Updated: Aug 22, 2019
I'm gonna teach you something that changed my life, and will probably change yours both as an athlete and as a human being.
You know, we athletes are focused people.
We have a lot to focus on too right? Keep a steady training schedule, Eat a diet that supports this kind of intense lifestyle, keeping a steady job so we can actually afford this lifestyle, and many more things. All these things I just mentioned have one thing in common – they are all self-focused. Being self-focused is important, but it is certainly not everything.
Let me ask you then – what kind of athlete were you if it weren’t for the support of your partner? Or the love of your friends and family? How would you be able to promote your business if you are totally self- focused, and don’t know how to negotiate properly with other people?
Probably not too good, I can imagine.
Here is where I’m getting at here:
Life is Relationships.
In order to succeed in life as athletes and in general, we need to know how to master this thing called a relationship. Whether it’s a romantic one, a friendly one or a business one, we need to tap into this place of higher consciousness, get out of our own little head and look at the bigger picture. In this article I will show you how to do that by understanding one simple principle – The Triangle.
The Triangle is not something I invented, it’s just something I thought of that simplifies something that already exists. It’s a simple way of understanding the nature of any relationship or negotiation (and a negotiation implies a relationship by necessity, right?), and applying it in a way where both sides can grow into something bigger. It by far outshines the more commonly used and most familiar model – The Compromise - in which two sides eventually give up on a certain part of themselves so they can co-exist and move “forward”. The reason for the cynicism here is because in compromise, there isn’t a really moving forward, only an imagined one. In compromising, 1+1 = 1.5 or 1.75 at best. When using Triangle, basically, 1+1 = 3.
The incompetence of a compromise
Let’s understand first what compromising is: In essence, in any relationship there are two or more sides. Sometimes both sides have needs and wants that don’t necessarily correlate, and then a process of negotiation begins. “I want this, and you want that – let’s talk”. That’s the basic statement that there is to be made. That’s all fair enough, but it’s not the statement that is the problem, but how we approach the solution of it.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s take an example in which there are two sides to the matter – Say I want to go on a long anticipated vacation, but my girlfriend wants to visit her sick mom. I want A, and she wants B. As we both want something that is not quite the same, a dialogue between us might look something like this:
- “Babe, we’ve planned this vacation for months, I was looking forward to do this with you.”
- “Me too, trust me, I want it more than anything but I just can’t let my mom be at home like that when she is so sick.”
- “Your mom is tough, she can handle it, what about our needs? We’ve been working so hard in the past months, we both deserve this!”
- “I know, but I just can’t go on vacation and have fun while she is at home suffering, I need to be there for her.”
- “But your sister is there with her, isn’t that enough?”
- “In a way yes, but I feel obligated to be there and support her too. Besides, there is plenty to do where she is staying, we can go on vacation some other time.”
yada yada yada...
This situation, if following the compromise model, can end up in one of three ways:
We go on vacation, I get what I want, and my girlfriend will be troubled throughout the whole time, not allowing herself to truly enjoy and be present with me there as much as she tries – I won’t have as much fun as I could have had if she was fully present with me, and I might resent her for it subconsciously or consciously, which might lead up to a fight. Even worse, if something happens to her mother while she is away, she will never forgive herself and that will be a stain on our relationship forever.
We go stay with her mom, where my girlfriend will feel like she is doing what’s right, and I, as much as I try to be supportive will feel missed out on a long awaited vacation that was much needed for me because I work so hard. Besides, I wanted to spend quality time with my girlfriend, which obviously not happening now. Maybe I will resent her for it, and maybe this will cause a conflict at a later stage as well.
We go our separate ways – She goes to visit her mother and I go on vacation – we spend this time apart, not supporting each other in any way and staying true to ourselves.
