No one likes conflict. And yet, we engage in it, all the time.
At it’s heart, conflict just means that your needs, wants and desires are not matching someone else’s. Sometimes, it’s not even someone. It can be YOU having competing desires due to a situation. Let’s call that situational conflict.
For example, on a walk yesterday morning, my dog, Reine, desired to chase a skunk. The skunk desired to live, hence, conflict existed. Yes, the inevitable dog – skunk dynamic played out and situational conflict happened to me.
This was shortly followed by my desire NOT to give my dog a bath in the lake at 7:20 a.m. conflicting with my desire not to have my dog smell to high heaven for weeks.
And, while this example is amusing and fairly trivial, it occurs to me that life is always handing us things that stink.
How Do We Deal With Circumstantial Conflict?
In his book The Success Principles, Jack Canfield introduced me to the formula: E + R = O.
Events plus Response equals Outcome.
The event, if it stinks, is probably out of our control, so let it go. Reine smelled, it happened, can’t go back in time and walk a different way, so I had to just move on.
We usually know the outcome we want, so focus on that. I wanted a dog that didn’t smell.
The ONLY point in the equation that is within our control is our response. So here are some tips on responding when life stinks:
- Adjust your attitude. For me, that’s finding the funny. In this case, Reine was skunked only 10 days previously and I thought that since German Shepherds are very intelligent, she wouldn’t get skunked again. Who knew prey drive was stronger than bath-loathing?
- Be prepared. Since this HAD happened to ALL my dogs at one point or another, I had deodorizing dog shampoo and skunk enzymatic cleaner on hand.
- Take action. Even if you’re not sure it’s the right action, ANY action will get you working with your thinking brain and not your emotional brain. With Reine, I walked back to the house, grabbed the shampoo, a big cup and two towels and left for the beach within 30 seconds. No time to think about the air temperature and the water temperature. .
- Think about prevention. This goes back to bullet two. What can you do now to either prevent the circumstance from happening again (yes, I could walk her in the woods on a leash)? Or, what can I do to deal with this circumstance better in the future? Obviously, you know I went this route!
Think about what’s going on in your life. What circumstance needs a little attitude adjustment, preparedness, action and prevention?