‘Conflict Resolution’ by Ayesha Shafiq

“Bringing a problem to resolution and closure through continued discussion and compromise is an honorable act as it shows respect for the needs of both partners.”   – Lynne Namka.

Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra columnist

Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra columnist

Conflict is a situation created in almost everyday life. Not all people are alike and not every situation in life is guided by one person’s values, motivations, perceptions, ideas or desires. There will always be two sides to every story and every situation.

When conflict triggers strong feelings, a deep personal need is often at the core of the problem. This need can be a need for security, identity, recognition, importance or merely a need to survive.

Hence, the needs of both parties play important roles in the long-term success of most relationships and each deserves respect and consideration.

If one can acquire the ability to examine the conflicting needs of both parties with compassion and understanding, it will lead to creative problem solving, team building and improved relationships.

When people are upset, the words they use rarely convey the issues and needs at the heart of the problem. When we listen to what is felt,

We connect more deeply to the needs of others and understand the emotions behind such needs.

Listening informs us of the true need behind any conflict and makes it easier for us to understand others and their needs and also ourselves and our needs.

However, one’s ability to read another person’s need depends on one’s own emotional awareness as well. The more you are aware of your own emotions; the more you can associate and connect with other people and their feelings.

Your ability to manage all your feelings properly is the basis of a communication process that can resolve conflicts.

Emotional awareness helps you to:

  • Understand yourself, which means, what is actually bothering you.
  • Understand what is troubling other people.
  • Communicate the needs of both parties effectively and clearly.
  • Attract and influence others towards a resolution.
  • Stay motivated till the end when the conflict could be resolved.

Conflict resolution means the ability to quickly reduce stress and bring your emotions and the emotions of others into balance by resolving a matter that threatens the needs of either party.

You can resolve a conflict quickly and efficiently if you stick to the steps mentioned below.

  1. Focus on the present situation: If you are holding grudges based on past experiences, it will impair your vision to see the current situation clearly. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.
  2. Listen to what is said and what is felt: Listening connects us more deeply to our needs and the needs of others. It makes it easier for others to listen to us when it is our turn to speak. In the middle of a conflict, pay close attention to the other person’s non-verbal signals. It will make you respond in a way that builds trust and get you to the root of the problem. A calm tone of voice, an interested or concerned facial expression can go a long way towards relaxing a stressful situation.
  3. Introducing humor into a stressful situation: You can resolve many arguments and disagreements if you introduce humor into your communication. Humor can let you say things that might otherwise be difficult to express without offending someone. In this way you can laugh with them and not at them.
  4. Do not focus on winning, focus on conflict resolution: The goal should be strengthening the relationship, rather than winning the argument. Be respectful of each other’s needs.
  5. Pick your battles wisely to win the war: Choose your battles wisely. Since battles are time consuming and draining. It will take your focus from resolving the WAR. Focus your energies towards the resolution of your goal, which is ending the war.
  6. Know when to let go: If you cannot come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument. You can choose to disengage and move on.

The key to resolving conflicts is to not feel threatened by them but to accept them as means of communication to understand each other’s needs. Rather than avoiding a conflict, one must be brave to face the conflict head on with the capacity to respond to the things that matter to each party and should have the readiness to compromise, forgive and forget without holding resentment.

This ability to recognize and respond to the things that matter to either party, without having angry, hurtful and resentful reactions strengthens a relationship bond and increases one’s understanding of another while building trust at the same time towards a long lasting relationship.

By Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra columnist  

Ayesha Shafiq is Director of Paris Cardiology Center, wife of Khalid Shafiq M.D. and mother of their 2 children. She’s been the director of Paris Cardiology Center for 11 years. She holds a Masters in International Relations and runs management with the help of 22 employees.

Apple granted patent for “iTime” smartwatch

With companies like Samsung and Google hopping aboard the “wearable” train, people have been wondering when Apple will get a ticket to ride, too.

itimeRumors of an Apple “iWatch” go as far back as February of last year when Bloomberg reported that Apple had a team of 100 designers working on a “wristwatch-like device” with the functionality of an iPhone and iPad.

