Einstein Conflict Quotes

We are working on this for conflict: it’s hard:

And  our correspondent creatingreciprocity at


has just added an equally good Einstein quote below:

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Humor, Conflict Processes, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Einstein Conflict Quotes

  1. My favourite quote and, as you said, unbelievably difficult to achieve. When you try to simplify things there is always the fear (and accusation) of ‘dumbing down. That danger is, I think, offset by another quote from Einstein when he said –
    “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

    • Thanks Trish, I have added your quote to the post itself. My biggest issue in conflict is how to change behaviour. As a conflict professional, I found systematic interest-based bargaining from my friend Bill Ury in ‘Getting to Yes’, the best book on conflict ever written (with Roger Fisher), amazingly productive. It achieved much better results, even in near riot situations which I have faced quite often. Bill even used it to negotiate a cease fire between the Serbs and the Croats at one stage in the war there.

      But I never could persuade others to use such step-by-step systematic approaches, so one of my interests in neuroscience is to understand why we block using better approaches in our personal and political conflict and declare ‘war’ instead. That’s what’s difficult. 🙂 Reading about the northern Ireland peace process, they never used systematic approaches; just milled around and threw deals at each other until finally one stuck when every was tired of the killing.

      The seven step Creative Conflict Model at the top of my blog home page is easy. Getting folk to use it, preferably in writing to slow things down a bit, is not. Though I just taught it to 40 professional mediators here, and they are apparently really using it, because they already use systematic step by step processes and I just added to their toolkit.

  2. I wonder if the reluctance to use better approaches is to do with our fear of change? Even when things are really bad we stay in familiar situations – no matter how bad – even though there are other options (e.g. abusive relationships etc). It’s a big problem not just in conflict resolution but all human development – maybe we feel we can navigate around ‘the devil we know’ and are more terrified of the uncertainty of ‘the devil we don’t know’ than the chaos and pain we recognize?

    I’ve thought a lot about this – no solutions I’m afraid – but in my gut I feel it is somehow to do with finding ways to present the possible solutions in such a way as to have the people using the solutions really feel as if they are active participants and not just being persuaded to try something that, in their opinion, is untried and may or may not work. Having said that, I don’t know how to do it!

    It’ll be very interesting, though, to see what the neurons have to say about it all – how incredibly exciting!

    • Trisha, interesting insights that I will ponder. Waiting to hear whether UCLA and I got the next step in the funding process. We just need $800,000 🙂

      What makes it harder for me to understand is a personal story. Having learned interest bargaining in the 1980s I got the chance to work with its co-inventor Bill Ury in the early 1990s on a major corporate change program. His teaching was brilliant, but generally managers still didn’t change as you suggest: they resisted, though they all raved about the approach.

      Then because I had too good a time, I was sent to work in a very tough labour relations situation in Dagenham Ford plants in 1996 as the head of Labour Relations there. For the next two and a half years not only did I use Ury’s work every day to save us from disaster, as times were monstrously hard, but I made the 40 odd people who worked for me use it and they saw how it worked. Yet when I left, they stopped.using it. 😦 So that is why I am pursuing it to the neural level….

      My trouble is that I am a very strong process trier out and adopter. I went on a course in the 1970s and still use the seven step process I learned there and just about every other useful systematic approach I have ever learned. So it is hard for me to imagine the opposite: find a great approach and then not use it!! The curse of the early adopter!

  3. I wonder if, impressed as those people were with William Ury and you, they were somehow in the category of being ‘persuaded’, while early adopters, like you, are more active participants?
    If I win the lottery I promise I’ll send money to fund your programme – you could try betting on the Ireland-Wales rugby match this weekend…

    • I think you are onto something. I am just off to a local breakfast where all local activists come together. I will take a look around.

      As for the match I will be supporting both sides for a win-win good game. Don’t care who wins. 🙂

  4. Pingback: KISS « creatingreciprocity

  5. Pingback: KISS - creatingreciprocity

Leave a Reply to creatingreciprocity Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s