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The fourth voice, which is missing during a disagreement is the voice of possibility.
This muted voice seeks to make conflict productive. This voice resonates in questions like:
Most of us are weary of disagreement, so a claim that disagreement can be productive is intriguing.
Some of the common misconceptions with respect to disagreement are:
This is the internal voice that will tell you things such as “Take it or leave it” or “My way or the highway”. The voice of power isn't the ultimate conflict-resolution strategy, because you can’t argue with sheer force. Benson states that this what power does – it forcibly closes down arguments and ends conflict in your favour, which is an undeniable evolutionary advantage.
Make use of the following steps to implement the fourth voice:
The voice of possibility encourages us very explicitly not to do what the other three voices – power, reason and avoidance – have made habitual in us, which is to find a way to uproot and kill the conflict. We need to develop ‘honest bias’ and listen to the fourth voice of possibility, leaving aside our ego to make a disagreement less about arguments and more about a mutual solution.
This is the internal voice which will tell you things such as “Why?” or “That doesn’t add up”. The voice of reason is all about using reasons to shut down a debate. Benson argues that the voice of reason works best in situations where you have disagreements with people who share respect for the same higher authority or are part of the same group or organisation that your reasons draw from.
This is the internal voice that tells you things such as “I would prefer not to” or “Leave me out of it”.
Conflict avoiders have identified flaws in the voices of power and reason and so have chosen to address conflicts by simply refusing to participate in them in the first place.
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