Chapter 3: DUO

Written by Paul Clacher Copyright 2002

DUO - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Who hasn't heard of this philosophy before? It is written in the Holy Bible and it is a common thread, which has woven itself throughout the different cultures inhabiting this planet over the millennia. The knowledge of this concept has probably in fact existed since the beginning of human life, as we know it. Some practice it, while others exploit it. "What goes around comes around." What an apt and appropriate statement this is! I have discussed the concept of Autobalance in Chapter 2, now I will expand upon that notion and explain how you can live a good life, while at the same time improve your immediate environment and ultimately start to mend the world. Never discount human psychology. Never base your life calculations upon just one force. A good example of this can be seen in the Economic Rationalist theory. I believe it has failed dismally as it rarely takes into account human psychology. It may be possible to force this theory upon society, but look at the shift in the balance, which it has caused. It supposedly succeeds but at the cost of the culture of that society.

When a society is measured solely upon its economic worth, balancing forces such as happiness, self-esteem, cultural values, the family, trust, friendship, leadership and numerous other nebulous forces are negatively altered. It is then that our society changes in a way to accommodate this change in direction, which has been thrust upon it. A survival tactic, which has been adopted by many individuals to conquer this new force, is selfishness, greed, lies, deceit, and many other negative ways. It has recently been named the "ME" factor. In the short term these tactics appear wonderful, as they can get the individual the things and items, which they perceive to be of great value and worth. These items could include, the "Merc", the "BM" and numerous other toys to gloat with. But do they bring happiness? I would suggest NO! I believe that the alleged happiness that these items supposedly bring are illusions, which we ourselves create as being symbols of success. Does the "Merc" or the "BM" for example care for us when we are sick or depressed. If you can see that these items can never return love, then you can easily see that the pursuit of any prestige items can never bring happiness. Sure, aspire to own a nice car, but never buy a car as a status symbol. For you to gain status from that "Merc" or "BM" you must be taking away from others who do not own a vehicle perceived to be as good as the one you own. It could be perceived that you are gloating that you have made it and others have not. Can that be good, honestly? Do I hear you say, "Tell someone who cares"? I own one of those cars and I love it. Well if that is your answer, then you have much work yet to do. If you can see the merit in what has been said so far, and wish to learn more, continue reading.

Build positives from every action you do. Sure if your goal is to buy that "Merc" or "BM", do it. So long as the motive is purely for good reasons and not as a status symbol. You will easily be able to tell if this goal is as a status symbol in the way you view the world. Do you look at others to see if they are looking and admiring your new "Merc" or "BM"? If this is the case then probably you have bought the new "Merc" or "BM" for the wrong reason. Another issue worth considering could be. Why do you wish to own a "Merc" or "BM" anyway? Why not own another type of new car? What is your answer? Are you also finding that it is not just the car, but is also the house, the TV, the stereo system and all the other toys? So what is it that makes you want all of these things? Is it that you want any TV set, or is it that you must have the very best of everything, and then when you do own it, do you tell everyone?

Are you starting to learn more about what motivates you now? This is absolutely critical in understanding this, as you need to know what type of person you are, what belief systems make you who you are, and why you choose to do those things, which you do. In short, what motivates you? Are you a giving person or are you a taking person? Do you listen to others or do you talk to others. Or perhaps you are a balanced communicator with people. In fully understanding yourself you can then continue to be aware of who you are, what motivates you and ultimately how to check your own behaviours. You can then self-steer yourself at a micro level through the new direction you have chosen in your life towards true happiness.

Do you now feel a little lost? Has everything, which you held before as truths now dissolved into a vast emptiness? Do not despair, for you can now re-learn how to achieve true happiness, for yourself, your family and ultimately for your society. Do you recall in Chapter 2 where it said, "What goes around comes around"? Here is some truth - Give out bad and get bad. Give out good and get good. In this world in which we now find ourselves, it is far harder, to continually give out good than it is to give out bad. I propose that while it may be easier to give out bad, it is far more fruitful and satisfying to give out good in this life. Do not be fooled into the belief that it is OK to lie and cheat to get those things you think you want, for it will come back on you. Now that you wish to grow and give out good, you will need to set yourself a good objective. In Chapter 2 it also said, "in your life's journey you need to set an objective and you will need to consider the Autobalancing forces, which will come into play when you are trying to achieve your objective." It is now time to very closely look at what you really want from life. Now this is probably one of the most difficult questions you will ever ask yourself. I believe that after deep soul searching, everyone will arrive at the same objective. Happiness! But, what gives one-person happiness, may not give another happiness. So what is happiness?

