- Hesha Abrams- (00:09:00)
“Win-win problem solving and let’s have empathy and listen to each other. Yeah, okay, that works for what? 27%. Of the time. What do you do for the other? The other times when it’s difficult and it’s hard, what do you do then? That’s what holding the calm is all about things you can do then to improve your life, make it more harmonious, less acrimonious.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:17:00)
“For people that you wanna have it, This is the sentence stem you use. You know what I really admire about you? Blank, blank, blank. Do you know what I really like about you? Blank, blank, blank. It’s a conversation stopper. The person stops instantly, their ears open. Who doesn’t wanna hear the rest of that sentence ever? I mean, a hundred percent of the time it works.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:19:00)
“Let’s say you just think so differently about something, it just gonna cause blood pressure, stripe For both of you. You say, you know, I really like you or love you. And if we continue this conversation, it will damage our relationship. And I have a very different opinion from you, but I don’t see how it’s beneficial to us to discuss it cuz it will harm our relationship.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:20:00)
“There’s something called the sandwich technique, which is as old as God. Everyone’s probably heard of the sandwich technique. The problem is, is people don’t do the white, fluffy, non-nutritious, valuable bun, and they usually make it an open face sandwich. They gotta do it on both sides because who’s gonna not value and appreciate you? When you value and appreciate them, it, the neuroscience proves this bias of reciprocity that has with us.”
- David- (00:20:00)
“And often, you know, we search out for these things where we can’t find common ground. And I mean, kids are often a, a good one for that, right. Especially our own kids. Right. But y you know, we both want the same things for a lot of the same things for our kids. You know, we want ’em to be safe, we want ’em to go to good schools, you know, this kind of thing. And, and you can start to find some, some common ground on, on things like that.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:21:00)
“That’s why again, I called the book Holding the Calm cuz it gives you a break, gives you a minute to create a stop, A moat, A moment where had I had a few moments to think, I may not have said what I said, right? Or acted with what I acted. So, you know what? Give yourself a break. Give, give. If the world doesn’t give you a break, give yourself a break. Give yourself some of that pause because our world runs at the speed of heat nowadays.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:22:00)
“Validation is the WD 40 of our world, and that’s because everyone’s running on empty. We do too much, too fast. We cut each other down. Social media is horrific. There’s so much that’s challenging and bad.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:24:00)
“It’s not, this is not hard. We just, you know, have to know how to do it.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:26:00)
“The challenge is it’s, uh, we’re the ones going and seeking this stuff out. Um, cuz we sort of like it, right? And so we have this conflict that we hate it and we like it at the same time. Um, or it’s, it’s stressing us out. It’s making, you know, us our lives worse. And the micro level. And in the macro level, our politics have gotten sort of sclerotic and, and it’s like nothing’s happening at that level. So, so it’s like got these macro and micro aspects to it and, you know, like, How can we, we, we, we sort of holding the calm regarding that like, you know, say maybe I should be doing less of this outrage porn this week.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:27:00)
“You don’t get things done with logic, reason, and rationale. And that is hard for people that are very logical because we’re used to, let me just explain it to you. Let me just give you data and information and then of course you’ll agree with me and you’ll understand what we do, right? It does, doesn’t work that way. Cause we don’t understand that.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:36:00)
“I’m dinosaur it out. And what that does is it acknowledges this is a crappy situation. I gotta be on my game here. How am I gonna handle it? I’m gonna dinosaur this sucker out. So I give myself that grip. Now what I’ve done is given myself power. I’ve given myself a tool, I’ve given myself space. It’s that moat we’re talking about. Cuz you can say to someone, oh, take a deep breath. But when you’re hot, I’m not thinking that and I’m not doing it.”
- Hesha Abrams- (00:38:00)
“You show and demonstrate self-control and the idea that you dinosaur out is so empowering because we are all reptilian beasts, every single one of us. You know? I mean, I know we were descended from apes, but come on, we’re also dinosaurs. And being able to say, I’m pushed to my limit here and I don’t wanna say or do something, I’m gonna regret. Actually makes the other person respect you a lot, and then you don’t gotta clean up the vomit, whatever, that you just, you know, vomit it out.”
