The 3 Opportunities of Conflict
“Nothing moves forward in a story except through conflict.” Robert McKee
The 3 opportunities of conflict:
- Interpersonal collisions. Opportunities with people.
- Inner wrestling. Opportunities to grow.
- Spiritual uncertainty. Opportunities to clarify values and purpose.
3 ways conflict moves your story forward:
#1. Opportunity to see yourself.
There is scientific evidence that some people just annoy you. Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
The toughest thing to see is yourself in an irritating person.
- How am I like that person?
- What do I not like about myself?
- Who do I aspire to become?
#2. Opportunity to become your aspirational self.
The struggle within suggests you’re afraid of something that matters to you.
- How am I allowing others to control me?
- What’s the bravest thing I can do?
#3. Opportunity to do what matters.
Life is simple when you do the right thing, but the path is foggy sometimes. There are multiple options, and several seem right.
- Which of my values am I reluctant to own?
- What am I afraid of losing?
- What might be gained if I do what matters?
Conflict is a wakeup call that the status quo isn’t working.
Struggle creates uncertainty.
It’s not natural, but uncertainty is the opportunity to open your heart and mind. You spiral inward and downward when uncertainty hardens your heart and congeals your thinking.
Progress requires confidence.
Things may not turn out as you hope. But confidence you will learn and grow is strength for the journey.
Strengthen resolve by seeking to advantage others and bringing your best self to every situation.
What opportunities do you see in conflict?
Added resource: Conversation Starters that Enable Conflict Resolution
You only improve when you move out of your comfort zone. And you only move out of your comfort zone when someone or something gives you push. That’s what conflict does: gives you the push you need to do something new or differently.
Jennifer, you summed it up perfectly. Thank you
Conflict forces you to be open and look at something in a new way. It broadens your perspective. It requires you to develop new options to resolve the conflict.
Conflict can be a massive resource hog, pulling in energy, effort and investment of all types, especially if it’s at all prolonged. The other thing it can generate is resentment, especially if a long long term steady situation is upset by it.
“Things may not turn out as you hope. But confidence you will learn and grow is strength for the journey.” Thanks, Dan!