Monday, June 2, 2014

How To Be Teflon

Everybody gets into difficult situations. EVERYBODY. Everyday. If you aren't getting in one today, good for you. Or maybe you're not trying hard enough. Or don't realize you're in one.

This is a guide to for difficult situations. Not a guide. A few ideas. They may be bad ideas. Apply at your own risk.

This isn't about being a Teflon Don. This isn't about committing crimes and getting away with it. It is about rising above a problem. Finding your way out of a difficult situation. Maybe that means a solution. Maybe that means a victory. Maybe that just means an escape hatch. They all look the same from the other side. I'm not saying this is what I'm always able to do. It is just what I try to do.

EVERYTHING IS A COMPLIMENT

Suppose someone just challenged your solution, put down your proposal, laughed at your ideas. It was supposed to be a professional setting. Just like that you are on the emotional defensive. Stop right there. They have just paid you a flattering compliment. They've just said, "As good as that was, you are better. Show me better." Now do just that.

Who cares that they were crass, inconsiderate? We'll get to the insignificant moments shortly. Or maybe they are just bad communicators. Don't hold that against them. Show them the better way. Ask them what they want, what they think. Get them to tell you the way to communicate with them.

Most people lash out when they don't understand. Confusion sparks primitive emotions bordering on physical reaction. Defuse it by giving them control. Figure out what they need to know by letting them do the talking. Always be thinking about solutions and expect that other people are too.

What if you can't? If you and the other person are at an impasse? Back away. Put time between the two of you and the problem. Notice they aren't the antagonist. You aren't the protagonist. It is the two of you against the problem even if it doesn't, and it usually won't, feel that way.

What if you still can't? Oh, well. Walk away. Some people can't communicate. Or won't. Doesn't matter because . . .

ONLY THE PEOPLE WHO MATTER, MATTER

Deep down the important people are always rooting for you. ALWAYS. And the people who aren't are insignificant. It is just like Thin Lizzy said, "If that chick don't want to know, forget her."

People we care about strive to 'get it'. That is how they show they care about us. And we reciprocate. Being a good friend, a good business partner, a good lover, a good person is about forgiveness, understanding, acceptance, and support. We're trying to make each other better while knowing we ourselves are highly imperfect. So imperfect that there isn't time to consider other's faults because . . .

THE LAST MOMENT IS INSIGNIFICANT

What has happened is literally in the past. What comes next is what matters. You will be judged by what happened and what will happen and you can only change one of those things. It is you're next decision that matters. Make it right, or make a mistake, that's okay because . . .

YOUR MISTAKES ARE TINY

Somewhere right now many people are making colossally bigger mistakes than you are right now. You've made bigger mistakes. You will make bigger mistakes. You learn, you adapt, you improve, you move on. Don't be stuck in the past with those who themselves can't escape it.

Don't focus on the mistakes; you're better than your last mistake. Much better. Now show it. Rise above it.

But how? What if it feels big? IT IS BIG. This mistake won't end well. Well, you're wrong. The Universe is big. You are small. Time is long. You are fleeting. And that moment, that mistake is but a flash that can be forgotten, undone, moved past, resolved because . . .

LIFE'S A LONG SONG

Most of life is in your own head. You sleep maybe one third of your life if you're lucky. And that time is just you and your dreams. You are alone with your thoughts perhaps another third of your time. The rest is also you thinking about what is happening around you while you intermittently interact with it.

This leaves very little time for you to actually act--be those actions successes or mistakes. And keep in mind you won't necessarily know the verdict right away if ever at all. Many actions we take are inconsequential. Many mistakes we make are as well. Some aren't, but you'll endure because . . .

YOU'RE TEFLON

You are the reason difficult situations were invented. Just so you'd have something to do.

Always be listening to your favorite music in your head. Give yourself a theme song. A whole playlist. As the situation dictates, switch to the perfect anthem.

Pretend the situation you're in is already scripted and you're just acting it out and you're the hero. Don't be cocky. Don't be arrogant. Just rise above. Let somebody else take the credit and the glory. The audience knows the truth. And they're rooting for you. Always.