- David- (00:39:00)
“I’m definitely gonna check out. Check out that book. That sounds like a handy tool.”
|00:00:00||Introduction to the challenges of living in a divided society|
|00:01:00||Difficulty of finding common ground and increase in social and political polarization|
|00:02:00||Impact of divisiveness on personal lives and breakdown of relationships|
|00:03:00||Personal experience of avoiding social media due to political disagreements|
|00:04:00||Desire to understand different perspectives and love past differences|
|00:05:00||Fear of being canceled for expressing conservative views|
|00:06:00||Painful experience of living with a family member who believes in conspiracy theories|
|00:07:00||Introduction to guest Heche Abrams and her experience in conflict resolution|
|00:08:00||Overview of Abrams’ book “Holding the Calm” and why everyone should have conflict resolution tools|
|00:09:00||Importance of learning conflict resolution tools and tricks for personal use and in communities|
|00:10:00||Discussion on the role of third-party mediators and the accessibility of conflict resolution tools for individuals and communities|
|00:12:00||The importance of understanding the root cause of conflicts and the analogy of a car with gas or a brake|
|00:13:00||The need for creating space between emotions and actions in conflict resolution|
|00:14:00||The power of holding the calm in creating choices and options in conflict resolution|
|00:15:00||The impact of political views on personal relationships and the need for conflict resolution in preventing rifts|
|00:16:00||Strategies for preventing and repairing lost relationships through taking responsibility and apologizing if necessary|
|00:17:00||Using the sentence stem “You know what I really admire about you?” to create a paradigm shift in conflict resolution|
|00:18:00||The sandwich technique and the bias of reciprocity in valuing and appreciating others|
|00:19:00||Importance of finding common ground and the impact of seeking out positive traits in others|
|00:20:00||Discussion on finding common ground with children and the importance of understanding shared values|
|00:21:00||Importance of creating a stop and taking a break in conflict resolution|
|00:22:00||The impact of validation and kindness in conflict resolution|
|00:23:00||Importance of understanding different perspectives and finding common ground|
|00:24:00||The significance of the words “always,” “rarely,” “never,” and “a lot” in conflict resolution|
|00:25:00||Using respect and data to avoid challenging and fighting in conflict resolution|
|00:26:00||Challenges of living in a divided society and the need to reduce outrage porn|
|00:27:00||Aligning self-interest in conflict resolution and the importance of giving power to reduce conflict|
|00:28:00||Validating experiences and using sentence stems to calm conflicts|
|00:31:00||Importance of having conflict resolution tools and giving oneself and others do-overs|
|00:32:00||The challenge of finding quality politicians and the need for heart and brain in politics|
|00:33:00||Empowering oneself to spread kindness and holding the calm in conflict resolution|
|00:34:00||The impact of amped up stimuli on conflict resolution and the technique of “dinosaur out” for managing emotions|
|00:36:00||Using physical techniques like folding hands or snapping a rubber band to manage emotions and create space|
|00:38:00||Viewing conflict as a diagnostic technique and using the technique of “holding the calm” to create space and power in conflict resolution|
|00:39:00||Conclusion and call to action for listeners to share the podcast with one person|
David: [00:00:00] Welcome to Outrage Overload. A science podcast about outrage and lowering the temperature. This is episode
Hesha Abrams: 15.
David: America is a country that is deeply divided. The divisions are not just political, but also social, cultural, and economic. These [00:01:00] divisions have been growing for decades, but they have become increasingly pronounced in recent years. There are many challenges that come with living in a divided society. One of the biggest challenges is the difficulty of finding common ground.
When people have such different views on fundamental issues, it could be hard to find anything to agree on. This can make it difficult to have productive conversations or to work together on common goals. Another challenge to living in a divided society is the increase in social and political polarization.
This polarization can lead to increased conflict and violence. It can also make it difficult to trust people who have different views. The divisiveness in America has also had a significant impact on our personal lives. Many people have reported feeling isolated and alone because they feel like they cannot talk to their friends and family about their political views.
This isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. Those items that are
Hesha Abrams: in the news today, covid, immigration, politics, abortion, [00:02:00] and the list goes on, I’m not. Free to speak about any of those things because I fear the consequence of a, a conversation. I don’t feel like I ha
David: can have.
In some cases, the divisiveness in America has even led to the breakdown of relationships. People have reported losing friends and family members over political disagreements.
Hesha Abrams: It was my dad, who was he? Kind of went far right and got into conspiracy theories and things like that. So yeah, it got into, it was actually kind of hurt my parents’ marriage.
And then, yeah, he and I would get into, oh my God, raging arguments over it and yeah, it was sad. Really sad. So, yeah, and it bugged my mom and, you know, so yeah, that wasn’t a great thing for their marriage, and certainly not great for our relationship and my sister’s relationship with him. For my personal stuff, I’m just hardly ever on anything cuz I just, I don’t wanna deal with it.
I don’t wanna be [00:03:00] angry and frustrated and just, ugh all the time. I just, I don’t, so personally, I’m on Facebook like once every two or three weeks to make sure nobody died essentially.
David: And, and is that a change over the last, you know, some time period or was it kind of just pretty early on you, you did, made that choice.
Hesha Abrams: I’m the normal millennial. I was on there all the time back in the day, my spa, MySpace, Facebook, Instagram, you know, I was on all Twitter, but yeah, I was on there all the time just hanging out with friends. And honestly, it started with Trump and it just got so crazy. Were people that I had been friends with for 10 plus years.
