One of a series. Visit the Mediation Tab to read more.
Julia Galef in this TedTalk. It's a short (11 minute) Talk that includes a history lesson. I encourage you to listen.
Ms. Galef describes the soldier personality as "prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs" and the scout personality as "spurred by curiosity".
When two or more people have thoughts or ideas on a topic, disagreements WILL happen. What a boring place the world would be if we all believed the same thing in the same way, right? Conflict is not in and of itself a bad thing. Some of the biggest discoveries in life came out of disagreement and subsequent 'scouting'.
It's only when there are too many soldiers and not enough scouts in the conversation that conflict escalates and becomes nasty. If all participants in the debate are soldiers - "prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs" - there is no room for acceptance of new or different ideas. And I mean acceptance not acquiescence.
A mediator helps conflicting parties feel the emotions that put them in soldier mode and then helps them move into scout mode so that they can be receptive to the other party's ideas. This is the foundation for creating a space where common ground can be discovered leading to mutual agreements. It's not about giving up your beliefs, but rather being curious enough to accept that it's ok for someone else to believe differently. Sometimes it's about being ok with being wrong. And above all finding a way to move forward together despite our differences.
The next time you find yourself on the 'other side' of an argument with someone(s) take a moment to check your soldier personality and allow your scout to do some listening. It's hard work that leads to great rewards.
Keep smiling and keep moving