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Is peace overrated?

Tom Wall Published on 26 August 2011

Let’s say you were granted three wishes ... would you use one of them on ‘world peace’?

If somehow I was given three wishes, I think I’d use my first one to obtain a million more wishes. And then I guess the idealist in me would say ‘Yes’ to world peace. But as it turns out, I’m afraid I’m stuck being a realist. Now don’t get me wrong, I would still love to live in a land where there’s world peace.

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But with all the strife and turmoil in the world lately, it seems that everywhere we turn these days, conflict is alive and kicking. Whether it’s war in Libya, protests at the state or national Capitol Building, organic versus conventional, Robin Hood economics or a professional sport league’s labor dispute, obtaining world peace isn’t exactly close at hand.

And let’s not kid ourselves; we don’t have to look around the world to realize how difficult it is to find a peaceful coexistence. Think about some of the relationships that you’re personally familiar with: marriages, families, friendships and business partnerships. Many of us struggle to get along with the people that we’re closest to and understand really well, much less people from different backgrounds and belief systems.

I guess, in a way, I tend to think that conflict can actually be a good thing. But now, before you conclude that I’m giving up on ‘getting along,’ allow me to explain.

How many times have you found yourself in the middle of a conflict and instead of addressing it, you let it go unresolved? The conflict continued and so did the tension, right? And since you admittedly dread conflict, you continued to ignore it and the situation grew and got worse, right?

And as the problem ‘rooted in,’ the people and their stubborn positions did too. After a while, it seemed that the damage was too much to overcome, right? I imagine that’s the ugly side of conflict we’ve all experienced in the past or maybe even are dealing with right now.

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The good news is that conflict can help open the lines of communication that lead to resolution. You see, acknowledging that a conflict exists actually serves as an opportunity to address and resolve it.

I know that sounds a little naïve, but think about it. Most of the time, you and I just want to be heard and express our frustration with something that was said or done and then move on. If we don’t allow that to happen, no one is talking and no one is listening. And if neither person is communicating, nobody can hear and consider the other person’s perspective.

Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of really good business partnerships, relationships and families grow further apart and eventually fail. Instead of seeing a normal conflict as an opportunity to talk, clarify and grow, the conflict acts as a wedge that tears the two sides apart.

But wait, it’s not that simple. The key to getting something positive out of conflict is that both sides need to genuinely want to resolve the conflict and make the relationship succeed. If one or both parties are incapable of being reasonable and rational, it’s probably not going to work.

And if that’s ultimately what happens, it would appear that ‘winning’ the conflict was probably more important than resolving it and moving forward in the first place.

The reality is that working with people can be one of the most difficult challenges we all face. But it can also be one of the most rewarding ones at the same time. Resolving conflicts and finding peace within your relationships starts with you. The question is: Who do you need to meet with first? PD

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Tom Wall
President
Dairy Interactive, LLC

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