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We constantly hear about our “new normal” and the many challenges that we will face during Covid pandemic and beyond. Like always conflict will be one of those challenges, so here are some thoughts about getting ahead of conflict as you create your future in a rapidly changing world.

Once we have decided we will in fact survive the pandemic, it will be natural to focus on the past and on what happened to us. Covid will provide endless opportunities to find fault and blame. When the past becomes our focus, we become trapped in conflict.

Many of the lawyers I know have already reported a surge in Covid related lawsuits. The courts remain closed and thousands of court applications are on hold, jamming up the system and delaying access to justice. I am concerned this surge will become a tidal wave that overwhelms our court system. Given the economic impact of the pandemic I question how many people will be able to afford the cost of litigation. Even if you win how many defendants will have the resources to compensate you? Litigation sucks up time, energy, and money.

Conflict exists in our stories of the past about what happened to us and what we made it mean.

Resolution occurs when we choose to shift our focus from our story of the past about fault and blame to the future and a plan for resolution. Did you know that most litigation settles before it reaches trial? Whether by negotiation, mediation, or another settlement process, those cases settle because the proposed plan for resolution becomes more compelling than the fault and blame story. It’s important to remember that “We are not our stories” (-Peter Comrie).

The past is just a story. Best to leave it in the past. Your life will work better. It all begins with a choice. You are not your story; it is behind you and unchangeable. Ask yourself what you really want your future to be about and choose that.

Your questions and comments are welcome and appreciated.

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David Gould (LLB, QC, C Med) has helped hundreds of lawyers and their clients – business and government organizations, and individuals – in conflict situations to co-create solutions for the future. For more information, contact: david@davidgouldmediation.com or visit www.davidgouldmediation.com

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