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The 3 Opportunities of Conflict

Nothing moves forward in a story except through conflict. Image of arrows facing each other.

“Nothing moves forward in a story except through conflict.” Robert McKee

The 3 opportunities of conflict:

  1. Interpersonal collisions. Opportunities with people.
  2. Inner wrestling. Opportunities to grow.
  3. 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.

Ask yourself:

  1. How am I like that person?
  2. What do I not like about myself?
  3. 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.

Ask yourself:

  1. How am I allowing others to control me?
  2. 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.

Ask yourself:

  1. Which of my values am I reluctant to own?
  2. What am I afraid of losing?
  3. 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

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