Started saying horrible things about me and my husband and how we’ve completely changed, and I, I’m literally the same person you’ve known for 10 years. I don’t know what’s going on. My grandfather, he passed away. [00:04:00] He was totally Republican and I didn’t understand it because I also didn’t have the knowledge and didn’t have, I didn’t have the passion either to wanna know the knowledge.
Until stuff started directly affecting communities that I was in. Right. And so for me, yes, if I could go back, yes, I would love to have that conversation because I would want to understand. I think that’s huge and, and being able to say, I can love you through that. I can love you past that. You know, because that doesn’t separate us.
It’s just you are different.
David: It always
Hesha Abrams: seems to be the liberal, the liberal bent who’s canceling the conservative. And you know, that’s upsetting happened to my wife because she’s a Christian woman and she believes in, you know, no abortion and, and, and people are just canceling her. I’m like, oh my gosh, you know, let’s have a conversation.
I’m afraid of being canceled, I guess. Um,
Hesha Abrams: I don’t want to make it uncomfortable for [00:05:00] anybody. He was a survivor of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shooting. Mm-hmm. So he was a child? No, he is a teenager, but he was still a child, you know? Right. He’s a minor and living at home with his parents who are supposed to be supportive and protective and do everything that they’re supposed to do to give them a safe space to be.
And his father became convinced that it was a false flag event and that his son was a. A was in on it. A crisis actor. Yeah. So he’s, he’s living in the same house as somebody who’s accusing him of faking the worst trauma he’s ever been through. Just. Horrific.[00:06:00]
David: This can be a very painful experience. And it can make it difficult to come together.
And that’s what we’re going to talk about on this episode of the Outrage Overload Podcast. I’m your host, David Beck Myer, and I’m joined on this episode by a remarkable guest who has spent decades. Studying the art of conflict resolution and has developed practical tools for diffusing tension and promoting dialogue.
She is an acclaimed author, speaker, and mediator known for her unique approach to fostering understanding even in the most challenging
Hesha Abrams: situations. Well. Hi, I’m Heche Abrams. I’ve been a lawyer [00:07:00] for 35 years. I have been boots on the ground in the trenches of human conflict. I have blood and guts on my boots.
David: Abrams has dedicated her life to helping individuals and communities find common ground amidst the chaos of differing opinions and heated debates. With her wealth of experience and insightful perspective, Heche offers invaluable wisdom on how we can navigate through the often treacherous waters of conflict without losing our sense of compassion and humanity.
We’ll delve into the power of empathy, the importance of self-control in volatile situations, and the transformative potential of finding common ground. Hek. We will share practical techniques and strategies that can be applied in various aspects of our lives, whether it’s at home, in the workplace, or within our communities.
Get ready to gain some valuable insights and learn how we can all play a part in fostering a more harmonious and understanding society. Let’s explore the art of conflict resolution with the remarkable Heche Abrams right now.[00:08:00]
The book is holding the
Hesha Abrams: calm, right? Holding the calm, the secret to resolving conflict and diffusing tension. Why should professionals be the only ones who know how to resolve conflict and diffuse tension? These are tools that everyone should have. I know what actually works, not what should work, not what you want to work, not what would be nice if it worked.
You know, win-win problem solving and let’s have empathy and listen to each other. Yeah, [00:09:00] okay, that works for what? 27%. Of the time. What do you do for the other? The other times when it’s difficult and it’s hard, what do you do then? That’s what holding the calm is all about things you can do then to improve your life, make it more harmonious, less acrimonious.
We all know stress kills us. That’s why I wanted to share these secrets with everybody so that everybody can do that. And that’s what holding the calm is all about. Oh, that’s
David: awesome. Yeah. And so, you know, in your situations that you’re talking about, you know, is this, do you think a me a third party mediator’s kinda the only way to do it?
Or can you, uh, you know, can people individually sort of do better without a, a, a, a third party mediator?
Hesha Abrams: Oh, good god, no. You don’t have to have it. Does it make it easier? I mean, look, I can learn how to play piano. I don’t need a piano teacher. I can do it. Piano teacher makes it easier. But I like to do things where it’s real life.
Sometimes you can have a third party, but sometimes a third party’s not competent or available or interested. So I’d like [00:10:00] to learn how to do it myself, and that’s what all of these tools and tricks are. You can do it yourself. I. And what’s good about it, and the reason why I wrote this as a simple, accessible little book, simple little paperback, you read it in an hour and a half, is it’s designed for workplaces, for communities, for churches and synagogues and mosques and organizations who are book clubs, and you can do it together.
Now all of a sudden you have a holding the calm community so that. You can do it for me if I need it. Let’s say I’m fighting with, you know, Yahoo over here and we did the book together. We understand this together. I can say, David, help me out. My amygdalas triggered, I. He just makes me so crazy. I can’t think, I can’t speak well, can you help me out?