I believe that happiness is a quality, which creates a harmonious balance between personal happiness (good), and social happiness (good). If like Hannibal Lector you gain happiness from killing, then this is not happiness it is just selfish gratitude, which neither gives to society nor creates a positive balance within the All. Happiness is a quality which brings a positive to all those it touches. This is the test of true happiness. It is in using this tool to test for your objective of happiness that you will identify the direction you will need to take in your life. As we are all quite different we will all have different directions and objectives we wish to achieve. Head towards this objective and you will then find your happiness. In my life's observation it would appear that in giving out just one good, many goods are returned to the giver. It therefore follows that in giving out many goods, many many more goods are returned to the giver. The end result is a multiplication of goods leading into much happiness.

As stated in the beginning of this chapter, use the measuring stick of, treat others just how you would want to be treated yourself. In any interaction with others, take a very short moment to think about how you are interacting with them and self check by asking yourself, "If I were the other person, would I be happy in receiving the words I am giving" and "the actions which I am portraying and sending out". Are my actions and words appropriate? If the answer is yes, then keep improving on your good progress. If the answer is no, take stock of what you are saying and doing, modify those things in a way that they are how you would like to be spoken to in that situation. Clearly this is a very simplistic way to interact with others, but it is a start. You must be ever mindful of the other person's requirements in the interaction. That is to say you need to be aware of the set of criteria, which that person has in that particular interaction with you. It may well be that the other person's criteria is not honesty or particularly positive, but these are the things which you will need to pick up on and modify your response to them accordingly to achieve this happiness which you are striving to achieve. To achieve this you will need a set of tools in your life's toolbox of skills to achieve this minor objective of communicating with the person for that moment.

It is the language that we don't speak, which is richer in messages about our inner most feelings, thoughts and beliefs than a volume of words. It is our individual body language. As individuals in a social structure, we have created and learnt thousands of behavioural postures, cues, gestures and various emblems, which we form into a chain of actions, which expresses and displays both our conscious and unconscious self. In many cases, if I was to tell you that you had crossed your arms and squinted one eye at my comment. You would probably be surprised, as so many gestures or emblems have been learnt from the cradle, and are done without you even being conscious of them. In fact if you did become conscious of these emblems or cues it would severely limit you in free flowing nonverbal communication with me. The truth is, that you have a virtually endless repertoire of emblems, which you store as an individual link in a chain, and when required, you fit many links together to create a chain of emblems. This is the basis of the term cliché. This cliché of links, in fact allows for an easy flow for you to express these nonverbal messages, which you give out constantly.

As we all know, or should know, communications is not a one-way street. It involves dialogue in and out. (Both verbal and nonverbal.) The speed in which the human brain processes this information is absolutely stunning. Not only is it giving out information, both verbal and nonverbal, it is taking in information both verbally and nonverbally and at the same time processing this information, while formulating responses to this data. On close examination of this process, it is testament to the power of the human brain. By observation, it is obvious that some individuals are far more skilled at this process that others. Don't despair, as while this may be an innate ability by some, the skill can be learned and improved upon. It has been said that 7% of communication is verbal while the remaining 93% of communication is nonverbal. Whether this split is accurate, is really just academic, as the important factor is the ratio. (Albert Mehrabian) The majority of our communications are nonverbal.

In the early days of studies into the feelings of individuals, the psychologist Reich, created a concept of "Body Armour". Reich believed that if you were feeling happy you would display the body posture of a happy person. That is, you would be standing upright, in an open silhouette and naturally smiling or laughing. Why have I used Reich as an example? Because if a person is telling you, with words, that they are happy and have a closed and small silhouette, even with a smile on their face then it is most likely that they are not really telling the truth. Hence the importance of understanding nonverbal behaviour. Reich took this one step further though. He said that you could actually improve how you felt by taking on the shape of a happy person. He theorized that the muscle position of a happy person actually triggered happiness receptors in the brain. Reich in fact had considerable success in this theory. I believe this highlights the importance of body posture and how it displays the person's feelings. If you don't believe Reich's theory, try it and you will be surprised.

