Segment 1: Why Don’t We Try Cooperation?
Our guest on this edition of The Doug Noll Show is up-and-coming young peacemaker Jesse Treakle, founder and director of the organization Conflict Unplugged. Jesse is based in San Diego and is currently finishing up his PhD in Conflict Resolution. When asked about his personal journey as a peacemaker, Jesse remembers at the age of five settling a conflict between two cousins. They were arguing over who was going to climb the ladder of a hen house first, and as the story goes, Jesse asked them, “Why don’t we try cooperation?” In 2000 as a member of AmeriCorps, Jesse had his first official mediation training seminar and walked out of the event a changed man. The skills spoke to him and he knew they would speak to others. He then spent a year in Switzerland studying peacemaking and pursued a Master’s degree in conflict resolution.
Segment 2: Teach the Children.
Eventually Jesse ended up in United Arab Emirates teaching English and conflict resolution to school kids. He had no idea the response to his first after-school program would be so huge. The school kids came each week and learned conflict resolution techniques and skills, which was completely new terrain to them. It was a very powerful experience, for Jesse as well as the students.
Segment 3: Conflict Unplugged.
Jesse tell us that he set up his peacemaking organization, Conflict Unplugged, on two simple ideas:
1) Conflict is not synonymous with disagreement. Often we think if we get into a disagreement we automatically get into a conflict. Instead, we need to ask ourselves, “What triggers lead us into conflict and how can we catch ourselves before we go down that road?”
2) It’s important to create a clear definition of conflict and to stress that is it NOT positive and inevitable, but instead, negative and preventable. This change of mindset is not easy and takes effort, but if we want to create a world that is harmonious and break the cycles of violence then we need to get past the idea that we are inevitably driven toward conflict.
Segment 4: Study the Instigators.
So how do you teach people to become less reactive to the triggers that cause conflict? The first thing is to separate disagreement and conflict. Then identify and study the instigators: anger and other negative feelings, negative character judgment, and feelings of inferiority or superiority. It’s a process of engaging in reflection. Take the negative emotion and let it be an indicator of what is missing in a relationship (with someone else or even with yourself). This self-reflection calls for a tremendous amount of discipline and system-2 thinking. The most challenging thing to do is to have that new thought pattern become habitual. To read more about Jesse’s crucial work, please visit his website: http://www.conflict-unplugged.com/.>
To listen to the entire interview: