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Truth first, results second

"It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so."

-somebody, maybe Mark Twain


One way to view all of life's problems 

  • If you could get what you want from others

  • If others could get what they want from you

  • If your Now could get what he or she wants from your Next

  • If your Next could get what he or she wants from your Now

  • If your Oneself could get what he or she wants from your Others

  • If your Others could get what he or she wants from your Oneself

If we were able to do this consistently, all of life's problems would be solved and we would be living a life we loved.

But do you know what you want and what they want?

The first and most crucial step of getting from A to B is to know what A is located in relationship to where B is.

Regarding your desire or intention to get what you want from another, the first most crucial step is to know clearly what you would want if you could have it and what they would want if they could have it. This is like knowing the location of "A." If both of you are unclear or inaccurate both about yourself and the other, then you have no good starting point for you each to get more of what you want.

"But, of course, I know what I want"

Not likely. First, you've probably been living in a world where you believe that being selfish or indulgent is not a good thing. Consequently, to maintain a good image of yourself you'll lean toward toning down or obscuring what you want, if not with yourself, at least with the other person. Second, you're second-guessing what you think the other person wants and that's going to automatically compromise what you think you want because it would seem impossible. Third, unless we speak out in detail and elaboration on our thoughts and feelings, they are likely to remain fuzzy.



Use these wonder words in any circumstance with another person (or even within yourself) where there is some conflict or potential conflict to be resolved.

Wonder Words: when used with another person

"Tracy, I've got a suggestion as to how we could get started on finding a way we could both be happy regarding the issue we've got here. Tell me what you think, okay? ...

"I want you to allow yourself to imagine that somehow, like in a fantasy world, I would have both the ability and eagerness to do exactly what you want in this situation. Assume totally that, once you tell me exactly and fully what that is, then I will want that too and be so happy to go along with you. The idea is that you don't need to have any concern about either my ability or my desire to do exactly what you want. You assume that you can be totally focused on your desires and self-interests without concern for what my desires or interests might be.

"I may ask you some questions about what you said to ensure, both for myself and for you, that I am clear on what you would want.  Does this make sense so far? ...

"After you've done that, then we'll switch. It's my turn. I will imagine that somehow you would have both the ability and desire to do exactly what I want. All you would need to know would be that I tell you exactly and fully what that is. Once you know that, I'll assume that, in my fantasy world, that you would have the ability and desire to do what I want.

"And you would ask me any questions to ensure that both of us were clear that you understand what it would be if you did exactly what I wanted.

"I know we both may have to choose courage to speak so openly about our completely selfish desires and assume we don't have to know about or be concerned about the other's interests. It would be similar to how a two-year-old would think when telling their mother what they wanted.


"After each of us does this, it won't mean we'll have the solution yet for the issue. But it will be a solid starting point for both of us to get as clear as possible about what's true, both for ourselves and for the other. 

"Once we've done this, then we'll continue with a partnership attitude, maybe even using the Partnership Conversation, to find a way to resolve this issue so that we're both happy. 

"Why don't we try this and see what happens, okay?"

Example (when used with another person)

Wonder Words (when used to address a conflict you're having within yourself)

These wonder words are also quite effective as a foundational starting point to resolve any internal conflict. The conflict could be between Your-Now and Your-Next. Or between Your-Oneself and Your-Others. If it doesn't seem that you can be clear that it fits as one of these two universal conflicts, then you could just call it a conflict between Your-A and Your-B (like Tracy-A and Tracy-B, if you name were Tracy).

You could have another person guide you through this. I have often done this with my clients. In this example, they would instruct you and ask these questions.

"Tracy, I want you to ask Tracy-Next to sit on the side and just listen. Because I want to speak only to Tracy-Now, okay? 

"Tracy-Now, I know your job is to do your best to ensure that Tracy's enjoying now and not feeling uncomfortable now. That includes trying to imagine whether you will enjoy engaging the process of something that Tracy-Next might want, right?...

"Currently, it seems that Tracy-Next wants something that conflicts with what you want or might want. But, let's create a fantasy that Tracy-Next would be totally okay with whatever you might want in this circumstance. That even includes that Tracy-Next will not scare you about the future if you get to do what you want. And it includes that Tracy-Next will also never blame you about this, either now or in the future.


"I know that's a big fantasy. But, in this circumstance, just for this conflict right now, step into that fantasy. Tell me in as much detail as you can exactly what you want if all of this were true. You get to do whatever you want. Tracy-Next will not only agree to it, but also will not scare you, will not blame you, and will not be disappointed in you.


"Tell me what you want..."




d and responded also lightly, "It was 80% curious and 20% blaming."

So then I said, "I will respond to the curious 'why.'" Which I then did.

I could have also offered to respond to the blaming part.

I could have asked, "Would you like me to apologize in some way for not deciding earlier that you were my one-and-only?"

Or I could have offered to allow her to blame me and I would do my best to just listen, asking her to express her blame more fully to me until she felt that I had heard her completely.

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