Open eyes are not always enough – gotta open ‘em ‘wider’

July 29, 2014

Antonio de Mairena

from Juan de Mairena


To see things as they are, the eyes must be opened; to see things as other than they are, they must be even wider; to see things as better than they are, they must be open to the full. 


At a recent family meeting my wife came up with the idea of each of us thinking of three positive things that happened that day or the previous day.  We started this morning when I sent an email with my three things to her, and my son (16) and daughter (18).  So far, my wife has replied with her three.

It felt weird, but it felt good. I had to open my eyes wider.

We are trying to get out of a rut.

Break the closed door staring habit and open doors will seem to miraculously appear.

July 28, 2014

This title was inspired by Helen Keller’s quote  below from We Believed -


When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. 


Pondering the antidote for the human pride problem is humbling

July 27, 2014


Pride is really a human tendency to want to dominate a situation, to gain something. It is not bad in and of itself. It is important enough to our survival as a species to persist in us despite the hazards it creates. It makes me think of how recessive genes for sickle cell anemia offer immunity to malaria, but when two recessive genes combine in one person, it becomes a painful, debilitating, and deadly disease.

Humility has survival value too, as it has also persisted.  It is in constant use by those who are already worthy of employing it as a pathway to real learning, execution and contribution to betterment. Otherwise it rejects our efforts and in so doing invites  us to step back and retrace some preliminary steps we have not really understood yet.

It won’t insist though. Humility never insists. In so many human efforts, pride will rush in and seem to help us get our bearings. By that point, humility has already stepped back. It has done its job  and we have just failed to heed its guidance.  Humility will let us flounder about uselessly guided by pride until we become exhausted.

Meanwhile, not capable of anything on its own, our pride bounces back by insisting on taking credit for the  fruits of humility. And often not even the fruits of our own humility, but someone else’s.

But ultimately our pride will render us incapable of even utilizing those fruits.

So the meek really shall inherit the earth. I just hope pride doesn’t render earth  a place no longer worth  inheriting.




We first raise the dust and then claim we cannot see. George Berkeley

July 26, 2014

Born in the 17th century, there is plenty about George Berkeley’s life and work that don’t really fit into the 2014 mindset. We are conditioned to see contradictions between his viewpoints, but this quote perhaps can serve as a warning not to let our post-modern ‘dust’ get kicked up to blind us as we consider his contributions.   He was a Christian apologist, and even has a feast day in the Episcopal Church, and yet his empirical philosophy is widely recognized as opening the way to the work of  philosophers Kant and Hume, and the scientist Einstein.


Live all you can…the right time is ANY time….Henry James

July 25, 2014

What are you waiting for? Other people to be nicer, for more money, for nicer weather? Live all you CAN. This quote is not about getting yourself all uptight because what you currently can do is not meeting some expectation you or someone else has of you. It also says to do it ANY time, no time pressure to get it perfect by a certain deadline.


Just do whatever.








The RADD solution gets at the root of anger – Four Steps

March 29, 2014

Any solution to the very tough problem of anger can’t be either overly simple or complicated. Building on Dr. Carl Semmelroth’s work, I came up with four steps that resulted in an acronym that I hope will help users get to the root of the anger problem. RAD(D) is short for ‘radical’ which also means ‘root’. RAD(D) also refers to something kind of cool and appealing in a way that startles you, though it was in more common use in the 80’s. I hope RADD helps you and your clients break your anger trance and make progress in being more calm, confident and effective. It is well worth the effort. Memorize it and be RADD ;)


Recognition of the anger you feel

Acceptance that you are mentally impaired when angry

Determination to solve the problem that provoked the anger later when you are unimpaired

Diversion of your thinking from ‘fuel for anger thoughts’ to anything else until you are unimpaired (15 minutes)

Do you think you’re better than me?

March 7, 2014

Doesn’t all human anger come down to this? Even if someone steps on your foot by accident, and you get angry, it comes down to you wanting to make sure that they don’t think they can get away with it. After all, anyone who thinks they can get away with hurting someone, even by accident, without some kind of contrition, must feel superior. Or so we tell ourselves, and so we get angry about all kinds of dumb shit.

” Do you think you are better than me?!”

Of course, if you are caught up in this kind of thinking , you are easy to bait, and people will get the better of you, because you care if they think they are better than you.

And that is funny, sometimes. Other times it is sad because you use it as an excuse to be abusive, like Happy Gilmore.

Here’s the thing. The problem isn’t that people think they are better than you. The problem is that you care.

Leverage is just smoke and mirrors in negotiation

March 6, 2014

I am the coach that is quoted in this article from Forbes Magazine. Not too long and worth reading.

Welcome to a scary unpredictable world…..created by you

March 2, 2014

‘ Prediction’ is another word for ‘assumption’ , ‘expectation’ or ‘guess’. If you don’t predict anything for a negotiation event, you can’t have an ‘unpredictable’ negotation, right? It takes a lot of mental discipline not to give into the ‘prediction habit’. What makes it even harder to resist is that ‘everybody’ else is doing it. Jim Camp comes along and says you should pay attention to the cause-effect nature of emotion – vision – decision because it is scientifcally proven and readily observable by all of us. He even dares to say that you lack a systematic way to discover and build vision in your adversaries, and it will get even worse for you, because assumptions are your only alternative in a negotiation. Welcome to the scary unpredictable world of negotiation, created by you because of your prediction addiction, that either drives you to early compromise or manipulative tactics. Everybody does it, so it must be ok. And there is a whole industry profiting off your fear – you are going to be vulnerable to becoming prey to the legion of expert predictors out there who throw around vague terminology that cannot be operationalized and render you dependent on the props they use to create the illusion that adopting their opinions will make you safe. Terms like relationship – emotional connection – personality – style – wise – win-win – competitive envioronment … the list goes on and on of bait terms that they use to get the hook in your mouth.

Families are not immune to this manipulation, and they are even more vulnerable because they don’t like to refer to their communication as ‘negotiation’ until they are going through a divorce. Who profits from this? Lawyers, for starters, and Dr. Phil and the rest of the relationship/self-help industry.

What is holding you back?

February 28, 2014

There are many reasons why individuals and teams negotiate badly. But one is the lack of insight into the event at hand. What are you delivering to your adversary in this event? What is holding back this event from moving forward? What is emotionally troubling you? And your adversary? What are you going to communicate? How will you communicate it? Ask yourself this simple question: Who must see what, now? Answer it beginning with yourself – and you will start developing the insight you require.

Santhosh Ebroo
Camp Negotiation Coach

“Who must see what, now? Answer it beginning with yourself ….” – fantastic Santhosh! A much bettet question than ‘what should I do” which does not get us into the visual/emotional part of the brain where decisions happen. -Wim


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