Negotiation and Peace


I hope you all are doing well. This week I’ll be sharing something very simple yet profound; something I feel at one point in time in our lives we’ve all had to deal with. However, before we get into it, please remember to stay hydrated lol. The heatwave has been intense of late. Drink lots and lots of water.

Today’s topic is on negotiation. Many people see the word negotiation from different perspectives. A salesman might see it from the perspective of profit, a lawyer from the perspective of saving a client, a Father from the perspective of passing across life lessons, etc. Irrespective of how we see the art of negotiation, we all would agree that any negotiation that doesn’t result in a win-win scenario isn’t truly a negotiation perse. In some cases, during a negotiation, one party may decide to be the “bigger person” and forgo some of their rights and privileges just for peace to reign. They see that trying to achieve a true win-win isn’t feasible because the other party is intransigent.

It is not every day that we run into such people of bigger hearts, who value relationships and their peace of mind more than pettiness. The majority tends to lean towards the mentality of “it’s my way or no way”. A brief example of someone giving up their right in a negotiation in order to save something of greater value for themselves. Once while traveling across some country borders, my Dad and I ran into some very difficult Border patrol guy. There were some fees required to stamp our passport but for some reason (which I feel was just to rip us off), this agent had refused to comply with the standard rates and demanded more money. My dad had shown his old passport to justify that he was a frequent traveler and that his new passport was not an indication of first time traveling.

The border agent was adamant even though the facts were right before his eyes. We had two options that we could control; one was to pay him the extra fee and be on our way, and the other was to stay put and refuse to pay until a superior officer came and hopefully allowed us to pass through. We had things to do while this border agent was at his office and had all the time to waste ours. My dad paid and we left. I was furious and asked him why he complied, I was a teenager when this happened. My sense of “life” was very limited as compared to now. My father looked at me said, “whenever you are dealing with someone who has nothing to lose in a situation that you have a lot to lose, just learn to be flexible”.

We were the travelers, with a vehicle waiting on us on the other side of the border, we didn’t have much time to waste. The border agent had nothing to lose. To be honest I have been in situations in my life where I have had to sacrifice a lot of things because I can see the bigger picture which the other party couldn’t. I have against my “natural course of action” had to swallow a lose-win situation because I knew that in the long run, I had a lot more at stake and my peace of mind was important.

There is another story that has been making rounds on the internet for a while and I should share it to show the power of negotiation when the real objective is to find peace.

A father left 17 Camels as an asset for his three Sons. When the Father passed away, his sons opened up the will. The will of the Father stated that the eldest son should get half of 17 Camels, the middle Son should be given 1/3rd of 17 Camels, youngest Son should be given 1/9th of the 17 Camels, as it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the sons started to fight with each other.

So, they decided to go to a wise man.

The wise man listened patiently about the Will. The wise man, after giving this thought, brought one camel of his own and added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 camels. Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will.

Half of 18 = 9. So he gave 9 camels to the eldest son.
1/3rd of 18 = 6. So he gave 6 camels to the middle son

1/9th of 18 = 2. So he gave 2 camels to the youngest son.
Now add this up: 9 + 6 + 2 = 17 & This leaves 1 camel, which the wise man took back.

MORAL: The attitude of negotiation and problem solving is to find the 18th camel i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the common ground, the issue is resolved. It is difficult at times. However, to reach a solution, the first step is to believe that there is a solution. If we think that there is no solution, we won’t be able to reach any!

One major reason why people cannot reach common ground is that everyone is busy trying to see how they can get as much as possible for themselves. In one of Eli Broad‘s book, he shows us how he negotiates for deals which may seem unreasonable. His approach is to try as much as possible to let the other party see the value his negotiation will bring them. In theory, I can cite may more authors who have given a decent way to make this happen, but in practice, our false ego won’t let us achieve this.

Some of you reading might say but there are times when we face a party who is so inconsiderate that it is almost impossible to find common ground. As true as this might sound, it is almost futile to try to force someone to accept our stance. It is a waste of time and eventually, it only breeds bad feelings and resentment.

