Dove with Branch
October 15, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk


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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I am a manager at a very large company. My team and I have to work cross functionally and some of our counterparts have been very demanding and unprofessional, even yelling at me repeatedly in meetings over circumstances that I did not create and that I am trying to solve anyway. I have tried the following: 1) discussing the situations that arise with them in a rational and calm manner; 2) discussing separately with my boss and having him do the same; 3) trying to visualize myself and my team being treated fairly and respectfully. So far none of these have worked. Any ideas? I love the idea of eradicating anger in the workplace as there is a lot of it and it is likely making its way home..... even a few tips that would help to alleviate the situation would be much appreciated. - EF

Dear EF, This is a difficult and all too common problem. The basic problem is that you have difficult situations. The other problems arise out of ineffective ways of dealing with the underlying problem. The secret is not to let these ineffective attempts at solutions become your emotional problem. Do not allow yourself to buy into other peoples' anger because then that becomes your problem. Develop confidence in yourself as a problem solver and a person who wants to help others who can stay focused on finding ways to help other people through their anger issues without allowing them to become your issues. It sounds like you have made some very good attempts to solve their problems that haven't worked. Don't allow this to frustrate you. Keep searching for positive solutions. Accept the challenge, and believe that as long as you stay positive and keep searching you will find a solution. If you can remain positive and give only help and love regardless of the other persons anger you will find a way. This is somewhat like giving yourself customer service training. You learn to solve their problem in a positive way without letting their problem upset you. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

In the past our efforts have been primarily a resistance to war (ban the bomb). We have not found war good and we have been fighting a campaign against war and its horrors instead of going on a search for peace. Gandhi was successful in uniting and mobilizing his people to free them from the oppressive rule of the British. Once that immediate problem was solved the Hindus and the Muslims turned on each other and broke his heart. The people of India united to solve a common problem but they were not able to forget the perceived differences between themselves and live in peace. The path looks more promising for the work of Martin Luther King Jr., because we are still making measurable progress on racial equality. However many of us would like to see us moving forward at a faster pace.

Until now, perhaps no other path was possible because we had not yet developed a sufficient amount of peace in our individual hearts to be able to experience peace in the world. Remember, no matter how much we think we might want something we are still going to out-picture the kind of world that we feel on the inside. The answer to our problem will not appear until we have sufficient awareness to understand it. The answer is already there, we just haven't seen it yet.

Theoretically this shift in awareness could happen overnight. However, from my experience I believe there is still a lot of work yet to be done. When enough of us are able to find that elusive peace in our heart then the change will happen rather quickly.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Unfortunately, we often relate to each other as if we are to be constantly judged. We think it is important to decide who is wrong and who is right. We think we need to be right. And if we are wrong, then we think we should suffer and be punished somehow. If there is guilt, then we think there must be blame. We try to control someone else's behavior by placing blame upon them. Most of the time, we don't even realize that we are doing this. But if we are practicing guilt and blame, we see the other person as threatening us, so we attack them.

Because of their insecurities many people can be controlled by the power you create by placing blame. You may gain control, but do not expect a positive relationship to result unless you can actually find someone who enjoys other people having the power. Positive people do not place blame. They don't blame circumstances, they don't blame other people, and they don't blame themselves.

Blaming always leaves us with resentment and other negative feelings. Only by not placing blame can we be in control of our own fate. Unfortunately our legal system has adopted the concept of negligence, which is simply placing blame for mistakes. We buy into this concept of blaming others for all of the bad things that happen to us. We have learned to believe we should be compensated any time a bad thing happens to us because that is our society's way of thinking. When we do this we inadvertently accept victim-hood and incorporate it into our belief system.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I realize that my life is not controlled by what other people think of me.

Tuesday: If I make an honest mistake I do not feel shame.

Wednesday: I do not need to control what other people do.

Thursday: I do not blame others for their honest mistakes.

Friday: I do not try to control others by making them ashamed.

Saturday: Others are not obligated to me simply because they made an honest mistake.

Sunday: I give up the need to always be right.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

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