Last Sunday, the fervor for the idea resurfaced with the approval of a smartwatch patent originally filed by Apple on July 20, 2011. The patent includes multiple details on the potential wrist-bound product, including SMS, media playback, and connectivity with the iPhone and Mac for messages and alerts. Possible hardware specifications include an accelerometer and gyroscope, which when attached to an arm open up a myriad of possibilities for unique gestures and input. One example noted is shaking your wrist to dismiss or accept a call. GPS and NFC functionality is also mentioned.

As with most device patents, some of the most exciting stuff comes from the various illustrations of potential product designs. While the name “iTime” doesn’t seem to appear anywhere in the text, one illustration shows the name on the watch’s display. One drawing shows the display as being detachable. Removing it from the wrist band yields a functioning iPod nano-like device, possibly hinting at some modular connectivity.

While a 3-year-old patent is not concrete proof of an actual product release, its evidence that Apple’s got part of their mind on wearables. Many hope the timing of the patent’s recent reveal is no coincidence and that Apple will be revealing their wearable product line somewhere in the near future. Apple traditionally has an event in September to show off new mobile hardware, but it remains to be seen if the “iTime” will be among the line-up of new iPhones and iPads.

By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra

Journalist’s experiment to prove that passwords are dying goes horribly wrong

twitter_breakWall Street Journal journalist Christopher Mims attempted to prove the dwindling importance of passwords by giving out his Twitter password to the public. The results were not what he expected.

Mims claimed that passwords as a form of authentication were becoming obsolete by heralding device-based authentication as a true means of keeping accounts secure. Device-based authentication uses a personal device, such as a smartphone, instead of a text-based password to access sensitive information. He argued that hackers can obtain a password, but a physical device can be disabled if lost and is further secured via PIN or biometric data, such as a fingerprint.

Mims also emphasized the power of two-factor authentication, which most online services offer, including Google, Yahoo, Steam and Facebook. Two-factor authentication requires you to prove your identity with both a password and another form of verification, which usually a randomly generated numerical code that is sent as a text message to your phone number for you to enter as verification on the website or service you’re trying to access. The idea is that only you yourself would have that phone number in your possession, and therefore only you could gain access to the code. Two-factor verification is certainly a valid and powerful tool in keeping your accounts safe, and Mims’ experiment proved it at the expense of some unfortunate consequences.

As soon as his password was posted to the public, Mim’s phone was constantly buzzing with verification requests at a frequency of 2 text messages per minute. Each text indicated someone other than him was trying to access his Twitter account. Eventually, Mims decided to switch from text-based verifications to app-based ones through Twitter’s official iPhone app. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), this exposed a glaring flaw in Twitter’s two-factor authentication process. When sending verification requests to the user’s phone, Twitter would reveal that user’s phone number to those attempting to access the account.

So while Mims’ Twitter account was never actually hacked, his phone number had been compromised. This opened him up to a number of attacks and pranks, as one can imagine.

Mims’ stunt attracted the criticism of other journalists, accusing him of writing a “click bait” article and simply vying for attention. New York Magazine tech writer Kevin Roose even mocked the experiment on Twitter, posting “Cool contest: mug @mims for his phone, and you get his twitter account too!”

Following the barrage of texts and phone calls Mims received as a result of his experiment gone awry, his overworked phone disconnected from service, and he was eventually forced to change his phone number altogether.

Two days after his initial article, Mims wrote a follow-up piece containing a modicum of regret. Mims still believes that passwords are no longer a viable form of protection, which is true to a point. He uses the rest of the piece to offer general security tips and focuses on the flaw in Twitter’s security system that exposed his phone number in the first place. The revelation of this weakness is probably the best thing to come out of this ordeal.

In the end, Mims Twitter account remained uncompromised, proving the security of two-factor authentication. This embarrassing experiment, however, shows that you can’t just rely on a single element to keep your data safe. You have to be more knowledgeable, use a password manager, never use the same password on multiple accounts, be careful of who you share your data with, and always be on your guard. And, please, never challenge a hacker, no matter how secure your data may seem. If they’re determined, they’ll find a way in.

By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra

Weekend Events for the Family

ExtraNewLogo640This weekend there are many family activities to choose from here in Paris.

For those who enjoy monster trucks, there is a Monster Truck Rally at the Paris Rodeo Arena. The gates open at 6pm and the show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for children.

Those looking for a bit of culture can attend “The White Liars/Black Comedy” at the Paris Community Theatre. The 2014-15 season opener is actually two plays both equally hilarious and entertaining. Performances are Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19th at 7:30pm and a Sunday matinee at 2:30pm. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the box office or online at pctonstage.com.

