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What is Conflict?

Most of us try to avoid conflict. It is threatening and perhaps even dangerous. This is a very old instinct.

And it is an instinct that bullies take advantage of. The prototypical bully will test to see if you are afraid. If so, he or she knows that they have you where they want you.

But should we fear conflict? Should we seek to eliminate it from our lives? Or is there something in conflict that we actually need?

Stay tuned. i will address that question.

Sony’s Defense: “Who, Me?”

I have been watching Sony trying to wiggle out of the criticism that it has faced over withdrawing the film “The Interview” undre pressure from “hackers”.

The argument is that Sony — surprise, surprise — is a corporation. As if we did not know! As a corporation, Sony has primary responsibility to its shareholders! Therefore it cannot indulge itself in the emotions of the masses. It must protect itself! You can find this idea in the All In interview of a former Sony executive, 

It is not a new idea. Slave traders made a similar argument – that they were answerable only to their investors. Polluting companies as well, have argued that they must fight regulation in order to protect their investors.

But the fact is that “protecting investors” is a slippery concept. Companies protect investors by building loyalty to the brand as well as just existing in the market. In this case, I don’t think anyone would say that Sony has built loyalty to its brand in the way it has acted. Is it protecting investors by taking legalistic positions in the face of a serious assault on public values? Well, let’s see.

But I can see a plot for a new satirical movie — about the executives of Sony that approved this film for production and then ….  well, we know how this played out.

Update: Ruble Rubble

This is the news today from BI – the Russian  finance ministry is trying to prop up the Ruble  but  —

The currency’s volatility at the moment is severe. The ruble is currently up 3.81% against the dollar (today), after falling around 13% yesterday and 10% the day before. It’s dipping back below 65 rubles to the dollar, after approaching nearly 80 yesterday. It was barely above 50 rubles to the dollar at the start of December, and 33 to the dollar at the start of 2014

On the other side of the Atlantic, Obama announced support for  new sanctions against Russia that were passed by Congress.

So far, crude oil prices are holding below $60 per barrel after a brief pop yesterday.

The Sixers: Loving the Underdog

Everyone said that this would be a disastrous season for the Philadelphia 76rs of the NBA. They were going to lose so many games that the fans would give up on them. And then they went out and lost 17 games in a row. It looked like the pundits were right.

But … even though they were losing, something was happening. The young players started to come together. And with the addition of an unknown player from the d league, the Sixers pulled off 2 wins.  Granted, these wins were against teams with records that are nearly as dismal as their own.

But here is the thing. There is something to talk about now. Something is stirring. They are not just losers. They have moved up a notch. Now they are underdogs. And we all love to cheer for the underdog!

Go Sixers!

The Zero Anger Option

No question about it. The most alarming challenge in managing conflict is controlling emotions. Especially fear and anger. When these are aroused, they are hard to set aside. One has to catch them early on — before they grab hold.

It is easy to understand this, but it is harder to do it. A very funny comment form a therapist.

it is rarely optimal to be angry as much as your culture prescribes, unless your community happens to be Buddhist, Swiss, or Inuit.

But can we get through conflict without the anger? Professionals come closer to this ideal. They learn how to focus elsewhere. Can you? Of course you can .. with a little training.