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  • Translator: Hui chu Chen Reviewer: Queenie Lee

  • I'd like to introduce you to these five chairs

  • because they are actually the real protagonists of my talk.

  • what behaviors and attitudes we bring into the world in every moment.

  • and the message is about

  • They have a special message to give to all of us,

  • Now, to show you what I mean,

  • I have a story to tell you from my personal life.

  • And I was trying to build a stronger relationship

  • with a very important person,

  • the daughter of my partner, 20-year-old daughter.

  • To do that, I thought,

  • "Let's have a great evening out, just the two girls together."

  • And I chose a special venue,

  • the Blue Note Jazz Club in Milan.

  • That night, the Manhattan Transfer, which is my favorite jazz group,

  • were playing.

  • So, we meet, atmosphere is fantastic.

  • We are getting on very well,

  • and I'm happy.

  • Being a baby boomer, loving the music,

  • I thought, "Well, is she liking it as much as I am?"

  • So in that moment, I just turned to look at her to check.

  • And what did I see? I saw this.

  • She was on her iPhone.

  • Now, how to react?

  • I had some choices.

  • First choice.

  • Excuse me. What is she doing?

  • She's on her iPhone.

  • I mean, I spent all this time and money

  • thinking of a fantastic evening, I bring her here, and what?

  • After two minutes I take my eyes off her,

  • and she's on her phone?

  • I mean, what is wrong with this generation?

  • I mean, they got the attention span of a fruit fly,

  • for God's sake.

  • (Sighing)

  • Choice number two.

  • This was a mistake.

  • (Laughter)

  • Why did I bring her here?

  • I mean, she's bored; she's not interested; she doesn't like the music.

  • What was I thinking? I mean: Why should she like the music?

  • I mean, this is stuff for baby boomers.

  • She probably thinks she's spending the evening with a dinosaur.

  • Oh, God!

  • Choice number three.

  • Hold your horses.

  • Count to ten. Take a deep breath.

  • Don't jump to conclusions.

  • You don't know what she is doing on her iPhone.

  • So just relax.Take it easy.

  • Have another drink.

  • (Laughter)

  • Choice number four.

  • Now, you know, what's really important for me

  • is that this evening together is special,

  • that she feels that after this evening, she can really open up to me;

  • she can feel safe with me, and that -

  • I'm always an open door for her, that's what's really important for me.

  • I just hope it's going to happen -

  • I just hope.

  • Choice number five.

  • What's important for her?

  • What's going on in her world right now?

  • What's important for her?

  • I really would love to connect to her.

  • What do I need to do that?

  • (Sighing)

  • You know, I was having real problems trying to answer that question.

  • And in that moment, she turned to me and she said,

  • "Louise, did you know that this is the only Blue Note

  • in the whole of Europe?

  • And there's one in New York, and then there's two in Japan,

  • but this is the only one here in Milan.

  • That's incredible; the Italians have got it."

  • And she said, "Oh, and I've looked up the Manhattan Transfer.

  • Do you know that they've been playing and singing together for 40 years?

  • That's incredible!"

  • And she said, "Also, look."

  • She handed me her iPhone; she'd sent a message out on Facebook;

  • it said, "In the Blue Note in Milan,

  • with the Manhattan transfer and Louise, the best!"

  • Now, that was a close shave.

  • I mean, I could've really spoiled that.

  • Because I could have sent her a disapproving look from this chair.

  • And she could've started telling herself about me, things about me,

  • like, Louise, she's controlling.

  • She's difficult.

  • It's not easy to be around her.

  • And that was not my intention at all.

  • And in fact, she was completely engaged.

  • She was there,

  • multitasking in her digital way, but she was enhancing our reality.

  • So, in milliseconds,

  • I could have destroyed that beautiful moment that we were creating together.

  • And this is what we are doing all the time,

  • we are making choices about the behaviors that we bring into the world.

  • And the choices that we make have a direct impact

  • on the conversations that we have,

  • the relationships that we form,

  • and the quality of our lives in general.

  • So, what can we do at a practical level

  • to help us be more conscious about this?

  • Because they don't train us this in school.

  • It's not on the school curriculum - how to behave well, really.

  • So, what can we do?

  • The idea of the five chairs came to me

  • when I went and attended a nine-day course in nonviolent communication

  • with its late founder, Marshall Rosenberg, an extraordinary man,

  • who did so much for world peace.

  • And after that, it sort of changed my life.

  • After that, I decided that it was a message

  • that I needed to get into our workplaces.

  • Workplaces where I spend most of my time

  • being a coach, a facilitator, and the trainer.

  • And also, where we produce some of our most questionable behaviors,

  • sometimes toxic behaviors.

  • So, the idea of the five chairs is to help us slow down

  • how we are behaving in every moment of our lives

  • and to analyze what's going on.

  • So, what I would like to do

  • is look at the chairs more closely and explain them.

  • The red chair.

  • This is the jackal chair.

  • I mean, jackals are incredibly clever, incredibly opportunistic animals.

