Transcript: Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower with Your 20 Minute Podcast. Our special guest is Rabbi Shimon Gruen. He’s an author and a publisher, and he is available to talk to a lot of folks about his unique methodology promoting interpersonal understanding and building relationships. He the book Fragile Factor, and his latest book is Get Along With Everyone. Hi, Rabbi. Welcome to the show. How are you?
Rabi Gruen: How are you, David? Thank you.
David Brower: I’m very well, yeah, very well. Thank you. The title of your new book, Get Along With Everyone, that is something that I can’t imagine anyone would not want to absorb that title and try to learn more about it.
Rabi Gruen: Yeah, definitely, definitely something that everyone could use and something that everyone would appreciate.
David Brower: Absolutely right, absolutely right. What was your motivation to write the book? What struck you to say, “This is something I’ve got to do”?
Rabi Gruen: Well, I’ve been a listening ear for people for a long time until I started realizing that I was actually being a big help, but it wasn’t until I came up with a novel idea, a revolutionary approach I would call it, to solving interpersonal conflict and difficulties that I decided to put it on paper. I came up with a certain way of understanding people and trying to help them get through their relationship difficulties, and the more I saw that it works, I should say every time, it makes sense and explains so much that’s not clear, I decided that if I would write it in a book and be able to get it out there, I’d be able to reach so many more people and be so much more helpful, not only people coming to me, but to a much broader audience. That’s something that I really wanted to do.
David Brower: Terrific. You counsel a lot of people over the years, and so did your epiphany come through that counseling? Did your counseling help you come to this realization and formula, if you will?
Rabi Gruen: Yeah, definitely, definitely. As a matter of fact, people ask me often, “Where did you study? Who taught you? What kind of education?” The real answer to all that is that it’s not coming from an education that somebody taught me as much as I let myself be educated by my clients. I observed so many real-life situations and was learning on the job seeing it happen in real life again and again. I think there’s nothing truer than that. No textbook is as true as what people are dealing with in real life.
David Brower: Isn’t that the truth? I think part of that has to be, too, to give you high credit for being a great listener. I mean being able to counsel people and share with them your thoughts, your philosophies, and those kinds of things in such a meaningful way that you learn from them, you have to have a great skill set in hearing.
Rabi Gruen: Oh, thank you. Yeah, I believe it’s true. It’s interesting that you’re pointing it out because I believe that when people are educated and they have all their own ideas that they believe in and that they want to apply to your situation, very often, they won’t even listen to everything you have to say simply because they already know what they want to offer. You just come with a problem, and they’re already telling you the solution because they learned that that’s the solution. When you’re really taking people seriously, and you want to know what it is they say, and you want to try to understand them and what they’re dealing with, and that’s how you’re slowly becoming aware of what’s really going on, there’s so much more that you really do have to listen to and take in and think about. Yeah.
David Brower: The other part of that, I would think, is because you are such a great listener, it allows them to be more comfortable and more vulnerable, I would think, to be able to give you the kind of information that you really need to help them.
Rabi Gruen: Okay. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, and I’m happy that you’re pointing it out, not so much because it makes me feel good, but because that’s actually a very important part of the [inaudible 00:04:13] of getting along with people, which my book talks about. Having people feel comfortable near you, people feel validated, people feel understood and listened to. That’s really a big part of it, obviously, definitely.
I’ll tell you something interesting. I tell this to people when they want to send me someone, so to speak, “Could I send my husband for help? Could I send my child for help?” I tell people often, “I could make your husband feel very good, and I can make your child feel very good, but I’d rather teach you how to do that. I’d rather make you have the skill and know how to do the same thing that I could do.” Part of that, obviously, is listening, and validating, and doing a lot that a therapist would do for someone.
David Brower: Absolutely right, and being able to help them help themselves, focus on their family unit and making it stronger internally, right?
Rabi Gruen: Right, right.
David Brower: Tell me about your book. It’s not a textbook, as you mentioned. Is it sharing experiences that you’ve had with your clients? How does the book translate?
