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6 Reasons to Be Thrilled About Spring

6 Reasons to Be Thrilled About Spring

Spring is here. Winter weather is dissipating, trees are slowly regaining foliage, and colorful flowers are beginning to bloom. It’s a refreshing and wonderful site. However, the weather is only one of the reasons why you should be thrilled about spring. Let’s check out a handful of the top reasons why spring is the greatest time of the year.

1. Eating Outside and People Watching

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    (Photo by Aitor Méndez)

    While some will adamantly deny it, the truth is that we all enjoy people watching. There’s just something incredibly entertaining about sitting back and observing how complete strangers interact with each other and handle various situations.

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    Unfortunately, people watching is often forced to take a backseat when the weather is cold. But, when the weather begins to warm, you can once again sit outside and watch people walk by. Top people watching destinations include street cafes, tourist attractions, park benches, and public transit. As a tip, wear sunglasses so you don’t look super creepy.

    2. Music Festivals

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      (Photo by Richard Turner)

      Springtime means the resurgence of outdoor music festivals and concerts. If you’re willing to travel a bit, you can attend a different festival each weekend from March through the end of the summer. In other words, there’s no excuse for saying, “There’s nothing going on this weekend.”

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      3. Baseball Season

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        (Photo by CameliaTWU)

        As spring comes, so does baseball season. Opening Day typically takes place at the very beginning of April and the weather is generally cool enough to enjoy a few innings of baseball without sweating through your shirt.

        Not crazy about baseball? Well, there are some other ways to get into the game. Try your hand at placing a wager on the game. Or, check out the craft beer lineups that many stadiums now offer. You may even be able to find some “all you can eat seats” at the next game. Never say no to baseball in the spring – there’s always something going on at the ballpark.

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        4. The Masters Tournament

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          (Photo by Torrey Wiley)

          Is there anything more “spring” than the annual Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia? It’s arguably the most beautiful sporting event of the entire year, with an immaculate course, bright azaleas, and some of the world’s greatest athletes. And one of the coolest things about the tournament is that a number of amateurs are invited each year. This adds a bit of a special feel to the event and gives even the most casual fan a reason to tune in.

          5. Fresh Food

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            (Photo by Scot Rumery)

            While there’s nothing wrong with a good oven-baked casserole, being restricted to the kitchen is a nightmare for those who enjoy delicious food. When spring rolls in, you can once again fire up your grill and enjoy steaks, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Now’s the perfect time to clean the grill and stock up on propane or charcoal.

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            6. Pool Season

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              (Photo by Josh)

              Finally, we can’t forget about swimming. When spring weather arrives, the cover comes off the pool and the kids can dive right in. Whether you have a pool in your backyard, are a member of the neighborhood pool, or know a friend with one, everyone enjoys lazy afternoons by the water. Just make sure you lather on the sunscreen. The first few weeks of warm weather can wreak havoc on your skin if you aren’t prepared.

              Rejoice for Spring

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                (Photo by Andrew Wilkinson)

                Spring means good food, weather, and entertainment. What more could you ask for? Nothing against summer or fall – or even winter for that matter – but spring has to be the greatest season of the year. The good news is that springtime is here and we no longer have to suffer through the dreary days of winter. Congratulations, you made it!

                Featured photo credit: Andrew Wilkinson via flic.kr

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                Anna Johansson

                Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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                Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

                The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

                In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

                Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

                Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

                Conflicts are literally everywhere.

                Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

                Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

                Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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                Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

                Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

                Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

                The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

                Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

                Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

                How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

                Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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                Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

                Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

                How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

                Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

                Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

                Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

                How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

                Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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                Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

                Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

                How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

                Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

                Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

                Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

                How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

                Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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                Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

                Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

                How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

                Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

                Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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