As we all try to truly understand the deeper tenets of finding common ground in negotiation, I hope we take a minute to pause and reflect on what the bigger picture is we are trying to achieve. (I never said it was easy 🙂 )

Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

Thoughts in motion

Hello readers,

I hope you all had a great week. It’s been a week since I last wrote and I know a good deal of you must have missed my blog. I do apologize to those who came but found no content to read. Last week came with its own set of lessons and all I can say is I am grateful.

My partner and I had a road trip right after a festival of chariot and even though we have done the same route many times before, this time the challenges were different. I  have learnt so much in the last week that I feel obliged to share it with all of you. To be honest, sometimes we may be in a very trying situation with a lot of learning opportunities but if we fail to immerse ourselves into the experience given, we will not be able to fully grasp the message being conveyed.

In the face of disappointment, we are quick to judge, blame, and even give up. This is what I refer to as the “reactionary attitude”. Something goes bad, we act accordingly. There is no time for reflection, or time for us to evaluate the situation and then come up with a strategy. Over the weekend I can remember being in a situation whereby my partner and I had some not so good feedback and in the moment because I was carried away by her disposition to the situation, I also lost track of mine. My thinking ability had temporarily shut down and I was at the mercy of my subconscious memory. I was going through the physical motions of moving but my mind and heart were not in proper unison.

Another scenario had presented where I needed to exercise tranquility and remove myself from whatever was happening. I had being able to control my emotions and not act on impulse and the end results was great. It goes without saying that to whom much is given much is expected. Anytime we fall short in a situation we need to ask ourselves; are we utilizing all the resources we have in order to win this war over matter and the mind. It seems to me that we are in a constant tussle between matter and spirit. At some point we are in tune with our energies and spirit is in control, and at other times we allow our base tendencies to take over.

The struggle is real as a common phrase goes. We have to daily make choices that all add up into weekly choices, monthly choices, yearly choices and lifetime choices. We are a sum and substance of all the choices we have made over time in our lives. Whether we agree to this fact or not, it is a bitter pill to swallow. How do we convince someone going through a difficult time that they are in that situation due to choices they have made. The truth is we don’t. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion and as such most people learn by repeated and failed experience. There is the popular phrase “experience is the best teacher”. I used to quote that a lot as a teenager and once my Dad said to me “not in every case. In some cases only fools learn by experience. A first class human being (or intelligent person) learns by hearing from authorities on a subject matter or by the experience of others.”

I have always reflected on his phrase. There are some things I have been through a couple times and I ask myself; am I being a first class human in this situation or a third class human being. (This is someone who even though he has lived an experience still doesn’t learn and repeats the same mistake). There are other times when I have an experience once and I vow to myself never again to relive it. In effect what am I saying; life does get to us most of the time. The other part when we think we are outsmarting life, it is just a break. I don’t want to sound pessimistic or come off as one dealing with issues, I just wanted to share these random thoughts that were circulating in my head.

Another good analogy for life and its distractions is; travelling on the highway. When we travel interstate, we pass many exits. Each exit has its own attraction; food, gas, hotel, etc. However we do not get off at every exit. We keep driving until we need to either rest, refuel or eat. We won’t be able to arrive at our destination if we took every exit we saw. In fact we would never begin the journey if we took the very first exit that we saw. This will take us totally off track and if somehow or the other we got back on track and took another exit again, we would be off track again. In essence what I am trying to say is, it is always handy to have focus and direction in life. This becomes like a compass for us.

There will be times when we might need to pull over from the journey of life to take a quick break but we wont be off track. We still have the goal and our GPS will be our values. They will point us in the direction we feel is most important to us. Just like the regular GPS, it is just a guide to get us to our destination. Our values will always be our GPS, if someone is morally bankrupt or deficient then we can compare that to a GPS that is not up to date. If we hold others to our own values, we will be compared to someone who wants other drivers to follow his own GPS. Everyone has their own journey, we may journey together for a while but never entirely together.

After all said and done, we want to be able to look back and be grateful for the gift of life, the gift of good health, and the gift of basic amenities that we take for granted. To those who wake up everyday with the zeal of a hunting Lion, I say all the best and see you all at work on Monday.

