It’s easy to buy into the concept of compromise. That you “give” sometimes and “take” sometimes. Picking and choosing your strategy based on the urgency of the decision you have to make at the moment. Done right, it should lead to you getting what you want over the long term.
But the idea only makes good sense in books, seminars, and your MBA classroom. There is a very real disconnect between how it “should” work and how it actually turns out working.
Human nature gets in the way.
Creating absurdity from well-intentioned ideology.
There are a number of reasons why give-and-take doesn’t end up working:
- You take more than you give — It’s natural to try to chew off a bigger end to your bargain. That’s how you are wired. To win. At almost any cost. Which is why compromise can quickly turn into an emotional hostage situation. There is no giving involved. Just taking. Which turns the altruistic notion of situational sacrifice into a fantasy rather than a viable strategy.
- You give in at the wrong time — Giving hurts. At any scale, generosity demands personal sacrifice. A denial of immediate gratification. What makes that an even more tasking situation is when you give in at the wrong time. Sometimes a matter is so important to you that you should not budge an inch. When you start taking steps backward, your situation spirals out of control even faster that you imagined possible.
- You take too much, too fast — Sometimes what looks like an open door is really just a trap waiting to spring shut on you. Be careful in taking. Taking from the wrong person makes you a hostage to their ideology. It associates you with them and their closet of skeletons. Even taking too much too quickly from the right person makes you look like a bully. Even if you are in the right you end up being a jerk. And ruining a relationship.
- You give too much to the wrong people — There is a fine line between enabling bad behavior and giving support to those who need you. Just because you are giving doesn’t mean that you are off the hook. Even the best of intentions becomes absurd when your giving enables bad people to do bad things. Think about that when you are deciding to give. Are you giving to the right person?
Take another look at how you deal with others.
Question the nonsense you hear experts and gurus and consultants throw at you about compromise. Practice what you preach. Preach what you’re passionate about.
That shouldn’t ever require compromise.
Truth be told, you could do something truly amazing with a different attitude towards winning. Try give-and-give.
It might look like silly in the short term. But you’ll create a future where the people you do decide to deal with are worth your time and emotional engagement.
Give something big. Do something bigger.
Give. Love. Live.