Friday, April 20, 2012


By Julie Rahm

Every time, (and I mean every time), I turn on the television there is a broadcast about physical fitness. Fitness, along with weight loss, account for the largest portion of commercials. In the United States, twenty five-percent of men and forty-five percent of women are on a special diet at any given time. It is understandable. Over forty-one million Americans are estimated to be overweight with pre-diabetes. Unless they make changes to their diet and physical activity, most people with pre-diabetes will develop type-two diabetes within ten years. Even worse, more than ten-percent of children between the ages of two and five years are overweight, double the proportion since 1980. The statistics easily trouble the mind. But, I am not writing to “beat the drum” on physical fitness. Rather, as America’s Mindset Mechanic, I like to “beat the drum” for conversational fitness.

I define conversational fitness as an ability to have a meaningful exchange of thoughts and ideas in order to resolve an issue. Like physical fitness, most Americans could benefit from some conversational fitness training. In relationships, it is vitally important to possess the ability to have a meaningful exchange of thoughts and ideas. After all, conversation is the principal method to resolve conflict in relationships. Some propose that “conversation is the relationship”. I do not go that far. However, the importance of effective conversation is difficult to overstate.

The first step to good communication is emotional maturity. Emotions must be kept on a tight reign. They cannot be allowed to run amuck and derail efforts to resolve an issue. Most times, emotions are not your friends. If an argument starts to boil, turn down the heat by having an internal conversation with yourself. Breathe in and then breathe out. Get intellectual and get control. Round up those bad thoughts and get them back in your mental lockbox. Do not let your feelings get hurt.

Once the emotional charge is removed from the issue, some drilling might be required to determine the real issue. Identify what past experience is being triggered and feel the emotions dissipate. If the feelings persist, you have not identified the real issue. Only when the real issue is identified and brought to light, will the emotions of anger or pain dissipate.

Also important is your goal. What end state are you trying to achieve? Words matter. And, your words and actions must work together to achieve your desired end state. For example, despite what Coach Lombardi said, winning is not everything, especially in arguments. In our house, I have a saying. You can be right or you can be happy. Do not sacrifice a short term “win” for a long term quality improvement in your relationship. When you are engaged in a heated discussion, consider how you want the relationship to be years from now. Most often, making your partner feel bad and defeated does not enhance the relationship.

Learn more to improve your conversational fitness by visiting my website at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Top curve