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Conflict Language: Killer Combos

LEFT JAB high. RIGHT CROSS to the body. Another LEFT JAB high. REAR THAI KICK to the head. It takes Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone less than three seconds to pull off this brilliant, devastating combo during his match at UFC 202. Brutal? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.

I’ve been practicing martial arts for over twenty years. Kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling, you name it. And in my early twenties – before I discovered my passion for language and personal development – I was a mixed martial arts fighter.

The parallels between martial arts and the work we do at Procabulary are many. What Cerrone reminded me of during his powerful strike combination was the compounding effects of Conflict Language and just how brutal they can be when we unleash these types of words on ourselves.

“I don’t want to keep bothering you with this, it’s just, I wish you weren’t so distant when things like this happen.”

Conflict Combos like these are notorious in our relationships. Let’s break it down strike by strike:

“I don’t want to keep bothering you with this-“

These words place our focus on what it is we “don’t” want to do. The words “keep bothering” accuse and implicate us in perpetual annoyances – which we’ll assume is not the goal.

TRANSLATION: “I want to clearly communicate this to you-“

Sometimes it’s best to err on the side of sounding clinical – especially when emotions are high.

“it’s just-“

Classic Soft Talk. Take it out.

“I wish you weren’t so distant when things like this happen.”

There’s a few ways to tackle this kick to the head. Let’s go the Projection/Reflection route and see what happens. Remember, with Projections, we want to get everyone out of the room except for us.

“I wish I weren’t so distant when things like this happen.”
Accurate or Inaccurate?
If it’s accurate, then you’re projecting. If it’s inaccurate, try playing with the Negation.

“I would prefer you to-“

Procabulary Pro Tip: Save wishes for the genie in the magic lamp. Ask people directly and clearly instead.

“I would prefer you talk with me about how you’re feeling…”

BOOM. We went from knocking ourselves out with the killer combo:
“I don’t want to keep bothering you with this, it’s just, I wish you weren’t so distant when things like this happen.”

To speaking like a pro with:
“I want to clearly communicate this to you: I would prefer you talk with me about how you’re feeling when things like this happen.”

Just like with martial arts, practicing Procabulary makes perfect. Get your reps in day by day and marvel at the results.

-Mark

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