So it doesn’t have to be a formal third party mediator. It can be, we all kind of help each other out and work with each other that way. And how can I do it when there is no third party? What if it’s just me and I gotta just rely on me? Okay. I’ve got, literally, I wrote the book to where it’s 20 tools, a tool per chapter with lots of [00:11:00] interesting stories and anecdotes and how it works and how you do it.
And take my stories. I tell people the Bible, the Torah, the bug of , the uh, Mormon teachings, the Buddhist teachings. Everything teaches and stories. Why? Because you and I are talking and we’re yaking now people are listening. Okay. But I’m gonna tell a whole bunch of good stories and then people will go, oh, that’s better.
You know? Can I give you one of my favorite ones right now? Sure. So I heard this on N P R Hidden Brain, there was a couch company that sold 20 and $30,000 bespoke couches. You choose fancy fabric and cords and length and all that kind of junk. And so people would go all the way to the point of sale and a huge percentage of them would not complete the sale companies perplexed.
So what do we do as human beings when we have a problem? We’re like a car. We either have gas or we have a break. We usually do gas. More [00:12:00] promotions, more sales, more logic, more talking. More, more, more. Didn’t change a thing. Finally, they put on the brakes and they hired somebody to go interview all the people who hadn’t completed the point of sale.
The number one overwhelming reason why people who could afford a $20,000 couch didn’t buy the couch, they didn’t know what to do with their old couch. Isn’t. That’s just crazy. Now the solution is obvious. We take away your old one when we give you your new one, right? And what happens is that we, we just do gas.
We just keep going forward. And the other analogy I love is a bomb detector. Now you’re calling a bomb in the town square. That guy waddles out in his Michelin suit, right? You just start cutting wires. He looks, he diagnosises is a pressure switch, is a chemical switch, is remote control. Like what is it?
When we get into conflict, the first thing we do is either, you know, fight, flight, or freeze. As opposed to just stopping a moment and [00:13:00] diagnosing what the heck am I dealing with here? What is happening? What am I choices? And what that does is it’s more than just the cliche of, you know, take a, take a breath cuz that’s not really good enough.
What it does is that it. Makes you not feel powerless. I got options. I got choices, I got tools, what am I gonna do? And then that feeling of whatever fear and panic, it grips you in your chest. So if you can create a moat, a little tiny bit of space between the emotion and you, I can breathe into that. And literally, one of the reasons I called the book, holding the Calm.
I mean, we could have called it Problem Solving Magic and you know, fixing any conflict. No, because holding the calm is a mantra. It’s a taliman, it’s a rabbit’s foot. Simply, you’re in a stressful situation and you say to yourself, I’m holding the calm. I’m holding the calm. I’m holding The calm takes three seconds.
What it does to your [00:14:00] amygdala is it says, we got choices and options here. This is gonna be okay. And it creates that space that just taking a deep breath actually doesn’t really do because your amygdala feels powerless. So now I’m gonna give you a little bit of power. Based on this, what do I choose to do?
Maybe I do choose to turn and run away. Maybe I do choose to fight. Maybe I do choose to diagnose and listen, but now in three seconds of holding the calm, I can make a choice. That’s just step one. You know, chapter one of the book is speak into the ears that are hearing you. You don’t talk to an extrovert the same way you talk to an introvert.
That’s silly. When we say that, we all know it, and yet how often do we think, Hmm, are you an extrovert or an introvert? How should I handle you differently? See how simple that is. The book is filled with simple, easy things you can do right now.
David: Yeah. And so, you know, it seems like, you know, with a lot of what we sort of talk about here is, um, you [00:15:00] know, people that have sort of become, um, Agitated and then they’ve, and, and they’ve taken these o often it seems like a, a political view or, or something sort of adjacent to that has created a rift and or is on the verge of creating a rift and, and sort of these, those two situations, like a kind of, how do I present pr, prevent.
You know, losing this strength. I mean, we’ve had, I, I, I do a, um, one of the, I talked about segments that we sometimes do on the show. I, I have a segment I call Street Outrage, and these are interviews that I’ve done with just sort of ordinary people and we just talk about situations that they’ve had in social media or elsewhere.
And a huge, or a large number of them have had situations like this where they’ve disconnected from a family member or friends. I’ve had people lo, you know, lost touch with the friends they had for decades and they, they, they, they disconnected from them or vice versa. And, you know, and so there’s two situations, you know, that often come up.
O one is, you know, kind of. Preventing that, losing the friend. And then the other is, if you have lost a friend, then you, and you care about [00:16:00] them enough that you wanna reconnect or a family member, you know? Mm-hmm. What are, what are some, how, how do you go about that? And, you know, um, you know, a lot of it is of course be ready to take responsibility, but, um, you know, and apologize if necessary and things like that.
But, but I don’t know. Can you speak to those, that idea a little bit?
Hesha Abrams: I can. I can. And so I have a simple you can take. Everything I do is very simple. I have a simple thing for that. Let’s say you’re dealing with somebody and they’re impossible for you to deal with. You just think demonic thoughts about them.