The 30th Annual “Tour de Paris” bicycle rally is on Saturday morning beginning at 8am at the Love Civic Center. Even if you are not a rider, it is fun to go downtown and line the square to wave and cheer the riders on!

Also downtown on Saturday is the Toys for Tots Christmas in July Toy Drive from 11am-5pm. Join several of the Downtown stores as they support gather toys. Boxes will be located in Paris Baby and Itsy Bitsy Spider. Look for the flags and Christmas wreaths.


PRMC microbiology supervisor says farewell after 45 years

DanaHoog01Friday was Dana Hoog’s last day as supervisor of the microbiology lab at Paris Regional Medical Center after 45 years on the job.

“One day, I decided it was time,” she said. “I’m ready to do something else. I like to work in the yard, and I’ve got other projects I’d like to do.”

One of the first things she plans to do is take part in a family trip to Hawaii with her son and daughter-in-law. The idea of leaving work has not really impacted her just yet, but she said once she gets back and settles down, it might start feeling weird not having to punch a clock.

“I’ve always kept my interest. I live and breathe it. It’s kind of a part of me,” she said. “It’s probably going to be like, ‘What happened here?’”

Hoog is certified as a medical technologist and a specialist in microbiology with the American Society for Clinical Pathology. She started as a generalist, working in the blood bank, chemistry, microbiology and other areas of the lab. She “morphed into” microbiology in the 1980s, largely because no one else wanted to do it.

“I enjoy the work. It’s very challenging,” she said. “Microbiology is the growing of organisms to see what’s causing infection.”

Given that her job is basically looking for what makes people sick and helping to determine the best treatment, there is little surprise Hoog has seen a lot of odd things over the years. She said one of the strangest was looking for parasites in a child’s stool sample. What she found puzzled her, and she wasn’t sure her prognosis was correct until she consulted an expert – in this case, a veterinarian. The child had a dog tapeworm.

“The child had been eating the dog food, and the dog had fleas,” she said. “We’ve seen worms in diapers that were still alive. You want to talk about freaky, that was freaky.”

DanaHoog03Hoog has been interested in medicine since she was a freshman in high school, but she knew she didn’t want to be a doctor because of the years of training and long hours. The decision cemented when she had an opportunity to attend a couple of presentations on career day of her junior year in high school. She picked flight attendant and medical technologist. The medical presentation left her with little doubt where her career would take her.

After attending Paris Junior College and University of Texas, she spent 13 months training on rotation at Baylor in Dallas before graduating with a degree in medical technology. While “medical technology” is a more general term now, then it meant specifically lab equipment.

Hoog started her medical career in February 1969 at McCuistion Regional Medical Center. Her family was here, but she did not intend to remain in Paris for more than a couple of years. But she wound up getting married, raising a family and settling here. Unless they moved or she commuted a great distance, the hospital was the only place for her to work. The camaraderie and support of her co-workers has meant a great deal over the years.

“I loved where I worked, and the people I worked with,” she said. “There are about six other people who have been here 30 and 35 years I have worked with all that time. So that was a big part of it.”

The biggest change in that time is the reliance on computers and automated procedures, she said.

“In the distant past – I hate to put it that way, but it’s true – we did the testing in actual test tubes,” she said. “Now the machines run most of it.”

The transition came slowly. The first laboratory computers did not work well and “bombed horribly,” but technology advanced. Hoog said she has never had a problem adapting with it.

DanaHoog02“It is a little scary when you’re so manual,” she said. “It always worked out. We have embraced it.”

These days, most lab work is is more or less completely automated, although Hoog said microbiology still requires some manual input and decision making.

“You have to look at it and say, ‘This is a respiratory specimen. Is this ordinary bacteria or something else?’” she said.

The next big thing will likely be molecular testing to look at the DNA and RNA of infectious organisms. It’s already being done in some areas, Hoog said, and it speeds up the microbiology lab work a great deal. Which is important, as the trend in medicine is to not keep anyone in the hospital any longer than necessary. The more traditional method, as is done here, is to take a sample and grow cultures, which can take a couple of days.

“You can do a glucose test in about 10 minutes, but if you’re going to grow a culture and see if a person is infected, that’s going to take 36 to 48 hours,” she said. “We’re still a little on the slow side.”