Friday, February 14, 2014

Respect and Communication Leads To Better Understanding

Respect is a much needed component of communication. If you have ever had a conversation with someone who doesn't have any respect for you, or you may not have had much respect for them. You can compare this to a conversation you had with someone where both parties respect each other greatly and you can clearly see the point I'm trying to make. But the line for respect and disrespect is one that is not very clear.

What exactly is respect or to be respectful?
We all know the words and feel as though we know what they mean. But there are many times when we want to show respect for one and by doing so we disrespect another. I think the problem in this lies in the fact that we take things personally and not for what it really is. Facts are facts and sometimes we need to learn to accept the facts and move on and not feel disrespected.

There are many of us who do our best to respect others. Or at least try not to disrespect them. Sometimes by doing this, the other party will disrespect us. The main reason for this in my opinion is we are not accepting and or acknowledging  the fact that we deserve respect in return. We all deserve respect. Its a two way street. Of course we need to show respect to others if we expect them to respect us back. There may be times that we need to say, "Hey, I'm trying to show you some respect, How about a little in return". This will show that we have self-respect. We need to respect ourselves if we expect others to respect us as well.

How about the times we don't tell people the things they should hear because we don't want to hurt them or we think they might misunderstand?  We feel we are being respectful by not saying and hurting them. But we are really disrespecting them by hiding this from them. Hidden facts are a very disrespectful thing, especially when you are communicating something to someone or your horse. They deserve to have all the facts.

So how does all this relate to communication?  
Well communication is used by all forms of life to communicate our wants, needs and ambitions. Many species play games with their communications to gain an upper hand, but none more than the human race. So much purposeful disrespect is shown by humans its sickening.  We see it very clearly in Politicians and Business men. In commercials and advertisements everywhere. We see all forms of slander adds, not giving all the facts, trying to get us to their side or to buy their product. This all plays on our own self-respect, making us feel like we have to make a definitive choice. In many ways it takes so much away from us if we fall for any of it. Taking sides closes our minds and blocks the paths to understanding. By not allowing ourselves to see the different views of others, and or discrediting them, we lose out on comparisons that would lead to better understanding.  Many of us jump on a band wagon and join the cause, even if it is a demise to humanity. This in turn breeds more disrespect. Sometimes through retaliation from the other side but mostly because people want to feel like they are liked by others so they join in. The disrespectful behavior becomes the most important part of the communication so they can tip the scales in their favor and persuade us to think in that way.

I see this in the horse world as well. There are many Trainers and Instructors out there. All of them have something to share with us. Many are very similar in their concepts and techniques. It bothers me a lot when I hear another person say discrediting or disrespectful things about someone who works to help others. Especially when it is someone else in the same field. To me its not that they are knocking a person down, I see through all that and seek the facts. Its more that I see a person who has little to no self respect, and that saddens me. The fact that they want others to think they are better than the person they are knocking says real loud and clear that they are insecure, or in desperate need to show that they know something about the subject or topic. Even though the way they understand it is just different than the person they are running off about. If we have enough respect to try and understand other points of view it will help us in the long run by giving us another path to better understanding. To me there is no one person better than anyone else. Regardless of skill level. I have learned as much from my students, (some of which were very green and inexperienced) as I have from very experienced trainers. We all have something to share, and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. We just need to learn where to look to find understanding. You would be amazed at some of the places it shows up. Sometimes understanding of one thing comes from something you would think is totally unrelated. Sometimes the path to understanding is covered up by things we can't see through. But if we look for it we will find it. It truly is everywhere you look.

So why did I go through  all that?
Well us humans we tend to carry this into our work with our horses. Not showing them enough respect. We tend to go in and act as if we know it all and they need to listen. We can be so arrogant without even trying. Its learned behavior and getting worse as generations come up behind us. It should all start with having self respect. Self respect comes from confidence and knowledge and helps us find understanding; When we understand that we have the ability and responsibility to provide for the horses needs, that leads to respecting the horse. Then we move to respecting the fact that the horse has every right to have self-respect and to demand respect from us.When they do, they will do the same for us. Then the cycle can continue. Each time it does we gain more respect, better communication and more understanding.

We can respect them by evaluating and being aware of their needs and providing for them. This is more than just giving them food, shelter, and water. They have emotional needs as well and we should provide for those needs. We do that by listening to them. They can't tell us verbally but we can learn to read them. They are always telling us something. Sometimes many things all at once. The more I do this the more it amazes me how much they say to us and we just didn't understand. In most cases this is from our lack of awareness and acknowledging respect for them.

