I recently posted the short story “Peaches” from my book Love on the Rocks with a TwistDelightful Fiction with Lessons on Dealing with Others.” Thanks to all of you who let me know how much you enjoyed it.

“Peaches” and its study notes show how you can take the same skills you use to reach agreement with others and apply those skills to make enlightened personal decisions that don’t even involve another person.

Here, as promised, are the study notes for “Peaches”:

Study Notes for “Peaches”

Eye Out for Options

A core concept of interest-driven persuasion, consensus building and negotiation is the shift from either-or thinking to a habit of keeping an eye out for third, fourth or fifth options. Developing this viewpoint will also help with your own unilateral decisions, even when you’re not interacting with another person.

           While our protagonist took a break from hard work, a newspaper item started her mulling over what to do with her “thing” for a man who didn’t appreciate her. The logical part of her brain weighed the pros and cons of two alternatives: (1) give him a piece of her mind, thus slamming the door on any future contact, or (2) simply wish him well.

           Then, she asked herself about her interests, “So what did I really want anyway? If I were granted one wish and had to take it this minute, what would I wish for?” She engaged a different part of her brain to answer that question by replacing analytical thinking with sensory visualization. The images led, not to a thought, but to a feeling. The bliss that came over her when she visualized that man out of her town and out of her life, freeing her to enjoy things like a sweet, ripe peach.

           She returned to the news article about this man with her senses awakened by the visualization process. Reading that he would be staying in town after all, she felt heaviness replacing the light, blissful sensation.

           This woman didn’t take an either-or approach to the process of figuring out a problem. Rather she used both logic and intuitive visualization. This, in turn, led away from the either-or decision she had been contemplating—either tell him off or wish him well. It led to a third alternative: don’t communicate with him at all; delete him from her life.

           I highly recommend cultivating a practice of visualization to augment your left-brain logic and analysis. Take a page from the playbook of athletes who combine both processes to get their best game on. Analyze andvisualize when preparing for a consensus-seeking conversation or working on any other decision.

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