"You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks."
~ Winston S. Churchill

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”
~ Winston S. Churchill

Dealing With Bad Drivers

As a seminar leader and corporate trainer the complaint I hear most is about the problems difficult people can create in our lives. This is understandable because most of what we do has to do with our relationships with others and when these are problematic, our potential to be successful is severely compromised.

Plus, dealing with these “difficult people” is well… difficult, because they tend to reject anything we say and resist cooperating with us to create solutions. This is why I devote a third of my seminars and books to a six step process of dealing with people in such a way that they shift from the resistant brain to the receptive brain so that they truly hear and understand what we are wanting them to know.

What I would like to address in this short essay however, is something that is both easier and, I believe a necessary precursor to our dealing those important difficult people (such as members of our family, organization, or group of friends), and that is how we react to the unimportant people in our lives.

Examples of these types of people could be bad drivers, nasty clerks or customer service reps., politicians, or even certain coworkers or acquaintances. In my seminars, when people complain about these types (which is very common), I ask them a question, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how important or powerful would you like this person to be in your life?”

Of course, to a person, they always answer, “0!” which makes sense because we really don’t want to give these people the power to upset us. However when we react to them with anger, resentment, frustration, or anxiety, we actually make them the most important people in our lives, because the person we are thinking about is them!

Plus, given how challenging it is to deal with the important people in our lives when they are being resistant, it stands to reason that we will need to have access to all of our interpersonal skills and problem solving skills. For those who follow my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy, you know that this means we will need to be coming from the clear, confident, creative part of the brain and we can’t do this when we are angry, stressed or frustrated with unimportant people.

Of course, if you, and/or those in your organization would like to learn how to influence the truly important people in your life, feel free to contact me because this is a big part of what I teach. In the mean time, however, I suggest you begin to practice dealing with all those “barking dogs” in a way that mimeses their influence. In other words treat them as what they really are… unimportant.

~ All the best, Dr. Bill