Recently, I spent time with a group of people composed of radically different perspectives than my own.   I was able to be more curious than appalled at the intense viewpoints that directly oppose my values and beliefs.

How was I able to do this? Agatsu.

One of my dear aikido teachers, Higashida Sensei, gave me this calligraphy;  it means Agatsu or ‘win myself’.  I have it hanging in my kitchen and reflect about it daily.

For me, ‘winning myself’ includes staying in the calm eye of the storm regardless of external circumstance. Arguing against or ridiculing the group for what I view as out of touch is ‘losing myself’ or getting into the chaotic bands of the storm.

Just as resistance is futile, in most circumstances argument is futile.

When someone clearly holds a position –
directly opposing it makes him hold his position stronger.

It doesn’t matter what your particular point of view is. Influencing someone to see a different point of view doesn’t happen by ‘telling’ or ‘yelling’. It happens by asking good questions and acknowledging from center.

If you desire to engage for positive outcomes, think Spiral to make an Impact.


  • How centered are you?   Are you in the eye of the storm or in the chaotic bands? How are you practicing centering on a daily basis?
  • Before you verbalize anything, think through your intent.  Is your intent to get someone to change his/her position, to be right?  Intending to be right creates more opposition. Truly intending to understand and respect another’s position creates connection. 
  • Do you know all there is to know on the subject?  Maybe learning something about the opposition would give you new understanding?

You must Win Yourself before you can influence others!

What tips will you add?



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