Stop and ask yourself one question with this person. Pull my kid out of a burning car. 95% of the time, the answer will be yes for those 5%. When it’s not. Maybe you shouldn’t be friends with ’em anyway, but 95% of the time the answer will be yes. So that means there’s something redemptive about you. So automatically that created a paradigm shift inside me.
Now, there are times where you have to lose friendships. You’ve moved on. You’re not the same anymore. It’s too toxic. Okay? You know, I wish you well away from me. That’s okay. [00:17:00] But for people that you wanna have it, This is the sentence stem you use. You know what I really admire about you? Blank, blank, blank.
Do you know what I really like about you? Blank, blank, blank. It’s a conversation stopper. The person stops instantly, their ears open. Who doesn’t wanna hear the rest of that sentence ever? I mean, a hundred percent of the time it works. So the ears open and then the other person looks at you. Because when they’re taking an extreme position, what it usually means is their amygdalas triggered, they’re in fight or flight, and they sometimes sound more extreme.
And more, more dramatic than they really feel. And what it really is, is I’m important. Gosh, darn it. Listen to me. I have an opinion. Don’t bully me. Don’t push me over. What I think matters too. That’s really what they’re saying. And so if you start with what I admire about you or what I like about you, and let’s do the advanced class.
Let’s say there’s not much you admire about ’em [00:18:00] and you don’t like that much about ’em, you can say something like your determination. Your persistence, your passion, your patience, your uh, ability to speak so clearly about what you think that is a conversation opener. Now, again, let’s do the advanced course here.
Let’s say you just think so differently about something, it just gonna cause blood pressure, stripe For both of you. You say, you know, I really like you or love you. And if we continue this conversation, it will damage our relationship. And I have a very different opinion from you, but I don’t see how it’s beneficial to us to discuss it cuz it will harm our relationship.
Why don’t we agree to just not talk about that. And see the benefit of that is you’ve done that with boundaries. You’ve done that with power. You’ve made it clear, I think, differently than you. Now, it might open a conversation with a person, says, no, no, no, I’m sorry I came up harsh. I wanna know your [00:19:00] opinion.
Okay? Or maybe they don’t. In which case, why do we have to deal with it?
David: Yeah. And you know, that’s an interesting, yeah. Well, and I, and from some of the researchers that I’ve done, I know that, or what I understand anyway, is that even seeking that idea of, what can I say good about this person? Even just having your brain grow through that exercise of trying to find thing actually does change your perception of that person.
Hesha Abrams: And think about it, it absolutely would happen. I hate your guts, but we get in a car crash and you pull me out to safety, I think a little differently about you now, don’t I? Why do we have to wait for the car crash? Why do we have to wait for the bomb or a war or something like that? Just imagine it and then move from that place.
But you still do it with boundaries and with power. You still do it with, I’m entitled to my opinion, you’re entitled to yours. And if it’s not helpful to us to discuss this, Let’s not, but you always preface it. There’s something called the sandwich technique, which is as old [00:20:00] as God. Everyone’s probably heard of the sandwich technique.
The problem is, is people don’t do the white, fluffy, non-nutritious, valuable bun, and they usually make it an open face sandwich. They gotta do it on both sides because who’s gonna not value and appreciate you? When you value and appreciate them, it, the neuroscience proves this bias of reciprocity that has with us.
It’s very hard for me to think you’re a jerk when you really like me. It’s really
David: hard. Yeah. And, and right. And, and often, you know, we search out for these things where we can’t find common ground. And I mean, kids are often a, a good one for that, right. Especially our own kids. Right. But y you know, we both want the same things for a lot of the same things for our kids.
You know, we want ’em to be safe, we want ’em to go to good schools, you know, this kind of thing. And, and you can start to find some, some common ground on, on things like that. Indeed.
Hesha Abrams: And, you know, you can also, even just, just the ability, sometimes things just get so hot. That [00:21:00] it’s a chain reaction. That’s why again, I called the book Holding the Calm cuz it gives you a break, gives you a minute to create a stop, A moat, A moment where had I had a few moments to think, I may not have said what I said, right?
Or acted with what I acted. So, you know what? Give yourself a break. Give, give. If the world doesn’t give you a break, give yourself a break. Give yourself some of that pause because our world runs at the speed of heat nowadays. Twitter has too many characters. You know, we wanna hear things in 12 characters.
I mean, it’s, our attention span is that of fruit flies these days. But you know what, we have an enormous capacity for validation. Validation is the WD 40 of our world, and that’s because everyone’s running on empty. We do too much, too fast. We cut each other down. Social media is horrific. There’s so much that’s challenging and bad.
