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I truly dislike negativity. I suspect you do, too. As a kid, I would avoid arguments like the plague. I hated the upset that went along with it – that feeling of frustration, and churning in my stomach. Ugh. As I got older, I realized that negativity was always going to be a part of my life whether I liked it or not. Avoiding it was not an option, because avoiding it meant I wasn’t sticking up for myself or my loved ones or the tenets I believed in. Avoiding it meant I couldn’t right a wrong – or learn and understand other points of view. And then, perhaps the realization we all arrive at eventually: that not all negativity is created equal. There are degrees of problems and contention that arise in life, and therefore dealing with it also requires appropriate response. From cocking one’s head, to a full-blown argument. From a few choice words to a full blown lawsuit. And everything in between. Over time, I’ve found that my most successful tool for dealing with contention is, simply, a gentle push back. This is true in both my personal life and in business. I think 99% of the contentious issues in my life have been solved more by a push back question or statement than they have by anything stronger than that… And so, I always try the Push Back first – before I bring out the cannons. What exactly do I mean by “Push Back?” Unlike some dictionary definitions which focus on “repelling the enemy” – my definition is simply to provide an alternative point of view – mine. But to provide it in a very definitive fashion, thereby helping the other person see the error of his or her ways. Most of my push backs use the same process: I think about why the other person is invested in his idea I respond in a way that person will know that I have heard and considered his/her point of view then I ask a question that helps him/her understand my point of view and helps them…