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Finish the Race Strong - One Good Choice at a Time!
Solving Conflicts 101: The ABC's!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to win an Olympic Gold medal? Imagine what it would be like to be standing just a little bit above your opponents as you receive the Gold medal for being the greatest champion in the entire world! Or imagine what it would feel like to be seated somewhere towards the front of the audience at the Academy Awards, where the best of the best is singled out and given an award to honor their artistry as actors or actresses, directors or producers, etc. Image how it would feel to hear your name read in front of millions of people across the world as they read who the nominees were for the Best Actor or Actress. Then with a slight pause that seems like an eternity of waiting, you hear them say that the Academy Award goes to YOU!
For every single first place winner, there are 1000's of folks who did not win, and perhaps they never will win either, at least not in such a way that they will be honored in front of millions of people.
Perhaps nearly everyone goes through a stage in their teens when they begin to wonder what it is that they would be good at. Often times, teens or even those who are well into adulthood will ponder that question of what they may be good at, you understand, not just good, but actually better at than anyone else in the world.
People do not aspire to be average. People do not form their hopes and dreams upon the idea of coming in second or third place. We would all like to be winners at something. But the truth seems to be that most of us never become the winners that we would have like to have become, and far too often those who are closest to us seem to actually discourage us from even trying to step out of our comfort zone to achieve something unique or different from the status quo of what their expectations are for us.
At a particular High School in Lincoln, Nebraska, cross-country running was popular thing thing to do. The kids had an excellent coach that kept them motivated. There were plenty of races to run throughout the fall semester that kept the kids in state of readiness. They trained hard... sometimes in the blistering heat of late summer; sometimes in cold, windy, and rainy days of early fall. Every kid dreamed of becoming the fastest runner and winning the State Championship, and among them was a student in his senior year named Steven.
The desire to win was strong for Steven, and the fact that his older brother had won the State Championship just two years earlier put even more pressure upon Steven to win the big race. At last the day of the final race came, and there were runners present from High Schools all across the State of Nebraska. Also present at the race was Scott, Steven's older brother... with his digital video camera in hand... with the eager anticipation of seeing his younger brother win the race.
Ready! Set! "BANG"! The gun went off and the runners started off for the five mile race to see who would win the State Championship. Scott new the course well, since he had run there many times. His plan was to video record Steven and cheer for his brother as loudly as he could. Each time Steven and the other runners past Scott, he would make a mad dash across the country fields to intercept the runners on another stretch of the track. Once there he would record Steven every time he past by ...cheering wildly for him to encourage him to run his fastest and offering tips about how many runners he needed to pass to get the front of the pack.
Little by little, Steven began to fall back farther and father from the lead runner, yet not willing to admit to the defeat of his younger brother, Scott continued to cheer wildly for Steven every time he passed in front of Scott. At last, when Steven got to the final stretch of the race, 30 runners had already crossed the finish line in front of him, but Scott's enthusiasm and cheer for his brother continued unabated. The last 300 yards of the race is where all the Moms and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas, and brothers and sisters all line up to cheer the runners as the run their fastest in the final stretch.
Steven appeared very much exhausted as he came into the final stretch; however, Scott was there for his brother. His camera was running, and he was determined to cheer for his brother all the way to the end of the bitter defeat. Finally, Scott had to dodge through the crowd of spectators...with camera running ...with his own legs running ...and his voice screaming out at the top of his lungs with enthusiasm and cheer for his brother, "Finish strong, Steven! Finish Strong!"
Sometimes, life seems to be an awful lot like a cross-country race. There are days that go by where we encounter one setback after another, and we find that half way through the day we are exhausted, out of breath, and the finish line is nowhere in sight. On days like that, wouldn't it be nice to have someone right there running just behind us, cheering wildly for us, "Finish Strong!" You understand, the finish line is just ahead. Don't give up now, "Finish Strong!"
In the race of life, the measure of a man is his character. It is our character that produces both our greatest successes and our worst failures. In the real world, people only cheer for the winners... not the losers. And too often the losers get laughed at or jeered... or perhaps at the best, they are simply ignored altogether.
If everyone in the world was lined up together and given the choice of being in one of two groups, where one group was for people who thought that life was very easy, and the other group was for all those folks who thought that life was very hard, which group do you think would be biggest of the two groups. It's easy to assume that the group for those who thought that life was very difficult would be much bigger of the two groups.
If you already think that life is very easy, Solving Conflicts is not for you. Our focus is for those who think that sometimes life can be very hard and very challenging... and who also would be the type of people that could appreciate someone cheering for them, "Finish Strong!"
Making a better choice next time is often the only solution that is available to us for the last time we made a mistake or were involved in a conflict. This is the entire purpose of Solving Conflicts. That is to say -- it is our entire purpose to help people identify what the issues are in their life in terms of the foundation of their character, and to help them see things in plain black and white.
You can have a clear idea of what Solving
Conflicts Part Two is by comparing it to this easy child's
fairy-tale. However, we have changed the story just a little bit
to illustrate an idea.
Will you imagine for a moment that Santa Claus was working on his famous Naughty
or Nice list? He is checking to see who would get gifts and who would
not. Are you okay with that so far?
Now, imagine Santa was getting a bit upset with the job of keeping track
of so many people. There were too many people to tally up and be finished in
time. Moreover, there was too many that were nearly as naughty as they were
nice. It was getting very hard to choose. In fact, he discovered that his nice
list was shrinking every year, and he was starting to get worried.
Then one day, one of his Elves came up to him with a grand idea. The Elf said, "Hey,
Santa Claus, I have a grand idea for you to cheer you up. Why don't you help
people out a little bit more? Why don't you just help people to learn to be
nicer instead of not giving them any presents when they are naughty? That way,
if everybody learns to be nice, you can just throw away that whole Naughty
or Nice list. Then you can simply bring gifts to everybody in the whole world!"
Santa thought aloud and scratched his head, "Hmm!" He said to the Elf, "I'm
guessing you have such a plan all worked out. How we can teach all the people
of the world to be nice instead of naughty?"
The Elf said, "Yes, Santa, I do ...ah, err ...that is to say, the Elves and
I have worked out a plan. Every person in the whole world can learn to be nice
instead of naughty. In fact, Santa, we put it on the internet so that everyone
in the world can start learning right away!"
Learning to be nice instead of naughty!
Therein is the essence of Solving
will be making a list & checking it twice (or more) to find out
whether you have been naughty or nice. However, if there are things
that you find out you have been naughty in, you will be able to learn
about it. You will learn how to know yourself better. You will learn
about alternatives that you can choose to improve your life and relationships...one
good choice at a time!
Please Note: We
would like to offer you just a brief word of encouragement here before
you continue on with Chapter Nine. As it is true of nearly all new
things that we learn, sometimes the new things seem hard at first.
However, after we spend just a little bit
more time with them, we look back and realize that it was not nearly
as hard as we first imagined it would be.
We can assure you that Solving
Conflicts will be no different. It
all becomes clear with a little time and a little effort.
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