Chapter 1

What does it mean to be assertive?

‘It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.’

Edmund Hillary

What does it mean to be assertive and what are the alternatives?

‘Just shout loudly and carry a big stick’, is what one friend replied when I asked him how to be assertive.

But assertiveness isn’t about being loud and threatening or always getting your own way. That is aggression. Keeping quiet and going along with what others want isn’t always the best way to behave. That is being passive. Manipulating others and avoiding responsibility for getting your needs met is not a fair way to behave either. That is being passive–aggressive.

Assertiveness is an entirely different approach to meeting your needs. It is about letting ...

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