The previous article brings out the sources of conflict. This article examines the factor which can lead to collaboration and harmony in a group.
Control of Speech
If only people did remain a little quiet before speaking, acting or writing, much trouble could be avoided. So many things are said uselessly, they bring misunderstandings and bad feelings which could have been saved with silence.
If were spoken only the words that needed to be spoken, the world would be a very silent place.
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You must always do what you say, but it is not always wise to speak about everything you do.
When you speak, you must always speak the truth; but sometimes it is better not to speak.
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To cure a critical sense that manifests by incontinence of speech:
1) When you are in this state, absolutely refuse to speak – if need be, make it physically impossible for yourself to speak.
2) Study yourself without pity and realise that you carry in yourself precisely all the things that you find so ridiculous in others.
3) Discover in your nature the opposite way of being (benevolence, humility, goodwill) and insist that it develop to the detriment of the contrary element.
Find the point of Agreement
The important thing is to find the point on which you can all agree – and after this is firmly established, each one must be ready to yield his personal will in order to keep intact this point of harmony.
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When we have to work collectively, it is always better to insist, in our thoughts, feelings and actions, on the points of agreement rather than on the points of divergence.
We must give importance to the things that unite and ignore, as much as possible, those that separate.
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Even when physically the lines of work differ, the union can remain intact and constant if we keep always in mind the essential points and principles which unite, and the Divine Goal, the Realisation which must be the one unchanging object of our aspiration and works.
Find the Source of Difficulty Within You
If in the work you meet with some difficulties, look sincerely into yourself and there you will discover their origin.
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The difficulties in work come not from circumstances or petty outer occurrences, they come from something which is wrong in the inner attitude, especially in the vital attitude: egoism, ambition, fixity of mental conceptions regarding work, vanity, etc. And it is always good, in order to correct the disharmony, to look for the cause in oneself rather than in others.
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To recognise the presence of a “disharmonious atmosphere” is useful only so far as it wakes in each one the will to change it into a harmonious atmosphere and to do that the first important step is for each one to get out of his own limited point of view in order to understand the point of view of others. It is more important for each one to find the mistake in himself than to insist on the mistake of others.
Don’t Listen to the Judgemental Mind
As for what concerns us personally, we must be more prudent still and follow one strict rule very scrupulously: never judge anything without first having put ourselves in the place of the other, whoever he may be, with the greatest possible impersonality; try to feel what he has felt, see what he has seen, and if we succeed in being perfectly sincere, very often we shall see our estimation becoming less strict and more just.
Besides, as a general rule, in what light shall we look at what we want to judge? What shall our criterion be? Indeed, do we fancy that we possess the supreme wisdom and the perfect justice that we are able to say with certainty, “This is good, this is bad”? Let us never forget that our notions of good and evil are wholly relative and so ignorant that, in what concerns others, we often find fault with an act which is the expression of a wisdom far greater than our own.
Raise Beyond Personal Preferences
If anyone were capable of seeing the welfare of the work quite independent of his preferences and without turning everything into a personal question, then most of the difficulties would be solved.
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Unless you can rise above your personal ideas, opinions and preferences, you cannot become a good worker. As long as you have your personal preferences, you will not be able to do the exact thing needed.
Look Upon Others as a Mirror
It is rather remarkable that when we have a weakness – for example a ridiculous habit, a defect or an imperfection – since it is more or less part of our nature, we consider it to be very natural, it does not shock us. But as soon as we see this same weakness, this same imperfection, this same ridiculous habit in someone else, it seems quite shocking to us and we say, “What! He’s like that?” – without noticing that we ourselves are “like that”. And so to the weakness and imperfection we add the absurdity of not even noticing them.
There is a lesson to be drawn from this. When something in a person seems to you completely unacceptable or ridiculous – “What! He is like that, he behaves like that, he says things like that, he does things like that” – you should say to yourself, “Well, well, but perhaps I do the same thing without being aware of it. I would do better to look into myself first before criticizing him, so as to make sure that I am not doing the very same thing in a slightly different way.” If you have the good sense and intelligence to do this each time you are shocked by another person’s behaviour, you will realise that in life your relations with others are like a mirror which is presented to you so that you can see more easily and clearly the weaknesses you carry within you.
In a general and almost absolute way anything that shocks you in other people is the very thing you carry in yourself in a more or less veiled, more or less hidden form, though perhaps in a slightly different guise which allows you to delude yourself. And what in yourself seems inoffensive enough becomes monstrous as soon as you see it in others.
Try to experience this; it will greatly help you to change yourselves. At the same time it will bring a sunny tolerance to your relationships with others, the goodwill which comes from understanding and it will very often put an end to these completely useless quarrels.
Cultivate Trust and Goodwill
Nothing lasting can be established without a basis of trust. And this trust must be mutual.
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Indeed, the good will hidden in all things reveals itself everywhere to the one who carries good will in his consciousness.
This is a constructive way of feeling which leads straight to the Future.
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Good will for all and good will from all is the basis of peace and harmony.
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It is when things are going wrong that it is the best opportunity to show one’s goodwill and spirit of true collaboration.