It can be funny to watch but it’s anything but if you’re in the middle of it. Conflict that is.
Our beloved brains desert us when we’re in conflict. We tend to do more of whatever isn’t working. Our perspective narrows. There’s only one way and that’s my way. It’s my way or the highway.
Never has there been such a great example as the following video clip, called “the most silent war ever,” from YouTube channel Mix Vids.
It’s more than four minutes (four minutes!) of a dude trying to close a bus window, while a woman tries to open it.
Seriously, that’s all.
Actually that’s not all. Watch for what you won’t see:
- There’s no speaking between the two antagonists. Not one single word.
- No one tries to help (in fact the guys’ seat mate appears to be obliviously on his phone the whole time)
- There are no alternatives to black and white thinking. It’s MWOTH (my way or the highway) thinking extraordinaire.
As someone who’s endlessly fascinated by perspective; how we can participate in the same activity, the same scene and have wildly different views of what happened, this video is captivating.
It’s a classic example of interest vrs position conflict. If you haven’t heard of interest/position conflict resolution let’s use the orange story as an example.
Imagine two people arguing over the same orange.
In a position based scenario, each person wants the same orange. In the case of our humorless window warriors, each person wants the window open or closed.
Now imagine a different scenario. Using an interest based perspective, we’d dig into their interests, or why they’re feeling the way they are, and/or what they need.
For example, with the orange scenario, perhaps one person wants to eat it while the other wants to use the peel for baking. Interest based reslution opens up a whole new way of moving forward.
But lets return to our window warriors and use my Life Lenses® tool as a way to find more perspectives, dig into interests and clear the window so to speak.
Here’s eight different ways to view the same situation, thanks to each of the eight different Life Lenses®.
Stop Life Lens®
- Pause, reflect, get off the auto responder highway
Destination Life Lens®
- Figure out what the goal is, what the interests are, have
them explain why they want the window open or closed. For example some reasons
- To get my way (position based)
- To win (also position based)
- To not be too warm (could the woman take off her jacket)
- To not be too cold (could the dude put a jacket on)
- To avoid pollution coming into the bus
Carrot Life Lens®
- What are the key details? Perhaps the woman is having an allergic reaction to someone wearing perfume on the bus and needs some air.
Mountain Life Lens®
- What’s the vision, the big picture? Can you appeal to any community / neighborly feelings?
- By the way there is some interesting evidence that when you’re visioning you’re actually using different neural pathways, says Ryan Smerek in Organizational Learning and Performance; the science and practice of building a learning culture.
Journey Life Lens®
- Journey’s gift is all about process, how to resolve the conflict. For example you could:
- Ask how far each person is going and split the time the window is open or closed
- Play rock paper scissors
Go Life Lens®
- Time for action. Pick a process (Journey Life Lens®) and try it.
Interested to find out more about interest and position based conflict resolution? Check out The Art of Negotiation, Positional vs Interest Based Bargaining by Jace Grebski.
In the meantime (tongue in cheek quote from the YouTube channel) “Media reported that they are still window-arguing in that bus to this day, they refused to answer to any question and preferred to remain silent.”
In other news, don’t get caught in a sliding window. Take the other path; explore interests instead of positions. Use the Life Lenses® and you’ll get a whole new view.