wearing the band carries meaning
Wearing the band means accountability. First to yourself, as a reminder to the principles of seeing, hearing, and respecting others. Second, to those you will either explain and/or gift it to. Third, to a mission to engage in a civil exchange of thoughts and ideas, always respecting and learning from the other person.
It's About WE...Not ME
Let go of the thought that every conversation is about changing someone’s mind to YOUR point of view. Instead, think of these conversations as a way to test the validity of and improve your own convictions. Think of it as way to learn something new and to possibly bond with someone through understanding.
How to Disagree WITHOUT Arguing
- Look the other person in the eyes when speaking to him/her
- Speak with a calm, even tone of voice
- Use precise language/don’t exagerate. Avoid terms like “always” and “never”.
- Act and be respectful of the other person at all times
- Maintain friendliness. It is a conversation, not a competition to win.
- Accept the other person’s point of view as valid
- Offer to “agree to disagree”
- Thank the person for their willingness to have a civil discussion
Name Calling...A Big No-No
Name calling is one of the more common tactics people use to belittle or humiliate others. It occurs when someone has little or no supporting logical argument, or wants to assert power over a situation.
Bullying and arguments have never moved problem-solving forward in a positive direction; it is immature, harmful, and self indulgent. While the giver may feel emotionally satisfied, it is only temporary. For the victim it can impact self-esteem as well as incite further violence and anger.
Impact on Children
Children are like sponges. They observe and absorb their surroundings, taking in the good as well as the bad. With heated dialogue and divisiveness dominating the news and social media, our youth are already retreating into tribes of confirmation bias.
Indeed, students and teachers across the country have reported heightened anxiety and a troubling increase in bigoted harassment tied to the political climate. Teachers and parents must be willing to examine their own bad behaviors and its impact on others – especially with regard to children.
Questions That Bond
Better engagement begins with better questions. Here are some great ones to inject:
“While I don’t agree with your view on [xxxx], I think we both agree that [xxxx]”
“That’s a good point”
“I never thought of it that way”
“I don’t agree that [xxxx], but I completely understand why you would see it that way”
Top 10 LIST for 'Walking The Ridge'
- Enter every conversation with the assumption that you have something to learn
- Use open-ended questions (Who, What, When Where, How) to get the other person to get into conversation.
- Listen quietly & completely…not just while you are thinking up your response
- Be aware of YOUR emotional state. Know when you may be ready to ‘GO OFF’ and learn to temper it.
- Disagree Respectfully. Don’t belittle or name call others for voicing ideas you don’t agree with.
- Be WITH that person in the moment. Don’t look at your cell phone, or shift your eyes around to other things – Focus.
- Improve your emotional intelligence (EI). EI is a learned competency that will serve you well as you get better at it.
- If you feel truly threatened, trust your instincts and leave, or agree to disagree.
- Manage your stress. Exercise, walk the dog, meditate – but do something to release the adrenaline.
- Give yourself credit for your success! Walking The Ridge is a discipline that pays off in huge, positive dividends – for you and others.
Internet Rants Produce MORE Anger
People experienced a downward shift in mood after reading rants, and after writing rants, they became more angry, not less. The study was published in the journal CyberPsychology, Behavior and Social Networking as far back as February 2013.
Next time you press ‘send’ on an angry rant, take a minute to think about what you just did. How did it make you feel? Did it promote productive discussion or escalate the divisive conversation? Studies show that if you re-read an angry response 3-4 times before posting, more often than not you will have a change of heart and delete the message or change it to something less threatening or hateful.
Compromise or Not...It's Your Call
Compromise can be a wonderful thing – but FORCED COMPROMISE is an ask or demand often doomed from the start. This falls back on the psychological rationale of beliefs, and how they comprise a person’s actual identity.
When you WALK THE RIDGE, you are not looking to force anyone to change their beliefs or opinions – or feel obligated to change your own. Instead, we encourage dialogue built around respect, which creates trust and allow people to disagree, sometimes vigorously without animosity.
Upon establishing newfound trust and respect, don’t be surprised if you or others find new common ground on previously polarizing issues.
Practice Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions. Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.
It is a very important soft skill used in strengthening interpersonal communication and leadership. Not having it results in having more negative effects such as: insensitivity, arrogance, lack of empathy, selfishness, and volatility.
BUY, WEAR, GIFT...AND COMMIT
Appeal To The Emotional - NOT The Logical
As humans, we make decisions in the parts of our brain that aren’t subject to critical thinking. So if you want to sway someones opinion via discussion, you must first appeal to the emotional part of their brain or “why they feel the way they do”.
NO: “You’re completely wrong – and it’s that type of thinking that is ruining our country”
YES: “Interesting…tell me why you feel that’s the best answer.”
Bite (and hold) Your Tongue
When you’re being criticized, receiving negative feedback or disagreement, listen until the end. DO NOT interrupt or let your emotions cause you to react.
With good reason, emotional intelligence (EQ) is a concept that has become increasingly popular in contemporary psychology. Emotionally intelligent people are receptive to hearing and considering others’ feedback. In addition to being linked to greater relationship satisfaction, EQ is associated with better work performance and an increased ability to manage stress.
Your Digital Words - Always, Forever and with Character
You read a text, email or online article and need or feel compelled to respond with a response which may show your emotions, strong opinion, or attitude. Before you fire it off, ask yourself if the response is one you’d be comfortable having always available to your friends, family, colleagues, and future employers.
Every digital message leaves a trail. If it is appropriate, in sound judgment, or in keeping with necessity – fire away! But if it involves a choice on measuring words and is not needed immediately, it is best to step away for some time and consider a best response for all involved – including your reputation, plus how it will make you and others feel in the long run.
Jumping Into The Fire - To Teach Others
A great opportunity to practice and teach Walking The Ridge is by engaging in an existed, heated conversation.
How many online conversations start off on the main issue, and wind up boiling down to emotionalism, name-calling, and heated words? What better opportunity to find those individuals who are seeking to find a positive engagement, but have very few sane voices in the loop.
If needed, a suggestion would be to create an anonymous account. Remembering that this is for practice and that you can always give the #WTR hashtag or WTR website, as a way to teach and guide others who though disagreeing, may like the way you’ve engaged them.