How to end war (modest, aren’t I?)

The source of all conflict is one of 2 things:

a belief in, and fear of, scarcity, or
fear of being wrong,

both of which result in feeling unsafe.

How do these create conflict?

A belief in, and fear of, scarcity causes people to attack to get what they believe there is not enough of. That might be a child who lies about the bad things her sister did because she believes there is not enough parental love to go around. It might be a farmer who steals a sheep because he believes it is the only way to feed his family. It might be a country who attacks another because of supposedly scarce resources of oil.

We know these are false — there is always enough love in the universe for everyone, because the universe is made of love, there is generally more than one way to feed a family, and there is more then one source of energy to power the world (the inexhaustible sun and wind come to mind, but there are other possible, less pleasant sources as well.) And that belief in scarcity causes those who are attacked to defend themselves, their families, their possessions and their land. I might add that the belief in the scarcity of life (i.e. that you only have one) and the scarcity of love (you can only love a finite number of people, who are related to you by birth) compound these defenses.

Fear of being wrong is the same as the need to be right. Who hasn’t needed to be right, whether it’s about the toilet seat being left up or put down, or the best career path for my child to take, or which direction the country should go? Being right makes you safe, doesn’t it? If I’m right, if I know, then all will be right in my world. Thus religious certainty becomes important. So if “God told me to” do whatever, then I’m right, which makes me safe. And if I’m wrong about “God’s message”, then what else am I wrong about? What can I be certain of? How can I possibly be safe? My world falls apart. (For a good discussion related to this, read John Dean’s “Conservatives without Conscience”, Chapter 2.)

So when you are angry, or hostile, or feeling anger or hostility from another, ask these questions:

1. What specifically am I afraid of?
2. What is there not enough of?
3. What do I “have to” be right about?
4. What do I need to feel safe?
5. How else could I get what I need?
6. What might my opponent, also known as my partner in this, be afraid of?
7. What does my partner think that there isn’t enough of?
8. What does my partner “have to” be right about?
9. What does my partner need to feel safe?
10. How can I help my partner get what he/she/they need?
11. How are we aligned?

You may find that anger or hostility are completely unnecessary.

Believe that there is enough, in one way or another, and you will find it. Accept that you don’t know, and you’ll find peace.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (, who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.