Monday, April 8, 2013
Some Sense at Last
I was very pleased to hear, yesterday, that the US had decided to postpone a missile test scheduled for tomorrow. Whether or not this proposed test had anything to do with the current head banging with North Korea (which it probably didn’t, directly) this kind of prudence is very welcome. While North Korea is like a schoolyard bully whose behavior is spiralling out of control, it is important that someone keeps a cool head. Regardless of the intent behind a US missile launch, the North Korean government would certainly have viewed it as a further provocation, or, at least, sold it to its people in that way. If the North Korean leadership now jumps up and down waving its spears and trumpeting to its people that, see, they have been able to force the US to back down, so be it. Let them do their little victory dance. Ignore it.
More than once, I have been alone in a small office with someone whose behavior was spiralling out of control. The best thing is always to remain calm and speak reasonably – easier said than done, I know. But if you don’t, if you respond in an angry or even frightened way, the other person seems to feed off this energy, with potentially explosive consequences. Staying calm and reasonable may not always work, but it is better than the alternative. If you don’t feed the person, it becomes, for them, rather like punching a marshmallow. They have to feed their own energy, and that is more difficult. You become a circuit breaker, a wave dampener.