How to Win
Americans are competitors. We want to win. This characteristic helped
make our country great, but there is a negative side to being competitive
and it shows itself in relationships. Negative political campaigns, daily
interpersonal interactions and a prevalent “win-at-all-costs” attitude are
When both sides take the “I am right, you are wrong attitude,” trouble
results because whether we are trying to solve the Middle East problem,
work on a corporate merger or just reach agreement with our spouse or
friend, this attitude prevents us from seeing any point of view but our
own. Inside, we think that by making ourselves right and our opponent
wrong, we will win; but this type of winning does not bring
satisfaction, success or resolution of differences.
Let’s face it; some things are fact. It is raining outside or it
isn’t, this is Monday or it’s not, it is night or it is day. But most
things in the world are far more complex. We live in a world comprised not
of black and white, but of gray. Yet we shape our world to fit our
So how do we operate successfully in a world of gray?
- Understand most conflicts are not based on fact, but on a relative
point of view.
- Know whether you are discussing fact (my shirt is red) or perception
(I have a nice shirt).
- Frame your conversation not as “this is how it is,” but rather “this
is how it seems to me.”
- Before sharing your viewpoint, paraphrase the other party’s view to
show they were heard and understood.
When you start to do these things, hopefully the other party will
reciprocate, leading to a win-win situation.