Rabi Gruen: Well, I do share a lot of experiences, but I don’t base the book on those episodes. I use the stories just to express certain points and show how this methodology works.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part of the book is a few chapters that talk about understanding personalities, categorizing people correctly, understanding what personalities are all about. It’s a very old model of understanding personalities, a four-type model, understanding that there are four basic personalities. I explain over there that it’s not so much four different kinds of people, like many books suggest, it’s more about four components within each person.
We all have in ourselves four components that are causing so much of the psychological and emotional programming that we live with, and it’s all about dominance. Which component is on top, is most influential? Which component is subdominant? Which is the third, and which is the fourth? I try to lay out over there in the first part of the book how that looks in real life. I’ll give you a quick rundown …
David Brower: Sure.
Rabi Gruen: … which, obviously, it’s very … as much as I can get into a minute.
I call it the yellow, the blue, the red, and the ultraviolet, the UV. The yellow component is the happy-go-lucky, friendly, and social part of a person. That’s the part living in the present and dealing with things in a very smiley face kind of way. The blue part of a person is the easy-going, flexible, soft, and kind-hearted part of a person that’s compliant and simple. We all have that as well. The red part of a person is the aggressive, go-getting, accomplishing, motivated part of a person with the leadership skills and confidence. Then there’s the ultraviolet component, which is the emotional and sensitive part of a person.
Now, like I said, we all have all four of those pieces within us and a difference in personality that makes each one of us so drastically different one from another.
David Brower: You bet.
Rabi Gruen: It’s simply the dominance and how this is lined up. Which component is dominating and most influential in the way you think and feel? Which is the secondary, third, and the fourth?
David Brower: That gives you a great understanding of how you tick, right? I mean the way you define the yellow, blue, red, and ultraviolet makes a lot of sense and easy for people to understand, I would think.
Rabi Gruen: Yeah, it’s quite simple and straightforward.
David Brower: Yeah.
Rabi Gruen: Before I go on, the challenge that people often have is that, based on conventional psychology and the way that a lot of people try to understand difficulties that people are having, we blame so much on the nurture, and the surrounding, and the circumstance, and the upbringing, and the path. We attribute so much of what people do and feel based on what they’ve been through already. Now, of course, what somebody goes through definitely has an influence and an impact. The question always remains, and the riddle always remains, well, why did one person react this way to a certain situation but the other person did not? You can have two siblings that grew up in the same home or two people that have been through the same situation, and they respond differently.
It’s nice to blame whatever difficulty somebody is experiencing on the past, but that doesn’t really answer the question. What’s so eye-opening is, when you realize that people are inherently different and they started off differently, they’re made out of different stuff, oh, then, well, that’s explaining why one person has been affected differently than someone else.
David Brower: Absolutely right. You would know better than I, but it would seem that sometimes we make those excuses out of convenience just so we can kind of brush them aside and accept them for what we think they are and move on, right?
Rabi Gruen: Oh, wow, yeah. Yeah, that’s so true. Another problem with dealing with things like that is that it will only help you understand yesterday. You’ll be a good Monday morning quarterback when you’re able to blame yesterday’s problem on what happened the day before, but you won’t be able to predict anything, nothing.
David Brower: Right, right.
Rabi Gruen: You won’t be able to say which child is going to have a problem. You’ll just explain that the child with the problem has been through some trauma which explains it, but you’re not preempting anything like that, as opposed to when you understand how different people react to different situations, you almost figure out in advance which child may have a problem with a new school year, for example, which we’re heading toward, and you’ll be able to avoid that.
David Brower: Fascinating. I would think, too, if you learned it, if you study it well, you should be able to use those skills for your own self internally, right?
Rabi Gruen: Oh, wow. Yeah, yeah. At the end of that first part of the book, I suggest how people should understand themselves and others in a healthy way, everyone be doing what’s right for them, choosing the right career, living the right kind of life. That’s a pretty basic idea, which you could find in other books that talk about personality and having people understand themselves and others in a healthy way without trying to be something they’re not.
