Don’t Get Scrooged

For some reason, the book, “Don’t Get Scrooged”, called to me from its place amongst countless other books on the library shelf. I pulled it from its slot, and reviewed its cover.

How to thrive in a world full of Obnoxious, Incompetent, Arrogant, and Downright Mean-Spirited People.

This book sounded interesting. It’s within the realm of my work as a lawyer. It’s written by Richard Carlson, the author of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”. And it’s timely, as the holidays are just around the corner.

As I read through the book, I recognized it has many communication and relationship lessons families can use everyday, not just Christmas Day. Carlson writes, “Although airing your grievances with others may help you feel less alone and on rare occasion gets you good advice, more often than not it keeps you stuck in a bad mood.”

He explains that when some scrooge wrongs us, we spend time thinking about the incident and growing angry and resentful. Meanwhile, the offending scrooge has moved on without any further thought. “You, not the offending person, are the one who is suffering.”

Carlson says to quit rehearsing their wrongs. Quit rehearsing your rights. Only you can fix what’s running through your heart and head. Free yourself.

Carlson then goes on to offer practical advice that I will now share with you, and apply it to your daily family life.

Tip #1 – If people are not fulfilling your needs, or are walking all over you, you may not be clearly communicating what you need from them. You must take responsibility for your needs by clearly stating your rules and enforcing them. People learn what you will tolerate by your words and actions.

Tip #2 – Let scrooges win when it only has a short-term effect. Let them have their way, avoid them, and let them think they won. Why change your routine or habits or inconvenience yourself? Carlson answers, “To stay sane and happy, that’s why…You wouldn’t be changing your routine for (the scrooge). You’d be changing your routine for you.”

Tip #3 – Respect others and build a rapport with them. You’re not looking to manipulate others; rather, you are seeking to build a connection. “Once that connection is made, the person you’re working with will do everything in his or her power to help you.”

Tip #4 – Smile and keep a good mood. “If a bad mood can rub off on others, why not a good one?”

Tip #5 – Stop before you respond immediately to a scrooge. “Feeling wronged sets off our adrenaline and our instinctual fight-or-flight mechanism, but pausing puts us back in control, creating a sense of spaciousness, choice, and calm.” Pausing gives you perspective and may help you avoid worsening the situation.

Tip #6 – Expect less. If you already expect an unsatisfying outcome, why are you disappointed when that outcome occurs? Be realistic and plan accordingly. The outcome will be more bearable and less stressful.

Tip #7 – Scrooges don’t change because you made them change. You can lend them a hand, if they ask. You can point out impending disasters that they don’t see. The scrooge, however, is the only person that can make the change.

     Posted on December 1, 2008 at 3:30 pm | No comment

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