Gerry Spence Quotes

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I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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Skepticism, not cleanliness, is next to godliness. Skepticism is the father of freedom. It is like the pry that holds open the door for truth to slip in.
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Gerry Spence (Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom: An Owner's Manual for Life)
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Children, as persons, are entitled to the greatest respect. Children are given to us as free-flying souls, but then we clip their wings like we domesticate the wild mallard. Children should become the role-models for us, their parents, for they are coated with the spirit from which they came- out of the ether, clean, innocent, brimming with the delight of life, aware of the beauty of the simplest thing; a snail, a bud....
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Gerry Spence (Give Me Liberty: Freeing Ourselves in the Twenty-First Century)
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Love is how we feel toward those who show us that which is lovable about ourselves.
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Gerry Spence (The Making of a Country Lawyer: An Autobiography)
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The true test of liberty is the right to test it, the right to question it, the right to speak to my neighbors, to grab them by the shoulders and look into their eyes and ask, β€œAre we free?” I have thought that if we are free, the answer cannot hurt us. And if we are not free, must we not hear the answer?
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Gerry Spence (Give Me Liberty: Freeing Ourselves in the Twenty-First Century)
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The old saw that "sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never harm me" does not, in fact, hold true.
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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There are innumerable ways to murder a person, but the most subtle and pernicious of these is to mutilate the soul of the innocent by denying or downgrading their uniqueness and their beauty.
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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The way people move
is their autobiography in motion.
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Gerry Spence
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Fear is like a pack of dogs – it chases us, and if we try to run or hide from it the dogs will continue our chase until finally, exhausted, we fall and are devoured.
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Gerry Spence
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The most formidable chains are forged from beliefs. Ah, beliefs! Beliefs tear out the eyes and leave us blind and groping in the dark. If I believe in one proposition, I have become locked behind the door of that belief, and all other doors to learning and freedom, although standing open and waiting for me to enter, are now closed to me. If I believe in one God, one religion, yes, if I believe in God at all, if I have closed my mind to magic, to spirit, to salvation, to the unknown dimension that exist in the firmament, I have plunged my mind into slavery. Test all beliefs. Distrust all beliefs.
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Gerry Spence (Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom: An Owner's Manual for Life)
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We have been assembled and fabricated into well-behaved students, predictable consumers, and obedient citizens. Most of what is feral has been domesticated. We suffocate in an amorphous glob of sameness. We have learned it is better to conform than to be.
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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The operational word in every competent defense is attack. If you’re explaining and defending, you’re losing.
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Gerry Spence (Police State: How America's Cops Get Away with Murder)
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To excel in the art of domestic argument, one must master the art of losing.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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Prefiero que mi mente se abra movida por la curiosidad a que se cierre movida por la convicciΓ³n. GERRY SPENCE
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Mario Alonso Puig (Β‘TΓ³mate un respiro! Mindfulness: El arte de mantener la calma en medio de la tempestad)
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If logic and reason, the hard, cold products of the mind, can be relied upon to deliver justice or produce the truth, how is it that these brain-heavy judges rarely agree? Five-to-four decisions are the rule, not the exception. Nearly half of the court must be unjust and wrong nearly half of the time. Each decision, whether the majority or minority, exudes logic and reason like the obfuscating ink from a jellyfish, and in language as opaque. The minority could have as easily become the decision of the court. At once we realize that logic, no matter how pretty and neat, that reason, no matter how seemingly profound and deep, does not necessarily produce truth, much less justice. Logic and reason often become but tools used by those in power to deliver their load of injustice to the people. And ultimate truth, if, indeed, it exists, is rarely recognizable in the endless rows of long words that crowd page after page of most judicial regurgitations.
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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The chief reason [Bill] O'Reilly is a conservative is that like all conservatives he offers no solutions for the major issues confronting those he pretends to champion--such as better wages, workable health insurance, education for every deserving child, controls on the corporate thugs that are destroying our earth, an unfettered national voice for the ordinary citizen, reform of the election laws of this country that permitted corporations to own the country and enslave the people.
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Gerry Spence
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We can be forgiven for a wrongdoing we have committed.We cannot be forgiven for a wrongdoing we have committed and tried to cover up.
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Spence Gerry
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I know love is worth the time it takes to find. Think of that when all the world seems made of walk up rooms and hands in empty pockets
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Gerry Spence (Of Murder and Madness: A True Story)
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But they argued out of strength, not weakness, out of conviction, not insecurity. They argued toward the fulfillment of a purpose and in service to mankind.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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Every living thing feels because feeling is a dimension of the universe. I daresay rocks feel in the way of rocks. I daresay the stars feel in the way of stars. If we can feel stars, feel their beauty, feel their majesty, how could we so arrogantly insist that a star, one that has existed in the universe for billions of years, one that came into being at the time of the "big bang," cannot also feel? Any astrophysicist will tell us stars have lives of their own. How can we of such piddling knowledge, of such puny understanding, of such fleeting existence, how can we who live but who cannot fully explain the life of the simplest of cellsβ€”how can such as we proclaim that the universe is bereft of all feeling except our own? Can we not leave room for the possibility that the universe itself is composed of endless feeling?
