A beautiful song, vision, and dream on this special day.

As Israel Kamakawiwo began singing this beautiful, joyful song,  i turned up the volume as it brought joyful tears to my eyes.

somewhere over the rainbow2_smaller +artsy

Enjoy, and think about how we all have the power to create joy in our hearts and our lives. Even if and when we believe we don’t have the ability to do so.

Remembering, and even replaying this beautiful rendition of a wonderful song may help lighten your load.

Israel Kamakawiwo


We have two ears and one mouth for a reason…. but is that all we need…

…no, we also need to know how to manage the equipment we’ve been given.

listen-duck_2ears,2eyes1 mouth

So i shut up and paid attention, even in my own head. Lol You see it’s been an interesting week for me with many fine examples of people, including myself, whose eyes and ears were overcome by emotions.

yelling - mom, dad, cat

Only our mouths were being used. And the results we all experienced were not pretty to behold.

So unless you like expressing your anger or frustration, and you don’t mind the consequences, evaluate your own behaviours with an open mind.


That’s what i did mid-stream.

Learning_When student-is-ready-the-teacher-will-appear.

 So my answer was “no” when i asked myself whether i was  satisfied with my behaviours, & how they affected my emotions and my life in those moments?

Remember, we have to become learners first, if we want to more effectively use the abilities at our disposal;


listen-duck_2ears,2eyes1 mouth … the 2 eyes and 2 ears to look so we can listen 4 times as much as we talk.

If we feel, or perceive that there’s conflict brewing, and we’re actively listening, we  might also see or hear clues where the satisfying resolutions might lie.

conflict - 6 & 9


Is”positive self-help crap,” as Mark Manson believes?

Is Mark Manson’s “negative self-help the therapeutic approach people need if they’re painfully confused and suffering?

In 2016, the U.S. selfhelp industry was worth about $9.9 billion dollars, according to a report from Research and Markets. Market researchers have predicted that the industry will be worth $13 billion dollars within the next four years, by 2022.

After reading Marks’ dissertation, it’s clear that he believes that many are wasting their money on, at best, placebos.


Mark open’s with

“Look, I know what you want to hear. I know you want to hear that everything is going to be alright—no, better than alright, that it’s going to be fucking amazeballs. I know you want to hear that the pain in your life will one day be gone, that those dreams will one day become reality, that the only thing standing between you and destiny is yourself. *Cue inspirational music* ….”

… “But I say fuck what you want to hear. Because let’s be honest, that’s not what you need to hear.”

“Because I’m a bit fed up with all that positive self-help crap. You would think that after about seven decades of this “just stay positive!” nonsense we’d start to see some goddamn results around here. Yet, staggering rises in anxiety, depression, suicide and hopelessness across the world and we’re all sitting in Kumbaya circles yelling, “Just believe in yourself!””


Read Mark’s dissertation then decide what you believe.

So what do i believe? No information is wasted, and no potential knowledge can be ignored. Mark believes what many believe, and whether his option works for some people will be subjective to them.

No one size fits all, ever.

How people avoid hard conversations with themselves when egos refuse to see optional truths.

While egos and fears bolster walls which hide personal truths, people will repeat less-than-satisfactory decisions, because they expect new and satisfying outcomes.

Einstein defined such behaviour as functional insanity.

As i tried to help people in relationships resolve their escalated differences,  i heard one man say during a pre-mediation exploratory session; “My wife isn’t interested in sex.”  I had been eliciting his views about why his wife had left him, the precipitating event which had forced him to finally agree to her demand that they come and talk to me.

Like many of those who come to me for help, he was denying and avoiding personal responsibility for the escalated conflict.

In reality, the only thing he knew for sure was that his wife wasn’t interested in having sex with him.

Avoidance - the elephant in the room

In this husband’s situation, he could never stifle his ego-motivated compulsions, and filters, so he couldn’t accept that he was any way responsible for his wife’s disinterest; nor could he breach the impenetrable walls protecting his ego.

The mediation was not successful from his point of view; the wife however saw the outcome differently, realizing quickly that the process had achieved what she wanted; and the truth was freeing to her. It was her ‘get out of jail free’ card.

Avoidance - not a strategy, a cop out

“Avoidance is not a strategy, it’s a cop-out” is only partially accurate.

Avoidance IS a cop-out, but it is also a strategy to hide truths which are too difficult, potentially painful, and impossible for a person to acknowledge or accept.

Avoidance is short-term gain ensuring long term pain.

