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Conflict Mastery: Are there True Sides to Every Story?

Cynthia Chirinda

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Someone once said, “Beware of the half-truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.” In his 2002 film, The Kid Stays in the Picture, Robert Evans narrated that, “there are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently…”

The month of November saw many Zimbabweans glued onto various social media platforms keenly following updates, theories and controversies that followed Michelle ‘Moana’ Amuli’s death.

Moana died in an accident that claimed also the lives of Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure, Limumba Karim from Malawi and Alichia Adams from Mozambique in an accident along Liberation Legacy Way (ordinarily known by many as Borrowdale Road), in Harare.

The Local showbiz and the generality of Zimbabweans plunged into shock which was followed by boundless intrigue, reflection and speculation about life.

Many theories surrounding the tragic demise that befell these four, culminated in various inquests into spiritual, cultural, traditional and to some extent technological interrogations where car manufacturers Honda and Rolls Royce were not spared.

A very concerning development around this fatal tragedy was the delay in the burial of Moana’s remains which prolonged her rest, as family disputes escalated to the courts.

High Court Judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda aptly described it as “a unique case requiring more time to come up with an informed judgement.”

The judge took time to hear oral evidence from the estranged couple over the burial dispute which saw the paternal family and maternal family at each other’s throat on who must lead on the funeral and burial of the deceased.

Against the backdrop of the conversations around the court case which encouraged communities to “embrace Ubuntu, tolerance and compromises to avoid similar disputes which can burden the courts,” I personally took time to reflect on the developments that surrounded the sad loss of these young lives.

With every new day fresh revelations came to the fore, different perspectives and varying angles were presented by the different parties involved.

I followed commentaries on various platforms as fellow Zimbabweans made conclusions, analyses, assumptions and deductions on the case – all based on the information that had been obtained at different points.

Needless to say, the case continued to unfold, bringing out “truths” and facts that were previously unknown by the general public. It was at this point that I conclusively agreed within myself that there is definitely danger in the one sided story.

Danger of a Single Story

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

In 2009 her twenty-minute TED Talk video, “Danger of a Single Story,” Adichie describes the powerful impression the multitude of British stories made on her as a young girl growing up in Nigeria.

She argues that inherent in the power of stories, is a danger—the danger of only knowing one story about a group. “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

Perspectives are Subjective

“There are actually three sides to every story. His, Hers, and the Truth.” Those words come into mind often. People’s life experiences are particular. Even when we live in the same four walls, we come out with different stories.

Somewhere in the midst of our stories the truth exists.

The saying “there are three sides to every story” literally means that things are never black and white, there are shades of grey in between.

It reminds people that their perspective is subjective and their opinion is not the whole truth, that reality lies somewhere between two opposing perspectives.

This is not a technically accurate way of looking at stories, as there are always many factors involved and there is rarely one absolutely true version, nor does anything come down to two opposing viewpoints.

This is just a reminder that people argue their side/opinion of something, and that reality is distinct from that opinion, and includes factors and perspectives which they might not like.

Perspectives are principled ways of making sense of the environment that are subjective in their very nature, but not private.

Are there really three sides to every story?

When we talk about an interpersonal dispute between two people, we commonly say there are two sides to every story – the other person’s version of events and issues and our own. However, many say there are three sides.

I personally do not think that referring to the third side as the “truth” is altogether accurate.

For me, referring to there being a true side implies right and wrong of the other perspectives, and it seems that’s not altogether the optimal approach.

That is, when we are in conflict, it is usual that we each believe our perceptions are truths. We believe in what we say and experience.

We might at some level of consciousness realise when and how our emotions interfere and drive our interpretation of the other person and their intent out of proportion.

Or, we may be aware our truth contains assumptions and views that are not based on fact. Or, we know we are exaggerating – even fabricating – to serve ourselves.

Conflict Mastery Questions

You could be reading this article and going through some nature of conflict in your own life, or perhaps someone close to you.

I would like to invite you to answer the following questions – to consider three sides of the story:

What is the situation? What is your side of the story?

How might the other person describe their side of the story?

What is true for you about the situation that the other person doesn’t know or seem to acknowledge?

What don’t you know or understand about the other person’s version of their truth?

What is the truth about your contribution that you have some reluctance to share?

How might a third person observing the dispute describe what happened?

With what might that third person disagree that you said?

What is most challenging about facing the truths in this conflict?

What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?

What insights do you have?

I believe that it is important to consider embracing a multidimensional perspective in conflict resolution. This helps us to gain a clearer picture, see the details, capture a moment or to shift points of view, when needed.

Cynthia Chirinda is an Organisational and Personal Development Consultant, a Life Coach, Author, and Strategist. Her published books speak to matters that position individuals and leaders to achieve their significant goals. Looking at improving your career, personal effectiveness, communication skills, relationships, focus, faith and happiness? Wholeness Incorporated Coaching offers you strategies you can implement today to review your progress and achieve your goals. E-mail: cynthia@cynthiac.net. LinkedIn: Cynthia Chirinda. Mobile: 263 717 013 206. Website:www.cynthiac.net.