Eye contact is also vitally important in the steady stream of nonverbal cues. It is very important to take note of the eye contact that the other person is presenting. Is it a stare, or is the person avoiding eye contact and what is the rest of the person's body telling you. Do they have a large silhouette, a small silhouette, arms folded, or some other gesture that may give you a clue into what they are internalizing. These cues give a clue into also how the person is copying with their feelings. Look for incongruent signs. That is opposites, such as a laugh or a smile when they hold their arms close to their body pulling in tight. These are the sort of signs that are incongruent and reveal that there is an internal battle going on. This is known as "Leakage of masked feelings". The person is trying to give the impression that they are happy when in fact they are feeling quite insecure about some cause. As the Confidante it is vitally important for you to be aware of these "Leakages of masked feelings", as it may give you the very clue as to how the person is feeling.

There are some useful techniques I have recently read about and some I learnt while studying Psychology at University and as a counselor with Life Line. These include;

1 Make a conscious effort to focus on the cues being given out by the other person.

2 Note the cues in context

3 Look for incongruities

4 Be aware of your own feelings at the time (ensure they don't cloud the issue) ie Don't be judgemental.

5 Reflect back, or paraphrase, or subtly copy the other person's posture in a way as not to offend or be obvious.

There are three auditory clues which may also assist you in the spoken word, and they are; "(1) the specific words that are spoken (2) the sound of the voice; (3) the rapidity of the speech, the frequency and length of pauses, how often the speech is disrupted by words like "aah" and "umm". " As Rolo May said, "What does the voice say when I stop listening to the words and listen only to the tone?". Likewise there are three visual clues, which may assist, and they are "(1) facial expression, (2) posture, and (3) gestures". These clues of cues however have been discussed previously. There is a technique called Neuro Linguistic Programming, but this topic will not be covered in this executive summary as volumes have been written on this topic. You may choose to do your own private research into this area. I will say little more than the eyes are the windows to the soul and reveal much about the person. Watch them closely and take close note, but know what they are telling you. Don't forget however look at the whole picture, not just one facet.

There has also been much study conducted on spatial distance, which is also a nonverbal cue which people display. Many people like to keep a distance between you and them. Don't get too hung up on this, as every culture has a different acceptable social distance between individuals. This also varies in crowds as it does with just a one on one basis with strangers. It is worth noting just the same.

I will now explain some basic verbal communication skills, which were taught to me by Dr. Bob Dick while I was studying at the University of Queensland Psychology Department. He revealed that probably the most important skill required in communicating with others is the skill of active listening. He utalised a model, which comprised of the acronym L.A.C.E.. This stood for L = Listen, A = Acknowledge, C = Check and E = Enquire. He also taught that you should always put the other persons feelings first. This is something, which I rarely see these days. When I do I must admit it is very refreshing. Dr. Bob Dick further taught to us that in putting the other person's feelings first he had another acronym F.I.D.O, which he applied to the issue of feelings. This stood for F = Feelings, I = Information, D = Decisions and O = Outcomes.

Firstly L.A.C.E. is a particularly useful and powerful tool in improving ones communication skills. It is easy to remember and it is very easy to apply. In fact when you use it, only another person trained in communication skills will know that you are applying this model. At first you may find that your use of L.A.C.E is stilted and artificial, but with practice you will find that it will become a part of you and how you communicate and interact with others. In using L.A.C.E., you will find that you will be extracting that maximum from the dialogue between you and the other person with whom you are communicating. Always remember though, that the other person is also giving out non-verbal information and cues. I will not be covering this topic to any great degree in this chapter, as non-verbal communication alone is a subject life studies in itself. Non-verbal communication is something, which you can learn empirically though. All you have to do is match up the persons non-verbal communication with their words and their actions and you will start to get a pretty good picture of what they are really saying. I will cover the concept of measuring another by their actions a little later in this chapter.

Let us now explore the actual nuts and bolts of L.A.C.E. L equals Listen. Seems pretty easy, but is it really? I would suggest that you ask a friend to help you practice your listening skills. Find a quiet place where you have some privacy and where you can hear each other clearly. This is important as what you are really going to do it to remove the distortion within the words, which are about to be spoken. This distortion can be just noise around you or it could be you interpreting the words rather than listening to the exact words. So, how do you know when you are distorting the spoken words? Well, that is easy. You reflect these words back to the speaker. Firstly get your friend to choose a meaningful statement and then get them to speak it to you. You must listen (L) quite intently to what they are saying. While they are speaking, keep your own head clear and do not start to form a reply to what they are saying. Just like the tape recorder, record, listen and remember every word, which is said. During this phase acknowledge (A) what your friend is saying. This is achieved by nodding at the appropriate times and the occasional mmm, does not go astray either. But please don't over do the mmm's as you will probably start to sound like a counsellor. You don't want to do that, as you want the whole conversation to flow like silk.

