Changing our minds is exhausting.
Mental models in problem solving
We all use mental models to make sense of our world and experiences. Mental models are the beliefs, frameworks, mental images, and generalizations we use to understand and explain what's happening. The way we think about people and problems has an important impact on how effectively we solve problems, resolve conflict, and make good decisions.
A good one for your favorite questions list.
Have better disagreements in your personal and professional relationships.
Welcome to Do-Land.
Thank you, Universe.
Prevent your natural negativity bias from hijacking your smarts.
It’ll steer you wrong.
Find a quiet spot for two minutes.
Don’t fall for the sunk cost fallacy.
Love is blind.
Stop trying to persuade them out of their resistance.
There seem to be two routes to empathy. One will tax you more.
Skills alone will only get you so far.
We put people, places, things, and ideas into categories. Categories help us navigate the world and it’s natural to categorize. We categorize in conflict, too. But the tension of conflict increases the chances we’ll make category errors — and category errors can really get in the way of conflict resolution. It’s two o’clock in the […]
If you believe someone is aggressive, could they behave more aggressively with you than with others? If someone believes you are a hostile person, are you likely to act more hostile when you interact with them? Yes. It’s called behavioral confirmation and if you’re interested in your own or others’ conflict behavior, it’s worth understanding. […]
If 21 minutes of your time could make the difference between a marriage that’s crumbling and a marriage that grows stronger, would you do it? Hell, yeah. The following research-based writing activity can have a remarkably powerful impact on marital conflict. It’s free. It’s simple. And you don’t need anyone’s help to do it. We’ve […]
We seek out allies when we’re in conflict because allies make us feel strong and right and reasonable. But in trying to be helpful, our allies may actually help perpetuate the conflict by boosting our certainty. When we’re being tested by a conflict, what we want isn’t an ally, it’s a loving provocateur.
The next time someone declines to take responsibility for words or actions that had a bad impact, don’t immediately assume it’s a flaw in their character. Maybe it’s just their protective brain doing its job. We flip a light switch and the light turns on or off. We experience agency in that moment — the […]
Conflict takes root in the space between our narrative about what happened and theirs. One way to understand conflict resolution is as the act of weaving a new joint narrative, one that includes the most valuable threads in each story A fan approached bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert at a book signing. The woman said, “Eat […]
When we deliver or receive information in a totalizing way, we make a difficult conversation needlessly more difficult. Here’s how to resist this type of all-or-nothing thinking and take some of the pain out of disagreements and negative feedback.
Conflict in personal, professional and business relationships leaves permanent cracks and breaks behind. What if, instead of trying to ignore or hide the damage, we revered it, understanding that “better than new” is more valuable than “good as new”?
Chronic tension and conflict can provoke reactions that are more about what happened in the past than what’s happening at this very moment. In such instances, the conflict may be quite real but not entirely true. Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s plane was departing late. This was not unusual; in those days, air travel in Nepal was uncertain. […]
Thinking about the future helps couples overcome relationship conflict and view the situation in a more reasoned and positive light, according to new research. Here’s how to use the researchers’ simple mental exercise to create psychological distance from a conflict and dial down the heat of an argument. A University of Waterloo study found a […]
Strengthening your conflict resolution chops isn’t about learning a new skill and then trying to use it in your most difficult conversations. Just as you wouldn’t start running and try a marathon the following week, acquiring more successful conflict resolution habits is about a slow, steady build. Start with 30-second chunks.
“That’s not my problem” are four of the most frustrating words to hear when you’re trying to talk through a conflict. They’re dismissive and may leave you feeling powerless to resolve the problem. Here are three tried-and-true ways to get problem-solving moving forward again. To deal with the “not my problem” problem, you must first […]
Challenging problems often demand that we push beyond familiar options and explore new territory in order to solve them. But leaving the familiar behind is uncomfortable and sometimes unpleasant. When we can stop ourselves from hurrying out of the “groan zone” and doing the important work we need to do there, our problem solving is […]
Under-match the behavior.
How to deal with difficult people? It’s one of the most frequent questions I’m asked in my workshops and by readers, friends, and grad students. Here’s my strategy for dealing with difficult people and why it so consistently works. Occasionally I am difficult. I don’t set out to be difficult and I may not even […]