Learning To Be Comfortable with Conflict?


You are not alone in wanting to avoid conflict. Most of us tend to avoid it. However, the potential for growth and self-discovery lies in conflict. That conflict is a chance to get to know the previously undiscovered sides of yourself. It may help your fear and discomfort about conflict change to excitement about personal growth.

When we work on conflict in groups, a useful attitude is that a group needs conflict in order to understand itself. Conflict may be the field’s way of getting to know and appreciate its parts and of realizing its full self.

–From The Leader as Martial Artist, by Arnold Mindell

As Spotify’s Global VP of Design Rochelle King says in her online talk — “Your Biggest Rival is Your Best Asset” — one of the most effective tools to push forward the creative process is conflict.

Rochelle understood that in order to do her best job as a manager/mover of people and cutting edge technology, she had to learn to be comfortable with conflict.

To appreciate the opportunity to see more than your slice of reality. Your biggest rival has good ideas.

Why not bat things about and see if you can come up with a product or solution that neither of you would have found on your own?

With learning rather than winning as a goal, you will create great products, mend broken relationships, and find solutions more quickly.

Your Rival Is an Asset: Engage Your

You have to catch yourself before you do these things:

  • wanting to advocate
  • convinced you have the best solution
  • talking more than listening
  • persuading, cajoling, manipulating
  • debating only to win
  • demeaning others ideas

If you can catch yourself, you’ll stop for the time it takes to breathe and create a chi moment.

So in that moment you can:

  • listen
  • ask open ended questions
  • learn about what you don’t know
  • ask more questions
  • seek first to understand
  • acknowledge what you hear
  • make their argument for them
  • look for solutions

These are actions that take awareness and practice.

And in time, you will change, you’ll be a different person.

You won’t even notice it happening.

You’ll just begin to have a more calm, centered, creative, and peaceful life.

And things, oddly, will go your way without even trying.

Our greatest learnings often come when we are unaware that we are leaning something. We can study a technique or focus upon a project for days, and the truth or the essence of it just does not seem to click. Then something happens. The fog clears and we notice that we have moved to a new level of truth without ever knowing how we got there. It was not our straining or trying that brought us to this new level. It was our willingness to be aware of what had already taken place that opened new doors.

–From Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much, by Anne Wilson Schaef