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The Beauty of Conflict: Clair Canfield (Full Transcript)

Clair Canfield at TEDxUSU

Here is the full transcript and summary of professor Clair Canfield’s TEDx Talk: The Beauty of Conflict @ TEDxUSU conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio:


Clair Canfield – Lecturer in the Languages, Philosophy, and Communication Studies

I’ve heard it described as a volcano that’s about to erupt. A hurricane. Like slow-dancing barefoot on broken shards of glass. Like trying to hold back the ocean with a broom. War. The plague. Like being drawn and quartered.

These are just a few examples of thousands of metaphors I’ve collected about conflict. What’s conflict like for you? Your metaphor matters because it often reflects how you think and feel about conflict. So it makes sense that if you think conflict is the plague, you’d probably want to avoid that, and avoid everybody else that has it too. If it’s like trying to hold back the ocean with a broom, I would imagine that feels frustrating and futile.

So what do you do when the waves just keep coming? Because conflict washes ashore in all of our relationships; at home, at work, in our neighborhoods.

And you’ve probably already been given advice on how you should deal with it. “Communicate.” But sometimes talking about it seems to make it worse. “Don’t go to bed angry.” So you stay awake, and now you’re angry and tired.

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