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bonding, producing what Buddhism calls the middle way. This is not a com-
promise; it’s not meeting halfway between two opposites. Instead, it’s “a
higher middle way, like the apex of a triangle” (Covey 2002, x). When you
produce something with another person that is truly creative, it’s one of the
most powerful forms of bonding there is.
Initially, I needed something more concrete than visualization to actually
get to third space, so I came up with a system. I never could remember the
steps of other people’s problem-solving approaches, so I made up my own.
Although it looks like it, mine isn’t a series of steps; it is more holistic. I call
it RERUN. The first R stands for reflect. Reflection is important, and there are
two aspects to reflection: self-reflection and active listening. Self-reflection
allows you to become aware of what’s going on inside yourself—in your
guts and in your head. Ask yourself why this issue is a challenge for you.
How much do you understand about where you are coming from and what’s
really going on inside you? The other aspect of reflection—active listening—
involves communicating with the other person. Active listening is about
reflecting back what you hear the other person saying—not just the words,
but the meaning and the feelings behind them. You can’t have a judgmental
tone, or it won’t work. When reflecting back what you pick up from the other
person, you encourage more talk. Best of all, it helps avoid getting into an
argument with the person. Arguing won’t take you to third space.
The E stands for explain. When you have really listened to the other per-
son and are beginning to understand a point of view that isn’t yours, then
you can explain your point of view. Don’t start with this and don’t do it too
soon. Listening is a very important part of communication. If you forget that,
just remember that we have two ears and only one mouth, so we are meant
to listen twice as much as we talk. Also remember that listen and silent have
the same letters. Seek first to understand before being understood.
The second R stands for reason. You should be clear about your reason for
what you believe in. You should also encourage the other person to explain
her reason. Be gentle about this, but remember that it’s important to get
down to the reasons.
The U stands for understand. Obviously, understanding is key to success.
It may take more than one discussion—it might take many discussions! Hav-
ing a relationship with the person you don’t see eye to eye with will help in
this process. Do work continually on building the relationship. Start early
and keep at it. Keep going back to Reflect, Explain, and Reason at any point
when understanding is weak or nonexistent.
Finally, the N stands for negotiate. It’s not the kind of negotiation you
do when you’re buying a house or a car. It’s the kind that has you talking
together to see how you can come to an agreement about what to do about
OU R WAY TO SIN CER ITY 5