Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Self-Improvement Seminar For Nations

Self-Improvement Seminar For Nations
"We're All In This Together"
James Roswell Quinn

Professional Self-Improvement Seminars began with Dale Carnegie in the 1930’s. The 1960’s saw the development of Personal Growth Seminars such as ‘est’. In 2002, Dr Phil brought the concepts and techniques of self-improvement to mainstream TV audiences. Now, let’s explore what it might look like if nations got into the act.

Facilitator: Welcome to "We’re All In This Together" the self-improvement seminar for nations. Some of you have existed as nations for hundreds of years, while others are relatively new. Regardless, none of you would be here today if there was not something you wanted to improve. First, let’s get to know each other. Please stand and tell us about yourself. Why are you here? What do you need to change to improve your results? What is your commitment to your own growth? Who wants to start? There, in the front row… New Zealand.

New Zealand: Hi everyone, I’m New Zealand.

Facilitator: Hello. So, why are you here?

New Zealand: I’m frustrated. It seems that no matter what I do, none of the other nations ever seem to notice me.

Facilitator: You realize the problem here is much bigger than ‘other nations not noticing you.’ How do you feel about yourself?

New Zealand: OK, I guess. But, I just never feel like I’m good enough.

Facilitator: In my experience, most nations are their own worst enemy.

New Zealand: That’s for sure. I’d never be friends with a country that treated me the way I treat me.

Facilitator: So it sounds like your real issue is self-worth. Would it be a satisfying experience for you if you could end this weekend feeling better about yourself?

New Zealand: Absolutely. I’d give anything for that.

Facilitator: Ok, New Zealand. Are you committed to that?

New Zealand: Yes. Sure.

Facilitator: Let me who else could use more ‘self-worth." I see hands by Dominican Republic, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand and hey … is that? Yes! Good for you, Russia. Everyone, let’s give New Zealand a round of applause. OK, who is next? There, in the back row, Switzerland.

Switzerland: Hi.

Facilitator: Hello Switzerland. So, why are you here?

Switzerland: I don’t know. I really don’t know. Perhaps I need to quit being so analytical?

Facilitator: Is that something you really want to change?

Switzerland: Sure. Just like anyone, I’d like to be spontaneous and have more fun.

Facilitator: OK. For the rest of the weekend I want you to focus on being spontaneous. OK?

Switzerland: OK. I’ll try.

Facilitator: Oops. As Yoda said, "There is no try, only DO."

Switzerland: Right. I’ll be spontaneous.

Facilitator: Great. Let me see the hands of the nations that need to be more spontaneous? I see Japan, Germany, Cuba, and Tibet … and there appear to be several nations who can’t decide. Trust me, if you’re asking yourself the question, "Do I need to be more spontaneous?" … You probably need to be. OK, who is next?"

France: I’ll go.

Facilitator: Terrific. So what brings you here?

France: Easy. I hate being judged. The USA over there has, how you say, a "control" issue and won’t listen to anybody. I tell them not to attack Iraq and suddenly I’m the bad guy. Is this fair?

Facilitator: Whoa, slow down. Such negativity. What are you doing to yourself?

France: Nothing. I’d prefer to have a little wine and make love. Maybe make some money. But no. The USA wants all the money and thinks critics are automatically their enemies.

Facilitator: OK. Stop. I think your problems are a lot bigger than the USA. What do you want?

France: Peace. I want to enjoy life without worrying about other nations.

Facilitator: The first step is to stop being so critical. Don’t you see that if you don’t stop judging others, you will never get them to stop judging you?

France: Possibly. But the USA has to stop trying to lead by force all the time.

Facilitator: OK. I’ll bite. How would you like them to act?

France: With love, of course.

Facilitator: So, you would like for the USA to exert more of a love-based approach to its leadership?

France: That would be magnifique.

Facilitator: Then you need to show them how. Demonstrate Love-Based leadership. Let’s start with acceptance. Repeat after me. "Criticism in any form is destructive."

France: You have got to be kidding.

Facilitator: Do you want peace?

France: Oui.

Facilitator: So, take a step and repeat after me. "Criticism in any form is destructive."

France: Criticism in any form is destructive.

Facilitator: Pretty good. Everybody give France a big hand. It’s a start France. Keep it up for the weekend and let’s see where it goes. OK?

France: Oui.

Facilitator: USA … your turn.

USA: This is ridiculous. I don’t need to be here.

France: See. There he goes already.

Facilitator: Um, France … we’re working on acceptance, OK?

France: Oui.

Facilitator: USA, Let’s try again. So, what’s going on?

USA: Great. Swell. This is perfect. I get attacked no matter what I do. After 9/11, everyone supported me against al-Quaeda. Then, when I go after Iraq, everyone has amnesia. To hell with you all. I don’t get mad. I get even!