David Brower: Is it easier once you-
Rabi Gruen: I move on-
David Brower: Go ahead.
Rabi Gruen: Okay. I just wanted to say where I go from there.
David Brower: Yeah.
Rabi Gruen: The second [inaudible 00:10:25] the book is really where I come up with a new idea, a very new idea, and that is that there’s a very distinct difference, which I point out at length, between somebody who is dominant yellow, dominant blue, dominant red, different than somebody who is dominant ultraviolet. That UV characteristic within each of us is the emotional and sensitive part of us that makes us react to situations emotionally. Emotions are very illogical and irrational, and they’re just that. They’re emotional.
David Brower: Right.
Rabi Gruen: Very often, the way someone thinks or feels doesn’t make any sense. You could try to talk about it, and explain it, and contradict it, and prove it wrong, but it’s a feeling. So much of what people do, especially in challenging situations when things are being dealt with irrationally, is all based on emotion. We all have enough, like I said, that emotional part of us that makes you tick that way. However, the difference between somebody who is dominant UV and somebody who is not dominant UV is a very stark difference.
The one that’s dominant UV will much more often be reacting emotionally. They’ll be doing it in a much more intense way and be expressing it in a way that could literally take over the logic and start controlling a person. In other words, he’s being triggered and controlled and driven by his emotions as opposed to somebody who [inaudible 00:11:52] dominant UV whose logic will most often be stronger than the emotion and will be more in control of him or herself. That’s a very big difference that I have never seen anyone point out like that. This is what the second part of the book is about, showing how different a dominant UV personality deals with things as opposed to somebody who is not dominant UV.
David Brower: That’s fascinating, yeah.
Rabi Gruen: Even though red, blue, and yellow are so different from each other, they still have a certain common tendency to deal with things more logical, more balanced, in a more consistent way as opposed to somebody who’s emotional who will be dealing with things very emotionally, and it comes across very differently.
David Brower: I remember, this is many years ago, but I would go to a corporate retreat, for lack of a better term, and they would have somebody there leading a session about personality and interpersonal skills, and they would assign you or ask you to raise your hand if you were … I’ll use your term, if you were yellow, blue, or red. There was a fourth one there that I don’t remember, but it certainly wasn’t UV, and so you would have a large group of people on one side. They might be the reds. The smaller group might be the blue. A smaller yet group might be the yellow, and then the fourth group. The ultraviolet piece is totally missing, totally not mentioned, totally not discussed, and it seems such an important piece that you’ve come up with to include in your presentations and your counseling.
Rabi Gruen: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I have not seen it explained this way at all. One more thing that I just wanted to point out, which I also discuss in the second part of the book, just in case people listening to this may be wondering, I do see it as being divided evenly, just about, with 25% of people being yellow, dominant yellow, 25% being blue, red, and UV. There’s a reason why when I start explaining what the UV component does to a person, and some people will say, “Well, I don’t see that many people responding emotionally to situations. I won’t say that so many people I know are that sensitive.” Okay?
I have a chapter called Invisible UV in which I explain a few reasons why you may not notice on somebody that sensitivity and fragility that I’m claiming that the person has. It could be because the person’s feeling very comfortable in a certain situation, and it’s not … their sensitivity is not being challenged. It could be somebody’s feeling uncomfortable and not comfortable enough to express that sensitivity, but when you take a deeper look, you’ll start noticing that more people than you think are very sensitive and are responding emotionally to very many things that go on around them.
David Brower: Wow, that makes a lot of sense, the invisible UV, and that is certainly something that most of us have never ever thought of, I wouldn’t think. You know?
Rabi Gruen: Yeah. At the end of the day, I think that that chapter is the most telling part because, until I put that onto paper, the whole theory didn’t stand too well because too many people didn’t believe that they’re noticing that often enough, but over there, that’s where I try to explain why people have missed it over time, why people have not noticed this fragility that I’m discussing.
