3 Limiting Beliefs

Our beliefs are like a pair of old shoes – familiar, comfy, and once we put them on our feet, we forget about them. Beliefs about conflict operate in the background most of the time. And because they are out of our sight, they become very powerful. Quite often, we are not aware of the beliefs about conflict that drive our behavior.

There are 3 powerful beliefs that both create and prolong conflict.

  • You believe that the more you explain yourself, the more the other person will agree with you.
  • You are sure that you are a good listener. Truthfully ~ if you are like most people, you are listening for when you can jump in and have your turn.
  • You believe that life is based on competition and there have to be winners and losers.

What Can You Do Instead?

  • Instead of “speechifying” about your point of view, keep your statements short and to the point, and remember to ask questions so you can learn more about your partner’s point of view.
  • If you’re not listening carefully because you’re worried you won’t get a chance to share your ideas, needs or perspectives, set a ground rule with the other person that you will each talk for a short period of time (let’s say 5 minutes) and then take turns talking and listening.
  • Instead of relying only on competition to get what you need and want, consider two alternative problem-solving styles: compromising and collaborating. Each of these styles gives both of you the chance to get some of what you want, instead of a having one winner and one loser.

In both conflict resolution and negotiation, we like to talk about how people will split the pie. In competitive negotiation, there’s not usually enough pie for everyone to leave the table feeling satisfied. In collaborative negotiation, the goal is to “expand the pie” and with an expanded pie, the chances are much greater than everyone gets to have more of what they need.


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