Dove with Branch
August 01, 2011 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 find my work to be very unpleasant. The biggest problem is that the manager never thinks my work is good enough for her. Whatever I do is never good enough for her. How can I get her to stop criticizing my work? - Cristina in AZ

Dear Christina, Your manager's answer would be to make it absolutely perfect by her standard. It is obvious that her standard would be impossible to achieve. What she wants is to get better results by motivating you through fear, and it is not working for her. Your reaction to her has the results of reducing your effectiveness. You are upset by her criticism because you choose to view it that way. You can choose to view her criticism as just her way and not be upset by it, or you can choose to find other work - among your options. Realize that it is not the ways she is but it is the way you are reacting that is the problem and find a solution that will work for you. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My father does not respect me. Whatever I do is never good enough for him. Even when I follow his advice he is never satisfied. Whatever I do or say I am asked to do better. He has never said I did a good job even one time. I have spoken to him and my mother about this, but it doesn't change even though they know how I feel. - Victor in IN

Dear Victor,If your father didn't respect you he wouldn't be taking so much effort to "improve" you. He is doing it in the best way he knows how. Find a way to gently let your father know it isn't working. Let him know you want to create a good life for yourself and that it would be more effective for you if he could learn to give you advice in a more positive way. Let him know you love him and thank him for trying to help you. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: 90022 Sheffler Rd., Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

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

In order to become a peaceful society we must learn how to be peaceful. We learn this mostly through our education as we are growing up. We learn it from our parents, our teachers and others in our society. Before we can become peaceful we must learn peaceful ways of thinking. We need to give up such things as being upset because others have inconvenienced us or want to do things differently. This comes from our education. Our lives out-picture the beliefs taught to us by our society. We build, and use, war machines because we believe they are necessary.

We spend approximately ten times the money on national defense that we spend on education. Because we have not learned peace, we spend much of our resources protecting ourselves. One answer is to spend more money on machines of war to protect us. A better answer, I believe, is to develop and teach the concepts that will produce peace, and reduce our defense budget down to the size of our education budget.

Is this reasonable? I think so. The U.S. and its Allies spend about three times as much on defense as the rest of the world. Most of our military spending is caused because we disagree with what others are doing, not because they are attacking us. We have ample opportunity to find more peaceful solutions when we start desiring them.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Gaining and maintaining the commitment to make positive changes in your life requires thought, feeling and behavioral change - none of which is easy. So give yourself credit and keep telling yourself how much harder your life will be if you don't change. The benefits are worth all that work - many times over. Be willing to do the work, knowing that peace and joy lie ahead.

You can't change, unless you think you can. You must get over, "I tried but I failed, therefore I can't." You must realize that you can change your beliefs. Realize you have accomplished difficult things before. Know that change requires significant thought and effort. Stop thinking "I will change;" instead, think, "I am in the process of changing." If you think of changing your beliefs in some positive way, as something you will do, you'll be tempted to put off doing the work required to arrive at a better life.

You may find it more effective to commit to changing only one or two of your habitual negative responses at a time. Work with each of them until you have them pretty well mastered, and then commit to additional changes. If you focus on fewer changes, it will be easier to keep them in focus. Whereas, if you try to change every single time when anger flairs, you might be taking on more than you will find the energy to maintain.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the changes you would like to make in the different areas of your life.

Tuesday: Decide what changes you would make in each of these areas.

Wednesday: Think about what you need to learn or do to make each of changes you have decided to make.

Thursday: Think about which changes are the most important to you.

Friday: Think about which changes will be the most difficult to make.

Saturday: Prioritize your changes and select the ones you will begin now.

Sunday: Start and maintain the process of change. Work on new changes as the first ones are completed.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of Life Without Anger and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

The World Emotional Literacy League in conjunction with World Without Anger and Lumbini Buddhist University has taken on the task of introducing emotional literacy training in the educational system of Nepal nationwide. In support of that program I will be conducting workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops will provide an introduction to the emotional skills training program as well as an introduction to establishing emotional skills training programs in your local area. The program and my workshops are based on my textbook "Emotional Intelligence - Taking Control of Your Life."

I have taken on the task of supporting the teaching of emotional skills training in the educational system with the trust and hope, that many in your community will be able to share in the vision of this great work, and join us in this amazing project. We are promoting a "Sponsor a School" program to raise awareness and support throughout the U.S. & Canada If you have any interest in the program and/or having a workshop in your area. Contact me for additional information.

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