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The Making of a Peacemaker

An Interview with Christian Conte

Interviews
Christian Conte

@CANDACE LANG PHOTOGRAPHY

In his new book Walking Through Anger, Christian Conte describes a clear and simple path to inner and outer-peace using what he calls Yield Theory. Proven in prisons, this practice works—if you choose to live it.

S&H: You write that your mom didn’t tell you to stay away from fights in high school. Instead, she told you to step in a break them up. Christian: That’s right. My mom taught ninth grade English. She was a really thin woman, and still the kids were scared to death of her because she was a real disciplinarian—the kind you really appreciate later on. She told me just before ninth grade that she’d better never find out that I’d watched a fight. So I never did. I’d always jump right in to break it up. S&H: What did you learn from that? Christian:That you don’t wait for somebody else to do something. After high school, when I started studying psychology, I studied what’s called the ‘diffusion of responsibility.’ Basically, that means the more people who are around, the less likely anybody is to do anything to help. That really seems to be true—and I learned that years before I learned there was a term for it. My mom told me that when you see something, you do something. That was a huge lesson. S&H: What gave you the confidence? Christian:I was a tall, skinny kid in high …

Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, cocreator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor at large of Spirituality & Health. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.

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