The Third Alternative

Unless you plan to go through life as a loner, the better you are at mastering the art of relationships the easier life will be.  Whether you are part of a friendship, marriage, formal partnership or a team, there is a fundamental mindset that will determine the health of your relationships.  

Stephen Covey referenced the principle of "Win/Win" as the 4th habit in his famous book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  

Stephen says, "Win/Win is the belief in a third alternative.   It's not your way or my way; it's a better way; a higher way." 

The principle of Win/Win simply means that you are always looking for resolutions that are good for all parties involved, not just your own self interest.  When everyone in the group is looking for a win/win they can move harmoniously forward.  On the other hand, groups consisting of individual agendas become quickly fragmented and torn apart by selfish tendencies.  

We all have a natural tendency to look out for our own self interests, to look at things through our own perspective.  The problem is that our perspective clouds our judgement, thinking that it must be a universal truth.  We must acknowledge that everyone has their own perspective, and in most cases they are different.  If we only look at things from our perspective we will go through life thinking everyone else is crazy for not understanding.  Making a point to acknowledge and try to understand the other parties perspective is the first step in finding a win/win which will lead to a mutually agreeable solution.  

For those who have watched Shark Tank, "Mr Wonderful" has a win/lose approach to investing while Mark Cuban typically has a win/win approach.  One of them has a net worth of over 3 billion.  I will let you figure out which of the two mindsets prevailed.

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