and everything possible to avoid conflict.
Some who fear conflict may become physically and/or emotionally ill by it. Others avoid conflict because they don’t feel their voice is strong enough to stand up to the person they are confronting, or who is confronting them. While most strive to work peacefully with others, conflict doesn’t always have to be a fight.
There can be a positive side to conflict.
In April of 1959, then US President John F. Kennedy, delivered a speech in which he said: “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.” Since that time, we have come to believe that his assertion is correct and have interpreted and used it to promote the thought that out of predicament (conflict) arises an occasion for prospect, to learn or overcome the issue at hand.
Unfortunately, President Kennedy misquoted the use of the Chinese writing system.
Dr. Steven Nguyen studies and trains behavior in the workplace, and in an article he wrote for Workplace Psychology (2014), he debunked the true meaning of the characters and labeled it a “linguistic faux pas.” Nonetheless, many still use the adage to support what they believe reflects that out of conflict, comes opportunity. So, let’s go with that for this article, shall we?
To better effectively communicate with others, we need to step back, listen and understand the other’s point of view. You don’t have to agree with it, but merely understand it. Understanding the vehicle on the communication highway opens the road to an effective line of communication.
When we welcome the conflict, we open ourselves up to greater understanding, learning something new and creating opportunity and solutions. Additionally, we enhance problem solving techniques and improve communication skills through listening, in a more controlled manner.
Next time you find yourself or others in conflict, rather than being quick to prove your position or shy away, take time to listen and understand the other side. By doing so, you may find yourself in a more productive conversation and learning something of value, while keeping your cool and your emotions at bay.
Nguyen, S., PhD. (n.d.). IN CHINESE: CRISIS DOES NOT MEAN DANGER AND OPPORTUNITY. Workplace Psychology. Retrieved from https://workplacepsychology.net/2014/08/10/in-chinese-crisis-does-not-mean-danger-and-opportunity/