Talking to Crazy

How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life

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By Karl Lawrence on Saturday, December 26, 2015
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In this week’s episode of Your Best Life, Karl interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, who is a psychiatrist, hostage negotiator, trainer, and one of the top experts on listening. Mark has been a crisis psychiatrist for 30 years, has been a UCLA professor of Psychiatry for 25 years. and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. During this episode, Karl and Dr. Goulston discuss ideology and communication, mental real estate, hacking Steve Jobs, losing warmth, and breaking the cycle.


Main Questions Asked:

  • How do we get people to have a civil discourse and set aside talking points?
  • What drove the change in our culture, and what is missing in parts of society?
  • How do we to break the cycle?


Key Lessons Learned:

Ideology and Communication

  • Healing the world one conversation at a time is about how to facilitate people talking with each other and listening.
  • As the flow of communication has gotten easier, the net impact has been the ability for people to cluster around their ideology.
  • The world has turned transactional, and the challenge when dealing with an ideology is that you can’t beat it or solve it with a transactional solution.
  • There needs to be a transcendent solution that rises above it, because ideology rises above transaction to belief and fanaticism.

The Current State of Society

  • We have become addicted to getting more sooner, and most people know it won’t make you happy or bring you joy but rather bring transitory excitement.
  • Settling for less later feels like it will make us miserable.
  • If there is a way to identify people who might be feeling injustice and humiliated, and recognize the signs, we may overt events such as school shootings.

Mental Real Estate

  • The key to being successful at marketing is by asking, “What is the least you can say that can cause people to ask ‘What is that?’“
  • Mental real estate is finding something with an emotional charge, repurposing it, and own it.
  • For example, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ owns the word ‘pirates’ in the minds of children.

Losing your Warmth

  • A lot of women have traded in warmth to be project managers of the home.
  • The kindness of a man is a distant second to the warmth of a woman.
  • Warmth isn’t rushed. When someone is in pain or fear, they firstly want warmth, then when calmed, seek a solution.
  • Dr. Goulston believes tenderness is about to be extinct and reserved for the aging, young children, and dying animals.

Breaking the Cycle

  • When someone vents, they need to get the issues off their chest and for you to take the hit so they don’t strike out at someone else.
  • Move into the person’s flow of energy and redirect it using the FUDN technique
  • Let the person vent and literally lean in to them when they pause.
  • Keep looking them in the eye and say, “You really sound frustrated about something; what is that about?”
  • Conversation deepeners help them get the words out.
  • Ask them, “Now what?”

The FUDN Technique

  • Frustrated
  • Upset
  • Disappointed
  • Now What?

Health and Wellness Tips

  • A lot of people who don’t like to diet and exercise often fall off the wagon after having a close encounter of the worst kind.
  • Make a list of all the people that give you energy and inspire you on the left side of a sheet of paper.
  • On the right side, list the people and situations that drain and exhaust you.
  • In the next 30 days, make a commitment to increase the interactions with the people on the left side that give you energy and minimize the interactions with people on the right side.
  • This will make it easier to stick with a diet and exercise, and to cut your losses with negative people.
  • The more time you spend with the positive people in your life, the more physiologically repulsive the negative people will be.
  • One of the tragedies in life is to have difficult people suck the life out of you so much that you fail to acknowledge, appreciate, and thank the good people.
  • Thinking of people who you can thank will make you less fearful and angry.


Thank you for listening!


If you enjoyed this podcast and would like us to produce more, please click here to subscribe and leave a review in iTunes!


Links to Resources Mentioned

Goulston Group
Just Listen (book)
Get Out of Your Own Way (book)
Talking to Crazy (book)
Never Eat Alone (book)


2 click to tweet links! (Thanks for helping spread the word!)

Tweet: How can you break the cycle with negative people? Find out w/ @MarkGoulston @wellnessgroup

Tweet: What is The FUDN Technique and how can you use it to change lives? Find out w/ @MarkGoulston @wellnessgroup

From Your Best Life Podcast with Karl Lawrence

podcast Dr Mark Goulston trainer psychiatrist hostage negotiator crisis UCLA professor communication mental real estate
I have step daughters trying to cause trouble between, me and there dad (my husband). Doing anything to cause problems.
Posted 7 years ago by April Mullins 304 373 3231
Talking to Crazy

How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life - I wish Mr. Goulston had talked about this or at least recommended someone who knew something about the subject.

But now I know that transactional problems require transactional solutions, - Wow, Maybe he is illustrating, how crazy people talk, because besides being irrelevant and esoteric, as is the whole article, such generalizations, are completely meaningless, - too bad, disappointing. The subject of the title was not addressed.
Posted 8 years ago by Solidspine
Whoa...Realizing the cultural changes in our heart, mind and spirit has opened
up our awareness to see what is truly broken in our society. This podcast speaks
volumes about our culture and how to overcome these impacts of "craziness."
It teaches us how to subdue the "craziness" into almost logical thinking. I say the
word almost, because many will go right back to "crazy." Thank you for the powerful
word and insight into a start of change...Let's start this at home! :)
Posted 8 years ago by KG

About Karl Lawrence

Karl Lawrence is the host of Your Best Life on the Radio Network. Check out his work at Read More