People, like when I used to give speeches, I’d have, you know, a thousand people in a room and I’d say, how many people feel fully [00:22:00] validated and appreciated in their personal lives? Raise your hand. I’d have less than 10% of the audience. That’s what we’re dealing with here. So, you know what? Spread kindness around like confetti spread validation around like, confetti, people are just gonna love you.
They’re just gonna wanna hang out with you. They’re just gonna say you’re cool, or you get me, or everyone else hates me. Why are you willing to talk to me? Well, cuz I, I, and you can say to them, you know what? I think you’d pull my kid out of a burning car. I think you’re brave. You know, I,
David: it’s interesting you say that cause I’ve had a little bit of that experience.
Um, when I do those, you know, sort of man on the street interviews, I’m calling them that, you know, where I’ll, I go into just active listening mode. Like, I’m not trying to change anybody’s mind on anything. Um, you know, I just want to hear where they’re coming from. And it’s almost like after, you know, talking for a few minutes, they’re like, no one’s ever just done this, where I can just say what I think about things or how I
Hesha Abrams: feel.
Cool. And if you think about it, if they’re a normal person, [00:23:00] they have a reason why they think what they think. They have life experiences and they’ve circled the wagon to protect themselves, and it’s all a survival strategy. They’re not stupid, right? They have an opinion, you know, and finding out either you’re educated, they’re educated, or you both respect each other, or I don’t understand how you could think like that.
Okay, help me understand why is that important? And a lot of times it comes down to prior to, um, what you prioritize and, and all of a sudden, like, let me give you just another little example. I have a whole chapter in the book on always, rarely never, and a lot, those four words translated into any language.
If I say to you, oh, we always do that, Always, always, we always do that well in your head. Always equates to a number in my head, always equates to a number. And I would do big corporate trainings and I would do, you know, advanced coaching and stuff like that. And I would always ask [00:24:00] people, you know, let’s just write down a number, have everyone write it down by themselves and then you facilitate it up on a whiteboard.
You would be shocked. Uh, always. Into some people, which is not the majority. Usually 20 or 30% think it’s a hundred percent. There are people that think always is as low as 60 or 70%. Now the people who think it’s a hundred, think the people who think it was 60 are morons. How you’re so stupid, how could it’s, of course it’s a hundred and the 60 percenters.
Look at the a hundred percenters and go, my guide are extreme. You have no margin for error in there. Same thing with never. For some people never is zero, for some never is 25%. And we throw and bandy these words around like we all know what they’re meaning, but if you stop and you’re holding the calm, you say, what percentage of the time do we never do that?
What percentage of the time do we rarely do that? [00:25:00] No. Look at the data that comes to you from that. We never do that. Okay. Is it ever done? Rarely. Okay. What percentage of the time is that out of a hundred times 10 or 20? Ah, so what were the criteria that made it into that 10 or 20? Now I’ve got a conversation and I haven’t challenged you.
I haven’t fought you, I haven’t argued with you. I’ve given you respect. It’s not, this is not hard. We just, you know, have to know how to do it
David: right. Yeah. Um, you know, you know, and I think, and I I wanted to ask a little bit about, you know, a different kind of, of, of situation where it’s, there’s the, um, you know, one of the main things the podcast is about is this kinda, this outrage media that’s getting thrown at us all the time.
And, you know, some of it is kind of, you know, The challenge is it’s, uh, we’re the ones going and seeking this stuff out. Um, cuz we sort of like it, right? And so we have this conflict that we hate it and we like it at the same time. [00:26:00] Um, or it’s, it’s stressing us out. It’s making, you know, us our lives worse.
And the micro level. And in the macro level, our politics have gotten sort of sclerotic and, and it’s like nothing’s happening at that level. So, so it’s like got these macro and micro aspects to it and, you know, like, How can we, we, we, we sort of holding the calm regarding that like, you know, say maybe I should be doing less of this outrage porn this week.
Hesha Abrams: Yeah, well, people ask me when I walk into a big mediation and one side says, give me a hundred million dollars, and the other side said, here’s 10,000 pound sand. How do I get that done? Everyone went to an Ivy League school. Everyone thinks they’re fancy. Schmanzy, smarty smart. You don’t get things done with logic, reason, and rationale.
And that is hard for people that are very logical because we’re used to, let me just explain it to you. Let me just give you data and information and then of course you’ll agree with me and you’ll understand what we do, right? It does, doesn’t work that way. Cause we don’t [00:27:00] understand that. So, What I would say, first of all, anyone’s listening to your podcast is already preaching to the choir.
They’re already concerned about this issue, and it’s such a wonderful vein of gold that you have tapped into here. And what I tell people is that the way I get those cases settled is I align self-interest. So I would look at the question you just raised on a spectrum. If it’s somebody who’s already interested in reducing the tone.
And tenor and stress of their life. They already know it causes cancer. They already know it raises high blood pressure and shortens your life and makes you miserable. So we’re already preaching to the choir with those folks. So now it’s just techniques of how do we do this? And that’s why, again, I wrote holding the calm to like teach how you can bring that tone down in your life.