For different futures, if you don’t want to repeat your negative relationship experiences and less-than-satisfactory decision-making outcomes, stop hiding hard truths about yourself from yourself.

decisions - today creates tomorrow

It’s not about allocating fault; it’s about accepting hard truths in order to develop emotional competency and intelligence.

emotional intelligence - leadership

“The Huge Cost of Being Right;” the price people pay when they try to win at all costs.

Many people who feel threatened when negotiating try to ‘win at all costs’ without thinking how they are about to damage, or possibly destroy a relationship.


That may be ok when negotiating to buy a house or a car since most times, the relationship you have with the salesperson is finite and less important. But when we have a disagreement with someone we care about, emotionally or instrumentally, the relationship will be damaged if anyone believes the agreement was unfair or that they’ve been taken advantage of.

Part 1 of 2: The price people pay when they try to win at all costs.

Part 2 will follow part 1 as you scroll down this page to “The Huge Cost of Being Right.” 

All conflicts will be resolved, sooner or later, satisfactorily or not. An A bomb, real or metaphorical, may be a preferred solution for some people.atomic bombatomic bomb aftermath

Those people believe that using whatever power they have at their fingertips justifies any costs. To them, the end justifies the means if they get what they want.

Knowledge is power, and preparation is all. So file this away so you can prepare to manage yourself next time someone attacks you over a difference you have with them.

When facing conflicts, we always decide whether we will avoid, fight, or collaborate so all those involved are relatively satisfied with the outcome.

When you have a difference with anyone over anything, consciously or unconsciously, you will decide on the importance of that relationship when you disagree; however, when people are afraid of losing anything important to them, including pride or status, fight or flight can take over so they fight harder to win.  Since we we negotiate many times daily, we may have to decide what we want future relationships to look like several times a day.

If we want to sustain and nurture any relationship, we need to respond mindfully, not aggressively.

decision making - X or +

Always remember that people also negotiate in their heads, with themselves? “Should i agree,” “Is he serious,” “Is this the best deal i can make?” What they decide in their heads will dictate the reaction you will face.


So if another person’s decision doesn’t work for me, if i want to nurture the relationship, i need to find out how they made that decision. It is not an end, it is the beginning of another phase during a collaborative resolution process.

decisions - today creates tomorrow

How you react or respond will ultimately decide what your relationship with that person will look and feel like in the future. 



Herb Cohen, the Author of “You Can Negotiate Anything” told us his father believed that an effective negotiator “left every negotiating table having given more than she received.”

But many negotiating students often resisted this theory, until they understood how they could give up something less important to them, but which was more important to the other negotiators.

So the key to a successful negotiation is to find out what’s important to everyone negotiating, and why. Wars and strikes, in fact all escalated disputes, are fundamentally failures to negotiate effectively.

You can win a war, but lose the peace when you win at all costs.

negotiating - with yourself by Mandela

“The Huge Cost of Being Right.”

The following article, The Huge Cost of Being Right was first published in the January, 2008 edition of Douglas Magazine, Victoria's Business Magazine. This article was also subsequently republished in several on-line human resource and business sites.© Joseph Ravick -

The reality is the bottom line when it comes to resolving conflicts and disputes at home, in business, and everywhere in between.

negiating - principled

Like it or not, conflict between people is inevitable, yet fair and acceptable resolution is not. As Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton wrote in their influential book, Getting To Yes, “Whether in business, government, or the family, people reach most decisions through negotiation.”

As was so often observed in many of the conflicts we were asked to help resolve at Appropriate Resolutions, the following three teams of business owners had to make vital decisions when negotiations failed. The escalated disputes then took on a life of their own, as disputes often do.

Names and some details have been altered to protect confidentiality.

Home-based business vs. strata council

Bill Jones wasn’t worried when illness waylaid him; optimistically, this 45-year-old entrepreneur decided to refocus his time and energy on a home-based business. He would market previously owned treasures through an internet auction site with the help of his wife and teenage son. Their townhouse almost paid for, Jones thought he was secure in his home office and in-house showroom-warehouse. Until one of his neighbours objected.

Bill’s strata council told him to cease and desist, and in that moment of heightened stress and anger, all Jones could see was a long battle ahead with little guarantee of success. With little thought for the consequences, he didn’t comply with or even answer the directive, generating a predictable reaction from Charles Stewart, the council president.

From there, the dispute became increasingly personal, pitting neighbour against neighbour.

A court finally settled the dispute and everyone walked away tense and angry. Jones and his family ultimately decided to move, but significant residual tensions remained between some neighbours. So who won?