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Life Coaching

The Incentives, Inspiration and Benefits of Joining Connections2Communities (C2C)

Yvonne Mwamba

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Yvonne Mohlabi, 20/12/2020

I was inspired to join Connections2Communities (C2C) through acquired knowledge that was shared by Mr. Mawere and I voluntarily joined after I acquired a lot of connection to communities.

C2C is paid up member-driven initiative which seeks to raise awareness on the urgency and need for people to be active citizens on any aspect of human life through working together than individually in building community power towards solving problems that are faced from time to time.

I met Mr. Mawere in person at a Business Lunch at The Royal India Restaurant following an arrangement by a Business platform that I am affiliated to where he was introduced as a very powerful businessman.

I was inspired by a few shared knowledge posts that he posted on this business platform even though the group didn’t subscribe to that approach and so, I then followed his shared threads and started getting interested.

When I finally met him at Royal India, I didn’t  not  understand his way of communication that day especially considering the questions he asked which at that time never made any sense to me but answered a few that I could.

I was rushing to another meeting and I excused myself and left…

As usual, I went on the platform later that evening to scroll and catch up and all I found there was Mr. Mawere’s shared threads…I then wanted to understand what he was getting at and learnt how his thread awakened the sleeping animal in me.

I then picked up my phone and never gave Mr. Mawere a breathing space as at that stage it became my break through to finding myself and what more I can do to build my visibility in my career. I asked him a lot of questions and he put me back in the classroom of knowledge.

Because I don’t know my tomorrow I then discovered my direction to an unknown destination.

I asked him how I can join C2C and he explained the process, the next day I finally joined C2C since then it has been my bridge of knowledge and I reached a point where collaboration was it.

I have since done a lot of research day and night and am very confident that this initiative that am hoping to start will not only inspire to pave myself but many if we share a common value.

I will be opening up a WhatsApp group in which members will add their value and we will starting the JOURNEY to a direction with a shared VALUE.

This does not only accommodate persons in South African but around the globe. Each member will add their value and we can then proceed to the destination as agreed.

This I will do as a Member of C2C with connections that I acquired from C2C and with the help of Mr. Mawere’s shared knowledge.

I realized that a Marketing group does not guarantee that every member will benefit any income but it allows volunteers to choice whom they can collaborate with but with this initiative it will be a shared value to every member.

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Business

Entrepreneurship Lessons: START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE

Gilbert Kamusasa

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I speak to many aspiring entrepreneurs and they often say to me, “I have a big idea, once I get investment for my idea, I will leave my job and pursue it full time.”

The truth is that at stage you are very far from being an entrepreneur. You are even far from being an innovator because the decision to become an entrepreneur is not triggered by having an idea.

Its a choice one makes even without an idea. Entrepreneurship is a career path in itself. Its not something you can successfully do as a side hustle or a hobby.

When you decide to become an entrepreneur, don’t wait for the “right time”.

  1. Start with what you have, identify your strengths and build your strengths up to an extent that they overshadow your weaknesses.
  • Start alone and have clarity of vision and foresight.
  • Believe in your capabilities, before you even think of building a team to help you achieve your goals.
  • Be willing to get your hands dirty and doing the work.
  • Start small and build from there, begin to look into ideas that you have and evaluate them.
  • Choose a handful of ideas to test the market with. If you don’t have many, go with the one that you have. However a true entrepreneur will always have quite a number of them.
  • Pick the best idea and start transforming it into a business.

As your idea grows, it will attract the right people to itself and after that, you can then pick a team that complements your weaknesses to help you sustain the growth.

When you do it right, there comes a time when your business is ready for investment and when that time comes, tthere is a high chance that someone will buy into your idea.

Once you have successfully transformed your idea into a business, move to the next idea, until you are ready to retire.

There is also a 90% chance that your idea won’t flourish and so, if that happens, it’s also an opportunity to figure out if entrepreneurship is what you really want.

Most aspiring entrepreneurs give up at this stage but true entrepreneurs pick themselves up and move to the next idea until they get it right.

If done properly, entrepreneurship creates the best retirement package for you.

The processes explained above can take 6 months to 3 years per cycle when someone is doing it fulltime and even longer when someone is doing it as a side hustle.

Gilbert Kamusasa is the CEO and co-founder of Divcon Business Solutions (www.divconsolutions.com). Divcon is a technology-based consultancy company that focuses on providing a wide range of solutions to businesses and individuals.

Divcon: Phone: +263715592622 / +2637150071450 | email info@divconsolutions.com | Website: www.divconsolutions.com | Office: 72 George Silundika Avenue Harare | Social Media: @divconsolutions – FB and @BusinessDivcon – Twitter

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