Till next week do follow for more. Read, like and share with others.

Thought Bending

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you some new insights this week. Today before we delve into our topic for the day, I just want to say I had an amazing weekend, most especially because I could connect with my god-family and also had the chance to make new acquaintances. The buildup to last weekend for me was pretty exciting and I must say I have picked up a few more things.

I needed to make a journey and as such, I had to make arrangements such as flight and other travel logistics. Prior to this journey, I had a few doubts as to whether I could make it or not. The entire process of preparing up to taking my flights had some hiccups that I had to practically power my way through mentally. This kind of reminds me of my travel experiences as a teenager. The power of visualization had helped me go through some of the most hectic travels all before I actually had them. Even though at the time I had some vague idea of the power of visualization, I didn’t really know how powerful it was and to what extent I was influencing things. One day, I actually had a conversation with my Dad and I had mentioned that I used this technique to sort of cushion trips I knew would be “tough”.

Of course, he knew about this concept and used it on a more advanced level and did share a few pointers but I sort of “outgrew” the practice with time. Every now and then I’ll channel this process whenever I had a “blockage” in any of my activities but it was sort of an occasional means to be one step ahead of matter. Last weekend while traveling, I missed my connecting flight as I wasn’t familiar with the airport and the concourses they had. So it took me longer than usual to find the boarding gate for my flight and by the time I got there, my flight had taken off. At this point; panic, fear, regret and more negative thought patterns can easily envelop you and before you know it, you are sunk in self-pity. I had a quick glimpse of all these but there and then, I guess subconsciously I knew it wasn’t going to help me. The ticket attendant, did what she could and I was scheduled for another flight that was 2 hours away; as pending and another 6 hours away that was confirmed.

I accepted my fate and went to sit in the waiting area as I began to reflect on the events that were unfolding as nature’s way of allowing me to reorganize my energy. I had 6 hours to look into my trip ahead and the entire weekend’s activities. This is where the concept of “thought bending” comes in. For every positive thought, I tried to project there was an equal and opposite negative one just waiting to tell me that I was wasting my time. I’ll refocus and then try again to send out the vibes I needed. This part requires mental power that isn’t easily affected by the hundreds of negative thoughts streaming into our minds. For each positive thought I created, I had to back it up with some detail. The subconscious mind has its way of also allowing us to tap into reserved positivity or negativity; depending on which we have cultivated more in the past.

Just like the animated series of Avatar, where you have tribes that bend the elements ( Water, Earth, Fire, and Air) to serve their will and purpose, similarly thought bending is a process of being aware of our thought pattern and bending them to become more favorable. I must say that as simple as this sounds, it is very esoteric in nature and those who haven’t had any experience with projecting energy may find this write up somewhat vague, and I do understand how they feel, nevertheless do not give up on trying. To those who already have some experience on this subject matter, I say that practice and only positive thought patterns should be cultivated.

My dad once told me during one of our esoteric conversations that “magic is order”. I got a hint of what he meant at the time and how he had used the phrase to explain an incidence, however little did I know that when an order is instilled in our thoughts, the result is nothing short of a magical experience. When we can weed out the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones, so very often while believing in the materialization of the new thoughts then we can aspire to have a better chance at thought bending.  A quick example I’ll like to share to give more insight into this concept is a simple one we can try at any time. if you can lay your hands on a packet of straws, scatter say 30 straws on a table and without trying to arrange them, grab them in that pile and try to make them all conform to any particular distortion of your choice. You’ll find out that it is almost impossible, as the straws will keep falling off your grip. It might be even very difficult to pick them all up.

Now if you gather all 30 straws and arrange them nicely side by side, you’ll notice how much easier it is to pick them all up and then proceed to distort their shape all in one move and direction. In the same vein, negative thoughts are like scattered straws and the untrained mind is like the hand trying to grab them all in one pick. By constant practice such as meditation or better still mantra meditation, one will gradually be able to arrange these thoughts and then have them conform to whatever shape or form we desire. I hope this blog helps those of you struggling with having productive thought patterns, and I hope it helps those who are more advanced in this practice to be able to affect the world on a more positive energy level.

Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.