Feb 02, 2016 Powerful listening, battling, and persuasion through sensitivity, calmness, and non-distraction
In the taijiquan martial art that I daily practice, a key is to be soft in the way that a tidalwave or hurricane cannot be harmed but themselves pack a wallop, Softness also enables one better to sense everything that is happening and about to happen around him or her, and to adjust accordingly.
In a great Spongebob Squarepants episode, Spongebob is terrified about a credible threat he has received to be punched. When the dreaded time comes, Spongebob realizes that each punch is but a tickle, because Spongebob is soft as a sponge, and apparently without nerves to cause pain. His resilience springs back after each punch.
Of course, better than waiting to be punched in the face to see if it tickles rather than smarts, is to avoid the punch in the first place, which softness helps accomplish, because of the sensitivity and calmness in the present that softness presents.
In the courthouse and other potentially tense battlefields, some factors that can interfere with powerful softness are tension, stress, distractions, poor health (physical, mental and spiritual), fear, anger (which is rooted in fear), judging, and typecasting others. Being open to opportunities in each moment enables the fighter to turn around even the most heartless seeming opponent at the right time with the right moves or turns of phrase.
Through powerful softness, all flows better, like a powerful river that holds onto nothing and stays on course without distraction. If any of my colleagues start complaining that their judge is a tyrant or their prosecutor is a pr*ck, that is their trip, not mine. We all are connected, and if we open our hearts and minds for a seemingly tyrannical judge to take a break from acting like a tyrant or a seemingly perpetual pr*ck of a prosecutor to practice being his alter ego, then they may change to our benefit; if we foreclose those possibilities, they are more likely to remain within their typecast.
People have constant and competing thoughts, feelings and sensations that far outpace their ability to speak or even type those thoughts and sensations. We are competing with those distractions. How do we get them to focus on our message as we talk with them? First, is for me to have an appropriate level of compassion and caring for the other person, to have an appropriate level of humor, and not to distract the listener with any unnecessary threats. People often like hiring consultants and lawyers who get along with opponents, in the hopes that the lines of productive communications are already open between them. However, at some point, as the battle becomes more heated and the tactics of the other side become more aggressive and sometimes even dirty, the kid gloves need to come off, and the fighter cannot attach to any past or future relationship with the opponent. The campaign and battle are in the now, which is the only place where any battle can successfully be fought.
Through constant softness and being like a powerful rushing river, daily taijiquan practice, and always relishing battling in and out of court, I become and remain the warrior (not to unnecessarily overuse the word) that is always battle-ready and keeping to a minimum the impediments I experience and create to a well-fought battle.