Everybody lost, and unnecessarily. Since we all negotiate daily, one way or another, we need to remember Sun Tzu’s 2,500-year-old wisdom, and apply it to our conflicts.

“The smartest strategy in war is the one that allows you to achieve your objectives without having to fight.”

In a case with similar issues, home-based businesswoman Beth Brown spent time with the strata council chair to reach a mutual understanding first about what was important to each party. Agreeing that they both valued community spirit and neighbourliness made it easier to resolve their differences collaboratively.

Beth Brown assured the council that she would make sure that clients would no longer be coming to her home and wandering around the property.

Beth thought that she could carry on her business successfully, and she was right. The added benefit was that she remained friends with her neighbours and co-owners, some of whom even became her clients, ironically.

Partners’ blow-up over ‘widgets’

Jon and his dad William White joined with Samuel and Patricia Green to realize their common dream of owning and managing a small manufacturing business. For the first five very busy years, all worked diligently as friends and colleagues. Father and son marketed the products and handled administration, while Sam and Pat Green managed production and distribution.

Then one day, a verbal explosion between two of the partners exposed an underground conflict. Ostensibly over administrative practices, the flare-up quickly deteriorated into arguments about how hard each worked. The partners were shocked by each other’s vehemence and aggression.

Clearly what had been percolating below the surface had now boiled over, bringing their company to the brink of disaster. When their bank manager, also their friend, heard a brief description from William White about what was going on, he recommended a transformational mediator, and suggested my name. Their divisive differences had by then invaded and disrupted all parts of the owners’ personal and professional lives, so they all quickly agreed.


I began by helping the four partners to acknowledge and to value their common dream. This motivated them to challenge the “conflict monster” — their common threat — instead of each other.

Curiosity replaced judgment as they collaboratively problem-solved and established open, active lines of communication and a conflict-resolution process for future differences.

Ten years later, their successful business had thrived, growing beyond what even they had envisioned. The experience of resolving that first big blow-up had helped them strengthen the foundations of their relationships, which undoubtedly enabled their successes.

strength - power over mind - Aurelius


The list of potentially devastating disputes is almost endless, but broken contracts, malpractice & flawed work, outstanding debt, and interpersonal disputes between partners are all on the current “hit parade” of disputes ending up before judges or arbitrators. If you doubt that dispute resolution is a fast-developing growth industry, look under the “Lawyers” section of any city’s yellow pages directory.

Whatever the details, the bottom line on conflicts is that when differences have not been resolved to everybody’s relative satisfaction, people will do whatever it takes to win a “fair-to-them” remedy.

Since Fisher and Ury first published their findings from the Harvard Negotiation Project more than 25 years ago, , much has been learned about conflict, how it grows, and how people can communicate effectively to manage and resolve their differences.

Communication & negotiation - Failure to communicate

When conflicts evolve into malicious disputes, as the sadistic captain of Road Prison Gang 36 said to Paul Newman in the 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke, “What we got here is a failure to communicate.”

Since all conflicts will be resolved, sooner or later, satisfactorily or not, we all have to decide whether we will avoid, take the war-like adversarial road, or whether we will collaboratively negotiate so everyone who cares will get what they need.

So next time you face a conflict, hit the pause button, then choose an appropriate resolution process, consciously.

Don’t be afraid to tell those with whom you disagree what you’ve decided, what you want to do, and how important the relationship is to you?

If you care, the cost of defeating the other person may not be worth what the victory will cost you.

negotiations - boys bedtime


Living has risks without certainty. So do you want to try raking leaves on a windy day?

Managing lives effectively requires finding out what we don’t know, but need to know.  But if life is an ongoing ‘crap game’, what are the odds a gambler will live the life of her dreams?

regrets - once liked

Even in my little corner of the globe, in person and through the internet, many people ask me to help with more or less complex problems such as these:

  • “Should i accept my first teaching-job offer, even if it’s a school in South Korea?”…
  • “Should i leave my abusive partner with whom i’ve lived for 15 years?”…
  • “Should i move across the country for that higher paying IT job?”…
  • “I hate how i seem to be on a treadmill going nowhere. How can i become that someone who knows where they’re going and how to get there?
  • “Should i go back to school, leaving the job i hate and the security it offers so i can do what i really love with my life?”…

….  Such life-changing questions are being asked and answered every day by people across our planet. I also see how many were never taught how to make complex decisions mindfully.

Hope, each morning

This is what i believed 51 years ago when my “best laid plans of mice and men” were derailed. Thanks to an out of control driver and his four wheel missile, i lost a lot of memories, how many i’m still finding out. My personality also seemed to have been replaced with a stranger’s and i had lost the use of much of my body with a less than positive prognosis for a full recovery. I was faced with a blank slate, or so i mistakenly thought.

