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Victoria Pynchon

As the co-founder of She Negotiates Consulting and Training, I offer my services as a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant....

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She Negotiates

She Negotiates

The 33 cent wage and income gap is unacceptable and unnecessary. So is the cliché glass ceiling. Bottom line, our...

The Difficulty of Changing Minds by L.A. Mediator Charles Parselle

One of my own favorite quotes about "changing the other guy's mind" is from commercial mediator Jeff Kichaven:  "piling rationales atop one another to convince a litigator he is wrong is like raising your voice to communicate with a deaf man."

Below is Los Angeles mediator Charles Parsell's more recent take on changing minds from the L.A. Mediator ning group.

To settle a disputed matter, a person has to have a change of mind and here's where the problem starts. As Upton Sinclair said: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his livelihood depends on him not understanding it."

This is why mediation exists. But just because no one ever said it was supposed to be easy doesn't mean it can't be annoying. Sometimes that frustration has to find expression.

Below is the most astounding expression of irritation and frustration and rage I have ever read.


Here's the quiz:

1. Who said these words and how close to a cardiac infarction was he or she on a Scale of 1-10?
2. Can you beat it with your own expression of utter frustration and anger? (In 25 words of less, please.)

Prize for the most creative response.

For articles on the biases that make trying to change our views so difficult, see Scientific Daily's concise distillation of confirmation bias and ChangingMinds.org's article on cognitive dissonance.

My own favorite expression of frustration -- "Had I, my lords, been born crested not cloven, you had not treated me thus!" ~ Elizabeth I Regina

Comments (3)

Read through and enter the discussion by using the form at the end
Joe Markowitz - September 25, 2009 1:05 PM

1. Oliver Cromwell. No idea where he was on a scale of 1 to 10 at that moment.

2. When I get utterly frustrated and angry, I generally find it best to leave the room until my heart rate returns to normal. Sometimes it is also good to let people know that you were so frustrated and angry that you had to leave the room.

Ken - September 26, 2009 4:38 PM

For me the most eloquent story I've been told of dealing with closed minds and frustration involved the African-American abolitionist Sojourner Truth, who attended the National Women's Suffrage Convention in Akron, Ohio, where she delivered her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech.

Only women were allowed to speak and she was such a powerful speaker that an effort was made by opponents of the movement to discredit her by humiliating her.

She was ordered to go to the women's room and bare her breast to prove that she was a woman.

Offered a choice between not speaking and being humiliated she refused to stay in the confines of that choice. She chose to speak and as she went to the women's room to "prove" she was a woman, she said "It is to your shame, not mine, that I do this."

Vickie - September 26, 2009 5:29 PM

Thanks for the comments Joe and Ken. Joe, you exhibit your common sense and even-temper - critical for a great mediator and Ken, I've never heard that story before and am so glad you have told it. How powerful a story is that! Wonderful. Thank you for sharing it with my readers here.

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