  • They always on the lookout to attack.

  • And in fact, this chair here is the chair where we misbehave the most.

  • In this chair we love to blame, to complain, to punish, to gossip;

  • but our supreme game in this chair is to judge.

  • And if you don't believe me, I invite you to go on a mental diet;

  • I invite you to spend one hour with some human beings

  • and see if you can do it without one single judgment

  • going through your mind.

  • I mean, watch ourselves.

  • Somebody walks in the door, we go: bzzzzzzzzz,

  • I like, don't like, not really interested.

  • And we don't know anything about them at all.

  • So, this chair here

  • is a judging chair.

  • There's actually another game that I love in this chair,

  • it's the "I'm right" game.

  • And I used to do that all time, all the time

  • until my brother gave me some feedback.

  • I used to do it with my mother because my mother likes to exaggerate.

  • So she would say something like,

  • "Oh yes, there were 30 people at the family gathering."

  • And my job was to correct her.

  • I'm saying, "No, Mom, they weren't 30, they were 13."

  • So, I was the policewoman of the situation.

  • My brother touched me on the arm,

  • and he said, "It doesn't matter," to which I reacted,

  • "What do you mean it doesn't matter? Of course, it matters. She's wrong.

  • And she needs to be corrected for her own good."

  • He touched me on the arm again, and he said,

  • "Do you want to be in a relationship with your mother,

  • or do you want to be right?"

  • Big lesson.

  • From then on,

  • I always looked upon my mother's exaggeration as a form of abundance.

  • So, here in this chair, what we tend to do

  • is we tend to see what is wrong with other people

  • rather than what is right.

  • Mother Teresa reminds us,

  • "The more we judge people, the less time we have to love them."

  • The next chair is the hedgehog chair,

  • the yellow chair.

  • Now, the hedgehog -

  • When we behave like hedgehogs, we feel very vulnerable,

  • and we curl up, we protect ourselves against what we feel is an evil world.

  • And what we do is we mercilessly judge ourselves in this chair.

  • So we turn this chair, the red chair, on ourselves.

  • And we say things like, "I'm not intelligent enough.

  • I cannot do this. Nobody believes in me."

  • And we have certain fears,

  • we have fears of being rejected, fears of disappointing, fears of failing.

  • And we also play the victim.

  • So it's, "Nobody cares for me, nobody loves me."

  • But in fact,

  • when I use this in companies, and I ask managers, and I say,

  • "Where do you spend the most of your time?"

  • Hardly anybody comes and sits here.

  • Because it's quite difficult to admit our weaknesses sometimes.

  • We need a lot of courage.

  • And yet, we all suffer from self-doubt.

  • But it's really, what do we do without self-doubt?

  • Do we give up and give in?

  • Or do we say no?

  • I want to find the resources and grow.

  • And Krishnamurti says something wonderful,

  • he says, "The highest form of intelligence

  • is the ability to observe ourselves without judging."

  • So, next chair.

  • This is the meerkat chair.

  • I don't know if you've ever seen a meerkat.

  • They are not many in Italy, but they are incredible.

  • When they are on sentinel duty,

  • they can stay for one hour just like this:

  • one hour moving their head and only their head.

  • Incredibly vigilant.

  • And when we are in this chair, this is what we do.

  • We're mindful; we're very aware;

  • we are observant; we stop; we pause.

  • We take a deep breath, and we're conscious.

  • This is the WAIT chair. W-A-I-T.

  • What am I thinking? What am I telling myself?

  • So here we become very curious.

  • If somebody is angry, instead of saying, "For God sake: grow up, will you?"

  • We think, "I wonder why that person is angry?"

  • And we feel interested.

  • So this chair here is ...

  • When I think of Nietzsche,

  • this is such an important quote for this chair.

  • He says, "You have your way; I have my way.

  • As for the right way and the only way, it does not exist."

  • So here we have a choice.

  • The red pill or the blue pill?

  • It's the sliding door chair.

  • And in this moment when we make the right choice,

  • we move into this successful living.

  • Next chair.

  • Here we go into the world of detect.

  • Now, why detect?

  • Detect because we become detective of ourselves,

  • like Sherlock Holmes of ourselves.

  • We take a magnifying glass, and we look at our behaviors.

  • It's a beautiful chair because we become self-aware.

  • We know who we are. We know what we want.

  • We know where we're going. We're not afraid to speak our truth.

  • But we also create our boundaries.

  • We look after ourselves in this chair.

  • But we're very very powerful.

  • We don't give our power away.

  • Here we give our power away.

  • So here we grow, we become free.

  • We come into our full power.

  • We become assertive, but not aggressive.

  • Aristotle said, "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom."

  • We can be here for our whole lives.

  • Why the dolphin?

  • The dolphin because it's such a wonderful animal.

  • It's playful; it's intelligent; it communicates beautifully.

  • When I think of the dolphin,

  • I think of us at our very best as human beings.

  • So, next chair.

  • This is the giraffe chair.

  • Very beautiful chair,