But now let’s go further along on the spectrum. Let’s now say teenagers or young adults who are still grappling with trying to figure out their [00:28:00] place in the world. How do you do that? You give them some power, but you give them smart power. You ask their opinion on things. You tell them, I value your opinion.
I wanna know how to do this. Or, what should I do here? Or how would that work? They look at you shocked. You ask my opinion, you wanna do what I say, but you choose what it’s on. It’s not necessarily things that are really important to you, it’s things that might be important to them, or it’s throwaway stuff.
Like, you know, how do you think I should make the, you know, the, the, the dinner tonight? What kind of salad do you want? How do you want this to happen? All of a sudden gives them power. That giving a power dramatically reduces conflict. So let’s say you go to a powerless person, a teenager, a neighbor, a student, you know, somebody else.
That’s how you do it on that continuum. Well, now let’s go to the end. Let’s go to people that are really hard and they’re really difficult. That’s that sentence stem stuff that I did. You the [00:29:00] never in the history of calming down. Has anyone calmed down by being told to calm down? Right? It’s the worst possible thing you can do.
And why? Because the amygdala is our, by the way, I keep saying amygdala. Amygdala is the fear negativity center in the brain. For people who don’t know, uh, it’s already feeling powerless. That’s why it’s already roaring. So if you say to someone, calm down, calm down. What you’re really saying is, poo, dude, you’re outta control.
But I’m in control and I will tell you what to do. It just makes it worse. So the first thing you do is you actually validate the experience. You seem so passionate about this. This seems really important to you. Instead of saying, why are you so upset? You say, wow, this is really important to you. This is really significant to you, and they’re gonna go, yes, yes.
Finally, someone’s seeing me, someone’s hearing me. Someone’s listening to me. That’s what calms it [00:30:00] down. What you can say is, my goodness, such wonderful passion. You know, such energy. If I was that energetic all the time, I’d be tired. Are you tired? You wanna come sit down with me and have a glass of iced tea?
We’ll talk about it and see how calming that is. And um, I, once, I had a mediation once where I had somebody yelling and so I started yelling with him. But the difference was he was out of control. And I was in control. So as he’s yelling, I’m matching him, but I start lowering the tenor of my voice and he matched me till we got down.
And then he looked at me and he mouthed. Thank you. You know? It, it, it, it’s not hard to do. You just, it’s kind of like if you never had a dinner at the Royal family and they give you a 12 forks, you go, what am I supposed to forks? Well, [00:31:00] This is what you do, this is how you do it. And that’s again, you know why I tried to, why, why I wrote this book and I’m doing so much work trying to get it out in the world.
You know, I think we all need do-overs. I mean, we all screw up for God’s sakes. That’s part of the human experience, right? So how lovely to give yourself a doover to give someone else a do-over to kind of live your life with, you know what you wanna try that again? Let’s have some do-overs. I just think life would be so much easier.
You know, if we did that and like earlier you talked about politicians. We don’t get politicians that chance. We call them flip floppers, which is terrible. I want somebody who can change their mind. I want somebody who can get new information to make a better decision. And yet, you know, it’s so strident and so nasty that we don’t get quality people running for office.
I mean, I’d love to be in politics, but I wouldn’t subject my family to that. I wouldn’t put myself through the nasty. What you have to go through and how tough and hard you have to be to [00:32:00] survive the gauntlet kind of kills your heart. And don’t we want politicians that have some heart on them for God’s sakes.
I mean, I want a brain too. In fact, I want probably the brain more than the heart, but I want some of that. But you know, it’s just the nature of the reality of what we deal with. We’re not gonna live in a utopian society. I can’t change the world around me. I can just navigate through the jungle a little more deftly and not be eaten by a lion.
And if we all just spread a little tiny bit of kindness and holding the calm and wisdom in our little tiny circles, my theory is that we will stop these kind of vi violent eruptions and we’ll never really know. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It’s like nudging the asteroid away from the orbit of earth because I can’t sit here powerlessly and do nothing, right?
I gotta do something. This is something we can do and I, and I urge listeners to empower yourselves. And I do it with strangers. I mother, everybody, I see something [00:33:00] happening in just in public. And you know, I will watch first like the bomb detector and if I can come in and I can help, I will. And I will usually walk in with a sentence stem and I’ll see like a conflict or something difficult happening and I may walk in and say, oh, you gentlemen are so passionate.
This seems like something really important you’re arguing about. You know, now be careful. You don’t wanna involve yourself. Someone got guns or something like that. But especially at work and at church and synagogue and mosque and community center and in places where it’s not, violence isn’t so extreme that you’re at risk yourself.
Practice it, you know, practice it. And that’s what I would say to people. Don’t worry about being good at it. That’s not even relevant. Practice. And the more you practice. You’ll get good. I think. I think, you know, God put me in the trenches of this for 30 years cuz apparently I needed to learn it.
