Under Attack/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on August 18, 2019


There is an expression that in war the first casualty is truth. Nations often black out the news, distort the news, censor the news, etc so as to heighten the chances for victory. William Ury, mediator and author, has another take on a more benign attack. When a person is personally attacked, Ury maintains, s/he loses their objectivity. Their own interests obscure an objective and judicious view of the truth at hand. What can on do? In such a situation, it is time to leave the stage and “go to the balcony”. Take in the long view and force yourself to make decisions in a more deliberate and far-sighted way. The Talmud has a simple way of describing the problem at work: “A person is related to himself.”

In a disputed matter, one needs the time to collect their thoughts and think past the instant “shiny object”. There is a need to keep your “eyes on the prize”. Dr. John Gottman gives us an easy formula to follow: “Admit when you’re wrong. Shut up when you’re right.” It is hard to imagine that the problem may be due to you in some way, but that is a distinct possibility. President Theodore Roosevelt analyzed the problem of placing blame in the following way: ‘If you were to give a kick in the pants to the person most responsible for your troubles, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” Disputes and confrontations make it difficult to linger long on the stage. Learn to get a new perspective; go to the balcony.