The pain of physiotherapy for months took my mind off my insecure future, was worth the efforts, but then i found out that the real work was about to begin.   Looking back on my life, i had obviously done what i needed to do. But it took years of study, experience, reflection, and learning for me to articulate how i managed to become more than i had been before my imposed metamorphosis.

Unfortunately, many believe that their outcomes will depend mainly on chance, luck some call it.

decision making-Luck and opportunity

When you are facing challenging decisions, here are three critical elements you will need to consider if you plan on getting what you need and want.

  1. You need to appreciate what you know.
  2. You need to identify what you don’t know, and need to know.
  3. You need to know what part of what you want to do can be done now, what parts needs to wait, and what they need to wait for. Timing will always make a difference. 

Most successful people will admit that luck played a part in achieving their successes; most also agree with Branch Rickey’s aphorism: “Luck is the residue of design?”

planning without action

Many years ago, I interpreted Rickey’s words to mean that if i plan effectively, 2 benefits will accrue;

  1. First, i will the minimize the potential damage inflicted by unexpected bad-luck bombs;
  2. Second, i will allow good luck to jump in so i can satisfy what i set out to accomplish.

That’s been my experience. So before, during, or after i make plans important to me and my life, i perform a S.W.O.T analysis.  I use this tool to analyze my plans, my actions, my outcomes as a reality unfolds; and always, i apply it to myself.

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

Reality for me is always the bottom line, whether i like the outcomes or not!

 We can never envision everything which might happen, but we can mitigate the potential damage of threats which could happen. 

Mindfulness pays.

decisions - today creates tomorrow

If “Money makes the world go round, and sex makes the trip worthwhile,” why is Andy still frustrated and unhappy?

“Some people find self-destructive behaviours almost impossible to resist!”

Andy said to me that he believes “Money makes the world go round, and sex makes the trip worthwhile.”

He has compulsively and usually successfully chased both, but is still obsessed with accruing more; why?  Why is ‘more’ never enough for Andy? 

Peggilee Wupperman Ph.D., Beyond Self-Destructive Behavior suggests thatSelf-destructive or dysregulated behaviours provide relief or even pleasure in the short-term – but ultimately get in the way of living a life that feels satisfying and fulfilling. These behaviours can include alcohol/drug abuse, binge eating, compulsive computer gaming and sex, self-injury, smoking, or a host of other behaviours that feel helpful (satisfying) in the moment but are and turn out to be harmful over time.”

I can’t tell you why Andy keeps hurting himself specifically, but after a few drinks and who knows what else, a new manic, hypersensitive, mercurial, and ‘desperate to have fun’ Andy emerges.  Andy seemed oblivious to the changes which came over him, but like the hamster on his exercise machine…..hamster running wheel  … Andy just kept running faster and getting nowhere.  Andy was not his real name,  and he’s certainly not alone running among the many who remain unhappy with their realities and blame bad luck for their frustrations and unhappiness. But the real answers to ‘why me’ are never that clear or simple.

decision making - luck & bad decision - cheers

So is Andy delusional, suffering from an undiagnosed psychosis, demonstrating what used to be called characterological behaviour? What we know for sure is that Andy is like Hans Christian Andersen‘s “Emperor” and his invisible “New Clothes.” 

confusion 3 knowing - baby see me when i close my eyes

From the time we’re born, we try to make sense of our world. Some are successful, but many aren’t. Once we actually leave our cribs and have to make decisions more complex than whether to play with that pretty flickering flame, we need to start learning the lessons life teaches us every moment.

We need to remain strategically confused and curious.

ignorance_Learning by pissing on fence_rogers

The first step on the path to knowing anything requires being confused, then admitting to ourselves that we don’t have the complete answer, especially when we face complex challenges like ourselves.

confusion - those who aren't don't understand

Our Assumptions, Perceptions, and Expectations convince us that we have all the answers we need. So if you want to see the world as it really is, start looking for what you don’t know; if you’re ready to face the truth and the lesson it’s offering you.  Whatever your plan, there will always be unexpected challenges to which you’ll have to  react or respond.

Remain curious then search for the unanswered questions in any experience.

Those questions will lead you to the answers you’ll need to more effectively navigate your future.

self reflection - dinosaur

Reflect mindfully with clear eyes, an open mind, and an optimistic heart.

intelligence & curiosity

Learning_When student-is-ready-the-teacher-will-appear.