Yeah, that’s um, part of a challenge. It relates back to this, the [00:34:00] fact that we are getting this amped up, these amped up stimuli all the time and that. When you go in, sometimes, like you said, it got heated. Sometimes it starts heated because you’re almost expecting it to be heated because you’ve just been sort of shown all these people, I mean, mask, murders are one thing, but you’ve just been shown on next door you’re getting this, this skewed world of, uh, view of the world.
That’s all the people that are sort of the loudest people out there, and, and that’s kinda happening everywhere now. So you’re almost like already just. Triggered practically, right? You’re ready to just react and, and come back and, you know, and that, that can be a challenge. I mean, that, that idea that, that if somebody else is having a conversation is a little easier, you can say, well, I’m not the one doing it now.
So it’s a little easier to put yourself there, but sometimes it’s just like you’re almost ready for a fight before you even get there. And, you know, and of course that’s a circular problem. But I’m curious to, to hear your thoughts about that.
Hesha Abrams: I do. And I love that you raised that because I have a technique.
I did all kinds of fancy stuff, you know, in my life, uh, to handle that. And then I came up with something really [00:35:00] simple because I was trying to help my seven-year-old grandson. He would get angry and he just had this emotion and he couldn’t manage it. It was like a volcano that came out of him. So I said to him, look, let’s dinosaur out.
And I told him to fold his hands. So you fold your hand to where the fingernails. Press into the fatty part of the thumb, the fatty part of your hand, press hard. I mean, you’ll feel like a little tiny pinch, right? It’s the same equivalent of when your grandmother would say, pop a rubber band. On your thing.
What it does is it wax the sympathetic nervous system to say, whoa, whoa. New stimuli wake up. And it stops that spiraling that you’re talking about. So you say to yourself, you put your fingernails here, or you rubber a rubber band that you snap your wrist and you say, I’m dinosaur it out. And what that does is it acknowledges this is a crappy situation.
I gotta be on my game here. How am I gonna handle it? I’m gonna dinosaur this sucker out. So I give myself that grip. Now what I’ve [00:36:00] done is given myself power. I’ve given myself a tool, I’ve given myself space. It’s that moat we’re talking about. Cuz you can say to someone, oh, take a deep breath. But when you’re hot, I’m not thinking that and I’m not doing it.
And quite frankly, it doesn’t work. But this actually works. And then in the moment I can, I can say something like, I am so angry right now. I can’t really speak to you about this. I need a minute. And you walk outside, you jump up and down. You do. There’s no reason that you have to address somebody just because they want you to address them.
You don’t have to do that. You show and demonstrate self-control and the idea that you dinosaur out is so empowering because we are all reptilian beasts, every single one of us. You know? I mean, I know we were descended from apes, but come on, we’re also dinosaurs. And being able to say, I’m pushed to my limit here and I don’t wanna say or do something, I’m gonna regret.
Actually makes the other person respect you [00:37:00] a lot, and then you don’t gotta clean up the vomit, whatever, that you just, you know, vomit it out. So it’s incredibly helpful to do that. That’s one side. Let me give you the other side of the coin. Let’s say you’re the recipient of somebody who doesn’t know how to dinosaur out and, and they just vomit on you.
Better analogy. Uh, you go into the er, oh, my stomach hurts, blah, and they vomit. All the rest of us look away and go, oh, that’s disgusting. I don’t wanna see it. Not the ER doc. She looks at it. What’s in there? Pills, metal, undigested food. Does it smell right? Does it look right? It’s a diagnostic technique. So if you were able to say, I’m holding the calm, and you have that space, and the other person just goes, oh, look at it as a diagnostic technique.
What are they saying? What are they not saying? What are they hiding? Often they’re hiding something that’s a soft candy, gooey vulnerable scent. Like, look over here where I’m screaming and [00:38:00] yelling, not over here with what matters. Now all of a sudden you’ve got massive diagnostic technique and those are two sides of one coin that I hope, you know, listeners you find helpful.
David: Yeah, those are great insights. I really appreciate it. Well, yeah, well, thanks again. I’m, I really appreciate, uh, you giving us the time and, um, I think these are some great, great advice and, and I’m definitely gonna check out. Check out that book. That sounds like a handy tool.
Hesha Abrams: Excellent. I so appreciate it.
Thanks so much, David, and thanks for doing this great podcast. Bye bye-Bye.
David: That is it for this episode of the Outrage Overload Podcast, the links to everything we talked about in this episode. Go to outrage overload.net. I wanna thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We wouldn’t be able to reach the top 2% in social science podcasts if it weren’t for you telling your friends about the show.Woo. So that’s [00:39:00] my one ask for this episode. Just tell one person about the show. Tell ’em about an episode you really enjoyed, or you thought was interesting. Okay, look for a new episode in about two weeks.