Once your friend has ceased speaking, listen again in your head what has been said and then check (C) with them what you believe they have said. This can be done by repeating exactly every word or to paraphrase what has been said. Repeating, I would suggest is not the best or even favoured method of checking, as I believe it tends to come out very deliberate. This can actually stifle conversation. Paraphrasing is where you take the important portions of what has been said to you and you speak these portions back to your friend. They will then in turn let you know if you have their concept correct in your head or not. I can tell you that people are very quick to let you know when you have got it wrong. You have now achieved the process of transferring the concept in the other person's head into your head. Once you have the correct message or concept in your head, you can now enquire (E) for more information. Easy isn't it. Now all you have to do is to practice the L.A.C.E. model until it flows like silk. Clearly, communication is much more complex than what I have said above, but it is a start, and if you wish to advance in this area, there are many books written on the subject, which you can study.

So we have talked about communication skills, but there is much more encoded in those words by the person than just the words alone. You will note that the person has almost definitely placed inflections upon those words. This was to give you accentuations and subtle meanings within the concept of each word alone. It can be the way a sentence is spoken and not just the words, which impart the concept of the sentence, which are most important. Be sharp listen for these intonations too. Use every thing to extract the most. As stated previously, your sensors are being bombarded with information 24 hours a day. Use that information. It is free.

On top of the words and the inflections in the words, there are also the no-verbal cues, which the other person is giving out. These too are extremely important. For with these non-verbal's you can start to understand the feelings overlaid in the words. Remember F.I.D.O. It is extremely important in progressing the words and concepts given by the speaker. The feelings (F) will allow you to understand if the other person is happy, sad, angry, loving or whatever emotion is entwined into the conversation. You can actually check (C) this by saying something like, you sound angry or just you're angry. Naturally you will check and reflect the correct emotion, which you have picked up on. You will then inquire for the information (I) as to why or what is causing the feelings (F). Based upon the reply you can then formulate some king of decision (D) which will produce the most appropriate outcome (O). Easy isn't it! Well with some practice you will become very proficient at your new skills and with these skills you will be able to add them to your growing toolbox of life skills.

It is unfortunate however, that in our current and emerging world, words are cheap, and many people say one thing, but sadly mean and do something else. In many cases this is deliberate. The end result of this causes several issues, which need to be examined. Firstly there is an emerging issue of a devaluation of the spoken language. Secondly, it would appear that the new measuring tool required in this day and age is, measure by actions not words. Thirdly, credibility comes into play. Fourthly, trust becomes undermined.

While I understand that language is dynamic, I see extensive devaluation with our current language. This is becoming a vast social issue, which is sorely affecting our society. Our society is made up of many demographic, economic, psycho-graphic and chronographic groups. While we have one language, it would appear that there are various levels to that language, which target various groups. What one word will mean to one group, may well mean something completely different to another group. In fact this is most likely. It is the misuse of words, by some sectors, which is creating this devaluation of the language. One could even say that words are cheap, but action is very expensive. Or more correctly, truth in words to actions is a very rare commodity. This is why now I tend to measure in actions and not words. It is most unfortunate, however, that this method of communication is absolutely ruthless. You either do what you say or you do not.

It is as a result of the interactions between the word and the action, which directly affect the credibility of the speaker. There is no mistake if a person regularly speaks one concept, but delivers another action one thing which is affected is that person's credibility. After a while you cannot believe much of what that person has to say at all. Even when their words match their actions, one cannot be sure if the original words were true or not. Hence that person's credibility will become unreliable and plummet through the floor. On a social level where many person's act in this fashion, it is difficult to know what words to believe and what words not to believe. Hence I now measure by actions and not so much by the words. In a society or relationship where one cannot rely upon the spoken word and the speaker's credibility has diminished, the factor of trust becomes a very big issue indeed. If we then live in a society with low credibility and low trust what then becomes and begets the concept of "do unto others". We reap what we sow. We basically get the society, which we deserve. Can anyone honestly say that they would be happy in a society where credibility and trust are bouncing along the bottom of the seabed? I would think not.

I would therefore espouse that we, do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Listen to what they have to say. Check with them that you have heard correctly what they are saying. Take it on board and put the other persons feelings in front of yours. Imagine if everyone did that. Measure those with whom you interact by what they do, not by what they say alone. If you find the two match, befriend that person, for you have found a treasure. Be true to yourself and be honest. Remember your objective and follow that objective vigorously on the road towards happiness. Now think for a while, if everyone adopted this concept of DUO, what kind of world would we have? I would like to think, one without the need for Police forces or armies.


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