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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Words that do not create images should be discarded. Words that have no intrinsic emotional or visual content ought to be avoided. Words that are directed to the sterile intellectual head-place should be abandoned. Use simple words, words that create pictures and action and that generate feeling.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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The German philosopher Hans Vaihinger, in his important but, in America, little-known book, The Philosophy of 'As If,' proposed that in addition to inductive and deductive thought, there exists an original thought form he calls "fictional thinking." Myth, religious allegory, metaphor, aphorisms, indeed, the world of legal fictions and analogy are examples of fictions we use every day in thinking. An ordinary road map is actually fiction, for nothing like the map exists. Yet we can move accurately, assuredly in the real world as a result of our reliance on the fictional representation of the map. An argument that depends upon "fictional thinking," as Vaihinger called it, is the most powerful of all argumentsβ€”the parables of Christ, the stories of tribal chieftains, the fairy tales and fables that are the very undergarments of our society. Jorge Luis Borges, who won the Nobel Prize for literature, Gabriel GarcΓ­a MΓ‘rquez, and Joseph Campbell have all made the same argument, that "fictional thinking" is the original form of human thought, that it harkens to our genes.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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As Gerry Spence brilliantly summarized, β€œIt is better to have a mind opened by wonder, than a mind closed by belief.
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Timber Hawkeye (Faithfully Religionless)
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But the day I finally realized I did not need to control Imaging, that, indeed, I ought not control her, that, in fact, I could not control her, and that if I could I would destroy the marriage, was the day our marriage began. If one can control the Other, one maintains a relationship only with one's self, a sort of masturbatory state that takes the place of the marriage. The Other becomes one's puppet, and puppeteers maintain relationships with only themselves. What a strange dynamic! When one is in control of the marriage, alas, there is no marriage.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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Parents must rear their children toward that one day when the child begins to seek his or her freedom, when the insect, whether an ugly moth or a beautiful butterfly, seeks to abandon the cocoon. During the years between infancy and adolescence, the winning argument will have already been made. The winning argument will have been love; the losing argument, discipline. The winning argument will have been respect; the losing argument, manipulation. The winning argument will have been honesty; the losing argument, hypocrisy. The winning argument will have been freedom; the losing argument, control. If the child has been afforded winning arguments during the child's lifetime, there is little against which the adolescent can revolt. The child will spring forth into the world with joy, not hate; with respect and love, not fury and violence. To give to the world a child who is capable of joyously blooming is the gift of the successful parent.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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Power is lonely. Power segregates. God must be the most lonely entity in the universe. No person is more lonely than a judge. No person needs a friend more. The boss was once a worker with many friends. Now he exists apart from them. He is lonely. Some of his old friends hate him. Others fear him. The parent is always separated from the child. Parents and children can be friendly. They can love each other. But rarely can they be friends, for they are never peers, which is the foundation of all friendships. Power, real or imagined, physical or psychological, isolates.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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Power is like a pistol with barrels that point in both directions. When one with power pulls the trigger against someone with lesser power, one barrel fires in the direction of the intended victim while the other fires into the person who has pulled the trigger. As a weapon, power has little to offer. It germinates resentment and reaps hatred. It fosters the deep and abiding need for revenge. Power exercised without love releases an adverse Karma that returns to defeat usβ€”where or when we never know. But it will return with all its destructive force, with all its gathered vengeance. Revenge is the bastard child of justice.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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It is clear that we require power. But the power we need is our own. The power exhibited in the winning argument may not be overtly powerful at all, for power may be experienced as gentleness, as compassion, as love, as humility, as sensitivity. We have come to understand that even sounds we thought powerfulβ€”the harsh voice of authority, the demanding dictates of the bullyβ€”are not sounds of power but the wretched noise of the insecure. We have come to understand that the application of excessive power often conceals cowardice or grave personality defects, that power is often useless to achieve what we wantβ€”to gain love or respect or success. And we have learned that power is deceptive, that at times there is no one more powerful than the powerless. So it has been throughout history. The Rockys have always been more powerful than the Apollo Creeds. The meek, unsullied by power, shall indeed inherit the earth.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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Power can be safely exercised only in the service of that which is ostensibly good. Power is like gasoline. Spread aimlessly over the landscape, it can result in an inferno, causing untold harm. Correctly contained, it can cook supper or transport us to Boston.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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The goal of many educators, albeit unconfessed, is to condition our young, who are perfectly alive with perfect feelings, to become separated from their feelings, to repress them, to deaden them. The scheme of too many parents and too many teachers is to teach these perfect little living creatures the attitudes of the dead and to instill in them the virtue of death, which is, of course, to be perfectly still, as if in the graveyard, perfectly silent, as if in the tomb, for the dead exhibit the most exemplary behavior. The dead never speak up or cause trouble. I say too many teachers and too many parents love the dead more than the living. But death comes soon enough. Death ought not be imposed upon our young before their time.