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jerryking : tension   8

What to Say to a Friend Who's Ill - WSJ.com
April 12, 2013 | WSJ | By LETTY COTTIN POGREBIN.
The following are 10 Commandments for Conversing With a Sick Friend.

1. Rejoice at their good news. Don't minimize their bad news. A guy tells you that the doctors got it all, say "Hallelujah!" A man with advanced bladder cancer says that he's taking his kids to Disneyland next summer, don't bite your lip and mutter, "We'll see." Tell him it's a great idea. (What harm can it do?)..."Tell me what I can do to make things easier for you—I really want to help."

2. Treat your sick friends as you always did—but never forget their changed circumstance. Speak to them as you always did (tease them, kid around with them, get mad at them) but indulge their occasional blue moods or hissy-fits. Most important, start conversations about other things (sports, politics, food, movies) as soon as possible and you'll help speed their journey from the morass of illness to the miracle of the ordinary.

3. Avoid self-referential comments. A friend with a hacking cough doesn't need to hear, "You think that's bad? I had double pneumonia."...The truest thing you can say to a sick or suffering friend is, "I can only try to imagine what you're going through."

4. Don't assume, verify. Repeat after me: "Assume nothing."

5. Get the facts straight before you open your mouth.Did your friend have a heart or liver transplant? Chemo or radiation? Don't just ask, "How are you?" Ask questions specific to your friend's health. "How's your rotator cuff these days?" "Did the blood test show Lyme disease?" "Are your new meds working?" If you need help remembering who has shingles and who has lupus, or the date of a friend's operation, enter a health note under the person's name in your contacts list or stick a Post-it by the phone and update the information as needed.

6. Help your sick friend feel useful. Zero in on one of their skills and lead to it. Assuming they're up to the task, ask a cybersmart patient to set up a Web page for you; ask a bridge or chess maven to give you pointers on the game; ask a retired teacher to guide your teenager through the college application process. In most cases, your request won't be seen as an imposition but a vote of confidence in your friend's talent and worth.

7. Don't infantilize the patient. Never speak to a grown-up the way you'd talk to a child. Objectionable sentences include, "How are we today, dearie?" "That's a good boy." "I bet you could swallow this teeny-tiny pill if you really tried." And the most wince-worthy, "Are we ready to go wee-wee?" Protect your friend's dignity at all costs.

8. Think twice before giving advice.Don't forward medical alerts, newspaper clippings or your Aunt Sadie's cure for gout. Your idea of a health bulletin that's useful or revelatory may mislead, upset, confuse or agitate your friend. Sick people have doctors to tell them what to do. Your job is simply to be their friend.

9. Let patients who are terminally ill set the conversational agenda.If they're unaware that they're dying, don't be the one to tell them. If they know they're at the end of life and want to talk about it, don't contradict or interrupt them; let them vent or weep or curse the Fates. Hand them a tissue and cry with them. If they want to confide their last wish, or trust you with a long-kept secret, thank them for the honor and listen hard. Someday you'll want to remember every word they say.

10. Don't pressure them to practice 'positive thinking.' The implication is that they caused their illness in the first place by negative thinking—by feeling discouraged, depressed or not having the "right attitude." Positive thinking can't cure Huntington's disease, ALS or inoperable brain cancer....As one hospice patient put it, "All I want from my friends right now is the freedom to sulk and say goodbye."
bad_news  conversations  Communicating_&_Connecting  difficult_conversations  dignity  etiquette  hospice  ice-breakers  illness  positive_thinking  stressful  tension 
april 2013 by jerryking
Antifragile
by Taleb, Nassim Nicholas.
Year/Format: 2012

Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish.

In The Black Swan,Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better.

Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call “efficient” not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of theTitanicsave lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are loud and clear.

Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.
antifragility  Black_Swan  blueprints  bones  bone_density  books  brittle  city-states  disorder  improbables  libraries  Nassim_Taleb  revenge_effects  stressful  tension  turmoil  unpredictability  volatility 
november 2012 by jerryking
Jacqueline Novogratz of Acumen Fund, on Pairs of Values - NYTimes.com
By ADAM BRYANT
Published: September 29, 2012

Q. Tell me about your approach to leadership.

A. I think we so often equate leadership with being experts — the leader is supposed to come in and fix things. But in this interconnected world we live in now, it’s almost impossible for just one person to do that.

So if we could only have more leaders who would start by just listening, just trying to understand what’s going wrong from the perspective of the people you’re supposed to serve — whether it’s your customers or people for whom you want the world to change.

Leaders can get stuck in groupthink because they’re really not listening, or they’re listening only to what they want to listen to, or they actually think they’re so right that they’re not interested in listening. And that leads to a lot of suboptimal solutions in the world.

The kind of leaders we need — and certainly that I aspire to be — reject ideology, reject trite assumptions, reject the status quo, and are really open to listening to solutions from people who are most impacted by the problems. ...We think about our values in pairs, and there is a tension or a balance between them. We talk about listening and leadership; accountability and generosity; humility and audacity. You’ve got to have the humility to see the world as it is — and in our world, working with poor communities, that’s not easy to do — but have the audacity to know why you are trying to make it be different, to imagine the way it could be. And then the immutable values are respect and integrity.
leadership  Acumen  opposing_actions  organizational_culture  values  social_capital  venture_capital  vc  accountability  generosity  humility  audacity  groupthink  listening  respect  integrity  pairs  tradeoffs  tension  dual-consciousness 
october 2012 by jerryking
Taking the Stress out of Stressful Conversations
July-August 2001 | HBR | Holly Weeks

A good start is to become aware of your own weaknesses to people and situations. Be aware of your vulnerabilities.

Start with content.....Go over it again and think about what you would say if the situation weren't emotionally loaded.... Now fine tune the phrasing.

The goal is to advance the conversation, to hear and be heard accurately, and to have a functional exchange between two people. So the next time you want to snap at someone,"Stop interrupting me," try this--"Can you hold on a minute? I want to finish before I lose my train of thought of thought," Temperate phrasing will help you take the strain out of a stressful conversation.
HBR  conversations  Communicating_&_Connecting  tension  anticipating  preparation  stressful 
march 2012 by jerryking
Work & Family: Toll of Parental Tension - WSJ.com
JUNE 23, 2005

Not in Front of the Kids: Documenting the Emotional Toll Of Parental Tension

By SUE SHELLENBARGER
Sue_Shellenbarger  children  parenting  relationships  tension  Communicating_&_Connecting  John_Gottman 
november 2011 by jerryking
How Hard Times Can Drive Innovation - WSJ.com
Dec. 15, 2008 WSJ interview of Dr. Clayton Christensen by MIT/Sloan Management Review Senior editor Martha E. Mangelsdorf.
innovation  adversity  constraints  scarcity  tension  rethinking  disruption  Clayton_Christensen  hard_times 
february 2009 by jerryking

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