Facilitator: Fascinating. Tell me. What are you feeling right now?

USA: Resentment. Anger. I am really mad.

Facilitator: Oh, sounds like you do not really mean it when you say, "I don’t get mad. I get even". I think what you really mean is, "When I get mad, I get even." So, what’s that anger doing to you?

USA: Nothing.

Facilitator: Nothing? You look like you are going to pop a vein.

USA: OK, so I’m a little stressed. What do you expect?

Facilitator: I don’t expect anything. I just want to know what that anger is doing to you.

USA: I guess it’s not helping me all that much.

Facilitator: I didn’t ask what it’s NOT doing, I asked what it IS doing.

USA: Well, OK. It’s … it’s hurting me. But I don’t know what else to do.

Facilitator: Fair enough. Let’s look a little deeper. What is your anger doing to your relationships?

USA: My relationships are fine.

Facilitator: Oh really? Wasn’t France your first relationship?

USA: Yep. But look at her. I bailed her out in WWI and WWII, and what’s the thanks I get… backstabbing.

Facilitator: So. Let me see now. France makes you mad?

USA: Tons.

Facilitator: And Iraq makes you mad?

USA: Sure

Facilitator: Who else?

USA: North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran … a bunch of them.

Facilitator: So, everyone else is wrong?

USA: Don’t say it like that. I’m not paranoid. They really are out to get me.

Facilitator: Even the nations that simply don’t want you to go to war?

USA: Yes.

Facilitator: I think you need to look a little deeper. Do you really think you’ll be happy when every other nation changes the way it’s treating you?

USA: Where are you going with this?

Facilitator: The foundation of this seminar is that there are only two ways you can improve your results in the international community. 1) Other nations change how they treat you, or 2) You change how you treat other nations. There is not a third alternative. So let me ask you the question again. Do you really think you’ll be happy when every other nation changes the way it’s treating you?

USA: No. I guess not. They all do things I think they should change.

Facilitator: Can I be honest with you?

USA: Sure. Why not?

Facilitator: When someone else makes you mad, who is in control of your anger?

USA: I am. Yes. I am in charge of my own feelings, right?

Facilitator: Not exactly. Follow me here. If they don’t do something wrong, you’re not mad. Right?

USA: Right

Facilitator: You only get mad when they do something wrong?

USA: Yep.

Facilitator: Well, if someone else’s behavior is causing your behavior… who is really in charge?

USA: I am. Well, nope. Wait a minute … OK. I get it, they are.

Facilitator: Very good. Bottom line. You are not in charge of yourself, but you want to control everyone else.

USA: Sounds pathetic when you say it like that.

Facilitator: Interesting response.

USA: So what should I do? Open my borders? Chant? Send flowers to terrorists?

Facilitator: I don’t know what your answer is. But do you need anger to institute better immigration policies?

USA: No … OK OK, I get it… so what should I do.

Facilitator: Perhaps the answer is not in what you do to protect yourself, but in how you do it. Perhaps you need to the same things you are doing, but at least do them with some compassion for the problems of other nations. Personally, I’ve always thought you were at your strongest when you came from kindness. Let me ask you … do you want to be in charge of yourself?

USA: Absolutely

Facilitator: Then you need to stop reacting and start rebuilding the trust in your relationships.

USA: Yeah, I guess so. That would help.

Facilitator: Then let’s start with your resentment with France. Repeat after me … ready?

USA: Might as well. OK.

Facilitator: Look directly at France and say, "I honor you and I accept you, even though I don’t understand you."

USA: Oh come on! After what she has done? No way.

Facilitator: USA, just try it. Now tell her, "I honor you and I accept you, even though I don’t understand you."

USA: I honor you and I accept you, even though I don’t understand you.

Facilitator: There you go. That wasn’t too bad was it? Now you and France give each other a hug. It’s a start. Everyone, give the USA and France a big hand. Now, everyone get a partner. I want you all to try this with at least three other nations. Notice how you feel when you say it. Notice how you feel when you hear it. No other dialog please. You don’t have to hug, just say the sentence, "I honor you and I accept you, even though I don’t understand you." Ready, begin…Everyone stop. You all did very good. We’re going to take a short break. During the break I want you to discuss the following concept …"When something goes wrong, you only have two choices. To react from fear or to lead from excellence."Discuss this concept with each other during the break, and we will discuss it when we get back. See you all in about 20 minutes.


At 8:23 PM, Blogger Larry D ,Rochester said...

I have a helluva time with the acceptance thing, It is awkward like putting on a sweater with the clothes hanger in it,
Try this,
" I nolo comprehend you,
it is simply better to love and accept you, it is simply better"


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