Beyond Reason book cover
"An extraordinarily clear account of the complex effects of human emotions in social exchange that should raise the level of civility and effectiveness in all our interactions ."
- Jerome Kagan, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

On Your Own

The ideas in Beyond Reason will not go to work by themselves. The more you can incorporate them into your own life, the more helpful they will be. Here are some ideas you might try to apply:

Reread Beyond Reason -- with a specific case in mind. A reader of Beyond Reason had an interesting idea. He faced a tough family conflict, and decided to read Beyond Reason with his specific conflict in mind. As he read the book, he continually asked himself, "How might I apply this idea to my own situation?" He ended up with several pages of personalized advice. The book became a guide for him to coach himself. He told us that as when he now faces a conflict or tough business negotiation, he rereads Beyond Reason and thinks how to apply the ideas to that conflict.

Use the Emotions Preparation Tool. Before your next conflict or negotiation, complete the Core Concerns Preparation Form. It helps you apply the key ideas of Beyond Reason to your own situation. Click here to learn more about the tool.

Focus on one core concern each week. Practice using the core concern proactively. You might start by spending one week focusing on the power of appreciation. Try making a conscious effort to appreciate what others think, feel, or do - and let them know. If you find yourself arguing with someone, take a step back and appreciate the merit in their point of view. We all know that appreciating can improve the emotional tone of an interaction, but actually putting it to good use entails a conscious effort.

Enlist a colleague with whom to review a negotiation. After a negotiation, most people have a "bull session" where they unwind and relax. This is often not as productive - and not as fun - as a systematic review of the negotiation. As we recommend in Beyond Reason , invite colleagues to review with you WW and DD - what Worked Well and what to Do Differently regarding the core concerns. Did you respect the other side's autonomy? Did they impinge upon yours? Did you acknowledge the other side's status where deserved

Start a journal. Spend a few minutes every day writing about the ways in which the core concerns affected your interaction that day. The more you get in a habit of writing in your journal, the more conscious you will be the rest of your day about the core concerns. [If you do not want to buy a journal, simply start a file on your computer and call it something such as, "Observations about the core concerns."]

Teach someone about the core concerns. Perhaps the best way to learn something is to teach it. Find someone - perhaps a spouse or colleague -- and tell them about the core concerns. Let them know how you use the core concerns in your own life and how they might be helpful for others. Be humble. You might ask for their advice, too, on how they deal with emotions as they negotiate. As you teach and listen, you learn.

Put a reminder on your calendar. On your daily calendar, make a note about the core concerns. You might write, "Remember to express appreciation!" or "Don't impinge upon the other side's autonomy." You might even have such a reminder repeat each week. (If you have a Palm Pilot, this task is made easier.)