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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Arguing to hear one's own wonderful voice: I know people who use argument merely to hear their own voices. They are noisemakers. These people seem perfectly secure, but they are enchanted with their words, enthralled with their own wisdom, and they are, to be sure, as boring as popcorn without salt. They have, during the course of their lives, made so much noise and filled the air with so much authoritative banality that they have had no time to form an original thought, nor have they given themselves the opportunity to hear and learn anything from listening to anyone else.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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Every triumph is preceded by fear. Fear always initiates the act of breaking free. And why? What is the biological advantage of a trapped psyche? Breaking out, walking freely through the forest, leaving old trails for new ones always entails a certain quantum of risk. Might we not come face to face with the lurking enemy? Might we fail to measure up? Might we not be injured or killed? But both the forest and the enemy are within. Life entails risk. If it were otherwise, one could not bear to live it, for the risks of boredom, of being trapped within the selfβ€”the chick dying in the eggβ€”of dying without having lived, are risks far greater than any that lurk in the forest.
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Gerry Spence (HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME)
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That is why, in the course of human history, truth-telling has been designated as the highest of virtues in every culture, and why the credibility that results therefrom is always so powerful.
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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I know of no Liars Anonymous organizations.
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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Yet I made the purchase, captivated by the ring of truth, by the simple winning argument of the old man who told us plainly what he wanted.
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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Ten elements that make up the great power argument. 1. Prepare, Prepare until we have become the argument. 2. Open the Other to receive your argument. 3. Give the argument in the form of a story. 4. Tell the truth. 5. Tell the other what you want. 6. Avoid sarcasm, scorn, and ridicule. Use humor cautiously. 7. Logic is power. 8. Action and winning are [siblings.] 9. Admit at the outset the weakest point in your argument. 10. Understand your power. Give yourself permissionβ€”only to win. Take the winning stance. Turn on the Magical Argument. Open up and let the magic out. Trust it. Take the risk. Jump. 202+
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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Use simple words, words that _create pictures_ and _action_ and that _generate feeling._ 104
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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To argue in the face of our fear brings on the _magical β€œyes,”_ the simple affirmation of our being _Argument_ springs out of our authority. It escapes from us as our thought and feeling, as our sounds, our music, our rhythms. When we give ourselves _permission_, the argument bursts from our lungs, out of our throats, out of words formed and caressed by our lips, out of words born of our hearts. When we give ourselves _permission_, we rediscover our will to winβ€”may I say it?β€”we become born-again gladiators. 15
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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The inability to yield control is often misinterpreted as inability or weakness. Giving up control is often confused with giving up. 223
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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Giving up control is often confused with giving up. 223
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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Maturity and death are cousins. 193
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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How strange, I thought, that we are able to argue so well against ourselves but so ineffectively _for_ ourselves. 172
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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Crawling into the skin of the other (empathy). β€˜It must be hard to …’ 176
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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_It must have been_ are magical words that say to the _Other_, β€˜I understand how it was.’ 68
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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The argument must begin from a position that generates acceptance or approval. 208
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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Who can we cast into the role of the villain? _Circumstance_ is the villain, is it not? 208
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)
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[b]How to Jump[/b]: Once again we stand before our audience. The _Others_ wait for us to speak. Still we ask, how can we jump free? How can we speak. I say, turn inward. Feel the fear. Again, touch where it residesβ€”yes, just above the solar plexus, that one glowing spot in painful spasm. Feel it. for there we can begin with something we know is _real_. And now can we jump? Sometimes when I begin a speech, I look each member of the audience in the eyes. In a large group it sometimes takes a half minute or more. The silence grows uncomfortable. the people stare back. I hear the nervous coughs. But something has happened between us. Without words, I have shared with them the same feelings I suffer. I have felt fear, and then turn, have felt its discomfort in the pressing silence in the room. Finally I begin, β€œIt’ is all right for us to feel uncomfortable as we launch our relationship. We do not know each other. We have no experience upon which to trust each other. Why shouldn’t we feel uncomfortable. I wondered as I looked at you what you expect of me. What do you think of me? And as I look at you, you too, must have wondered what I am thinking of you.” I have jumped. β€œWe are going to have a valuable time together.” I have broken free. 185-186
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Gerry Spence (How to Argue and Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Every Day)