An example of how better results come through respect.
Have you ever worked at a place or been in a situation where one person suggests something and its ignored while someone else could suggest something even more ridiculous and it would be accepted? This would be an example of a person having more respect for one over the other. Even though in this situation it isn't warranted.

I gave the example above to show that if there is a mutual respect for each other, then you can ask things that may otherwise be ignored. Your conversations can go in almost any direction and not be dismissed as ridiculous. This when it comes to horses will give them so much try and open the lines of communication like you never imagined. A simple concept that will get your horse to respect you more is,"Encourage don't Demand" Give them the respect to choose and think things out for themselves. Just remember you may need to gently guide them there. We discussed this in our last post, There Are No Wrong Answers"

I hope many people get to read this and it makes sense. I also hope others have more to add to this through the comment section in ways that help us all make the world a better place.
If you like this and think others will to,  please share it out to your friends.
Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 7, 2014

There Are No Wrong Answers

This is a hard concept to grasp but if we want to get someones appreciation, we will do it best by not making them feel like they are wrong. A teaching concept I like to use that I call, "Redirect and Reward" is a way of asking questions in a way to gently guide them to the correct response. Always making them comfortable with there decision. In this way they not only start to accept me but also they learn to appreciate me. They also become very confidant, and start to think things out, searching for intention.

At a few demonstration last year I had an example of how this works. I started the Demonstration with a card trick. I tell everyone that this card trick will teach you everything you need to know about working with horses. The card trick starts with me getting a volunteer. I ask them to check the deck of cards to make sure it is a real deck. I then ask them to shuffle the deck. Then we cut the deck, put the bottom half on top and I put the deck in my pocket. I then ask them to make a number of choices. Starting with picking 6 numbers and or Jack, Queen, King. After each choice I ask them if they are happy with their choice and would they like to change any of the choices. If they do, we make the change. We move on to choosing 3, then 2 then 1 until we have a card. Then I ask them to choose 2 suits, then 1 suit. Again every time asking them if they like their choice and asking if they want to make any changes. Once we have a card and a suit, I ask them to say the first number that comes to their mind no matter how large the number is. We then reduce this number numerically until it is a value of 52 or less. I then start pulling cards out of my pocket and when we reach the number value, out comes the card they picked.

This card trick is the best example of Redirect and Reward that I can come up with. I do explain how it works. You see I know the end result by looking at the bottom card before it goes into my pocket. So I keep asking questions till we get there. We choose numbers, if they choose this card we work from those numbers, if not we eliminate the ones they chose and work from the ones that are left. We do the same with the suits. The number they choose is totally irrelevant but say they chose 5280, we reduce it numerically by adding 5+2+8+0= 15. So I take the first 14 card from the top of the deck and the 15th is taken from the bottom.

This tends to amaze people the first time they see it. All it is, is me gently guiding them to my end result. I know what the end result is and I keep asking questions making sure they never feel wrong or intimidated into making a choice. I use this same concept while working with a horse. If they do something other than what I'm looking for, I just redirect them and reward every try. With the one exception that if they challenge me in any way, like try to run me down, bite or kick at me, I will tell them with and unconditional "NO" This doesn't happen if I get a chance to start at the beginning of my program but does happen on occasion when helping someone with their horse and the horse doesn't have much of a foundation. (All problems are do to a lack of something in their foundation)  Its a shame to because a good foundation takes 5 hrs or less to install in most cases. Its not finished at that point, there is still work needed over the next few months to help it cure to being solid in their minds and will need maintenance throughout the horses life.

A lot of problems come from a horse that is just saying, "No I Don't Want To" This horse has lost its TRY, or There Want to Please. Maybe they just got tired of being told no themselves to many times. Working in the way described above will make them feel better about you, the task at hand, and themselves. They learn to think things out and start searching for intention in all things and situations. It boosts their confidence. This creates a very calm and willing horse. With each cue and or situation you work through, they get a much larger vocabulary. This leads to better understanding. Not just that your horse understands what is going on but they understand us and our intentions as well as we understand them to a much deeper level. The more you understand each other, The better the relationship. Remember we not only want them to accept us and what we ask of them. We want them to appreciate us and want to do these things because they enjoy being with us. Its very easily attainable if you keep an open mind and search real hard for understanding yourself.

If we know the end result we are looking for, and we create a path to get there. Knowing there will be challenges along the way and prepare for a way to get past them. There is nothing we can't achieve.

Thank you for reading along.