Tug of war

For most of us, rarely might a day go by without some type of conflict occurring. It could be something as common as a disagreement at work or home, or even another driver simply cutting you off in traffic.

Your time, energy and emotions are precious so it’s important to be able to choose your conflicts wisely.

If you do choose to engage in conflict (and yes – everything you say and do is a CHOICE), the key is to have effective strategies that can help you deal with it in a more positive manner.

Sun Tzu Art of WarOne of the first ever written self-help books is Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

It is a book about strategy, conflict and change that can be applied to your personal life, business or any situation where conflict can occur.

Here are a few examples taken from the Art of War that can help you deal with conflict more effectively.

Laying Plans/Having a Strategy –

Being prepared for the unexpected is the key to being successful in any battle, no matter how big or small it is.

This involves identifying what you need to do that is to your advantage to help achieve success and then implementing an effective strategy.

An example would be if you have a conflict with a spouse or co-worker who you know is naturally a defensive person. Then part of your strategy could be to start your sentences with ‘I’ instead of ‘You’ to explain your feelings and minimise the risk of them feeling they are being attacked and have to defend their position.

To Make a Stand or Not to Make a Stand –

It is important to know your environment or subject.

It makes little sense to argue or take a stand against something you are not very familiar with, especially if your opponent is more familiar with the terrain or topic. Doing so will only set you up for defeat.

So do not jump into conflict blindly. Research the terrain or topic well so you can make a stand more intelligently with a much greater chance of a more positive outcome for you.

To Win Without Fighting –

CalmThis is probably the greatest skill to achieve in dealing with conflict successfully.

Can you achieve your desired result in a situation of conflict which avoids a battle?

This can be done as simply as not taking the other person’s projections personally and by staying calm and centred which can help to diffuse their charge and avoid a battle.

In summary, it pays to plan beforehand when possible and be aware of all the possible scenarios. Learn to manage your own resources as effectively as you can.

Finally, only engage when you feel calm and strong. Disengage when you do not.

It is said that* –

  • If you know your opponent and know yourself, you can win 100 battles without a single loss.
  • If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or you may lose.
  • If you know neither yourself nor your opponent, you will always endanger yourself.

*The Art of War by Sun Tzu

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