David Brower: Wow, that’s fascinating. Folks, you can get the book on amazon.com. It’s called Get Along With Everyone. On Amazon, it defines it as a surprisingly simple and practical approach to helping different personalities get along at home, at work, and in every relationship, from children and parents, to couples in conflict, to individuals deciding which type of job to take, and a lot more, so a lot of stuff packed into this book in specific chapters on specific thoughts and conversations. The invisible ultraviolet has to … I mean I get goosebumps just hearing you talk about that because it’s so foreign to me.
Rabi Gruen: Yeah, yeah. See, sometimes that’s what people have to get over, that initial … I don’t like calling it a diagnosis, but when people come talk to me and I explain to them what’s really going on in their life and their relationships, they’re so fascinated because so much of the first interpretation, the way I’m assessing the situation, is so different than what they thought they were dealing with. They thought they were dealing with something that has to be explained, that has to be challenged, that has to be dealt with by force, or different things that they were trying to make happen without realizing that their partner, spouse, whoever it is, their workmate, is simply a very sensitive, fragile person.
When you learn this [inaudible 00:16:37], which is actually the third part of the book, the practical, in life how to deal with somebody who’s sensitive and fragile, you’ll get whatever you want from them. People don’t even realize that, so they’re trying to do it a different way because they don’t see that fragility. They don’t realize that this person is really very soft, and fragile, and sensitive. They see something very different. When you see somebody who you feel that have been [inaudible 00:16:56] or stubborn, you take a very different approach, usually, and of course you don’t get anywhere.
David Brower: Absolutely right. You’re going through the definitions, the process how people can more easily identify their different types of personalities, and then, the third part of the book, you give them practical applications for how to incorporate this in their lives?
Rabi Gruen: Yeah, yeah. That’s what it is. I do end with a interesting chapter because people who read this start realizing … Very often you have realize 25% of the people picking up this book are UV themselves. They start realizing that, and I get emails about it every day, people, “Oh, I read your book, and I realized that I’m so sensitive. I never thought of myself like that. What could I do about that? Now I realize that people maybe don’t even mean to challenge me, and I’m picking up on that too quickly.”
I have a chapter there, which I don’t think is the best chapter of the book, and it would probably need a book of its own to really cover it well, but it’s a helpful chapter in which I try to help UVs understand and deal with their own emotional struggle because, even though I do believe that their relationship, as a whole, is being challenged by somebody’s sensitivity, but it’s so much truer when it comes to somebody on a personal level.
As difficult as you may feel that it is to live with somebody who’s very sensitive and very challenging, you can only imagine what it means to be that person. When you’re feeling sensitive and you’re feeling emotionally challenged all the time by people around you, you’re even more hurt than the people you may be hurting because of that sensitivity, so I offer a chapter of help how a UV can understand and deal with their own sensitivities in a better and healthier way.
David Brower: It sounds like you’re in a position to write a sequel.
Rabi Gruen: Yes, I’m actually in the middle of writing a lot of things. I write my weekly classes and different essays, and I’m actually working on another book as well.
David Brower: Fascinating. This has been a great conversation. I’ve loved it so much. Again, our special guest, Rabbi Shimon Gruen, his book Get Along With Everyone. He’s the founder of lehair.org. I hope I got close on the pronunciation. It’s L-E-H-A-‘-I-R.org, and you can catch a lot of his information on torahanytime.com. Folks, check out the book. The book is Get Along With Everyone. The earlier book, The Fragile Factor, and keep and eye out for his future books. You just heard a conversation about some things I would guarantee you’ve never heard of before or even thought about and some really great information, Rabbi. I can literally hear a lot of epiphanies going off out in the audience going, “I got to get that book. I want to learn what he’s talking about.”
Rabi Gruen: Thank you so much for having me, David, been a pleasure.
David Brower: You’re very welcome. It’s been my pleasure.
Allan Blackwell: Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including iHeartRadio, the Spotify mobile app, and at davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.