Take Charge.

The art of assertiveness…I’m always at a loss with this one. By nature, I’m not the bloodthirsty type. I try to live my life in such a way that I impart as little negative impact on others as possible.  For me personally, assertiveness (or lack thereof) isn’t a function of self esteem, but instead of my laissez-faire attitude. I’m a firm believer in letting things happen instead of forcing things to occur. I find myself more satisfied (and occasionally surprised) when I simply let events occur than when I try to force a good time.

But the unfortunate reality of life is that conflict is inevitable, and oftentimes necessary. It’s through conflict that collaboration can become success, whether in art, business, sport, or relationships. But conflict management and resolution is, itself, an art. How do you approach conflict situations, and ensure that you get what you need while not damaging valuable relationships? I’m not trying to increase assertiveness in order to be an asshole, I’m doing it to avoid being taken advantage of. I believe this to be an altruistic reason, but the truth is, along the way, you are going to come across people that are assertive for the sake of being assholes. So how do you effectively manage these conflicts, while not over-compromising and giving up the needs you require?

I did a lot of digging on the web for an article that could help. There are lots based around conflict resolution, but not many that help in my specific requirements. I did stumble across one on ehow.com – How to Increase Your Assertive Skills. The first tip is a basic one, but one that I find myself struggling with: Saying no. Sometimes, it’s tough to say no – you don’t want to disappoint, you don’t want to appear condescending or that you are undermining, in the case of a superior. But by saying no, and factually backing up your reason, you develop that assertiveness, while maintaining your dignity – not saying yes just to say yes.

How will I move forward?

Well, the list goes on to discuss improving casual relationships, achieving goals, staying motivated. I’m going to start from step 1 though. I’ll spend this week focusing on not jsut blindly agreeing to things, but be prepared to defend why I’m saying “no”. From there, the next step involves asking for what you need factually and succinctly. From there, the steps are moving forward.

RECAP FROM LAST WEEK

Fitness – ran Friday, Ran saturday morning, walked sunday (yes, lame, I know). Tonight is hockey, and then insanity every night this week.

Focus – Well, I’ve been working on spending 5 minutes a day mentally picturing one object. I’ve used my guitar, my phone, my wallet, to varying degrees of success. I’ve also been focusing 5 minutes a day on clearing my mind. Also, way harder than it sounds. I will update again, hopefully with some more tangible progress.

Calm under fire – A couple of stressful incidents came up over the weekend. One I tried to consciously stay calm, but the other I wasn’t as successful….Work in progress.

MUSIC

Lets go with a song that gets me excited – since we are talking about motivations and assertiveness.

The Police – Next To You.

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