Solutions 1 and 2 are a model of compromise, where 1 or more sides give up on a part of themselves for the sake of the whole. One side is making itself smaller, and makes a sacrifice so the mutual interaction can go on. When one side does not stay true to itself and gives away a true need or want a hole will be left there that will eventually need to be filled up with something. Sacrifice needs to be made for love sometimes, maybe, but here is the key thing to remember here – You must give everything you can, BUT REMEMBER YOUR OWN VALUE. If you give up your own basic needs, you will not win in life. Ever. If you cannot demonstrate self-love and remember your worth, you will eventually not feel worthy of love, consciously or subconsciously. By playing the victim, “being noble”, “taking one for the team” constantly, by repeating such a pattern, you will not be able to demonstrate love for others as well because your own core will be exhausted. If you keep making sacrifices for the ones you love, without staying true to yourself your core will rot wither and die. You will be perceived as someone who is a pushover, someone that allows themselves to be trampled on, and you will actually support the kind of abusive behavior that is often demonstrated in many relationships where one sides is being submissive and the other is being dominant.
Solution 3 is a model of “No Deal” – Both myself and my partner probably can do it and go our separate ways on this, because we are both strong, independent individuals that have needs, but is this the right way to work together as a team?
In any of these cases, is 1+1 = 3 or 1.5? Answer is obvious.
So yeah, compromise sucks.
What other way is there? Is there a way where we can both get what we want without making sacrifices? Is there a way that is consciously superior, that goes past the intellect and actually takes into account emotions, energy and true love, where both sides win?
The triangle model is a simple to understand, and easy to apply principle. If you look at the illustration, you can see that on the bottom of the triangle there are the two sides of the relationship. Between them is what I call “The Low Middle Point” which is embodied by the compromise method, which we have already shown why it is lowly, as 1+1 = 1.5. By choosing this principle, you are staying on the basic, low-consciousness model that is intellectual in its nature and does not bring into consideration emotions, energies, and symbiotic consciousness that arises from true cooperation. “No Deal” is not even on the triangle, that’ how sucks it is. (Quick note though – sometimes No Deal is a solution, in the case that both side’s values are completely misaligned. The pre-condition that must exist before any cooperation is made is that both sides have the same core values).
Look now at the apex of the triangle, where is says "cooperation" – this is the “High Middle Point” - in the high middle point, both sides overlook the situation from above – objectively, consciously and honestly. Both sides can see the bigger picture, and since they are on higher ground together, they can both see the two sides of the matter, as well as the joint road they are going through together. They can see the compromise option from above, and realize it’s beneath them because it is an inferior choice. When in the high middle point, both sides meet in a higher place consciously; both sides need to hold that high vibrational space by realizing that they want to stay on the top point together and not to regress to basic intellectual compromise. They overlook the whole situation with an understanding that there are no two sides that negotiating and looking for a middle point, but two elements working in a symbiotic relationship with each other to achieve a joint outcome and find Higher Ground: 1+1 = 3.
This situation is dependent on BOTH sides. Both sides need to be at a consciously sufficient level that allows them to see past their own petty needs while remembering their core values, as well as wanting to give to the whole so it can grow and flourish together.
I know what you’re thinking now – “That’s all fine and well in theory, but how can that be applied on the example you just gave?”
Well, it can be applied in a million and one ways, but here are just a few examples of how it can work out:
We find and go on vacation at a place close to where my girlfriend’s mom lives so we can have fun and also drop by her mom’s place to support her.
We postpone the vacation for a later time, and go together wholeheartedly when the situation allows it.
We go be with my girlfriend’s mom for a bit and then go on vacation, getting a little of both worlds.
The specific solution does not really matter because it is dynamic, and is open for any solution. What’s important is that we both understand why we choose it, and agree that it elevates both of us as a whole. If a sacrifice is made – it’s made by both of us, not by an individual, thus not taking away from anyone.
The Triangle model can also be applied in business, and can also be applied in friendships, I just took this example because it’s the first one that came to my mind.
In conclusion, let me end with this:
It’s easy to be selfish and trample others. It’s also easy to be a victim and be trampled by others. As conscious athletes, we are strong individuals both physically and mentally, and as people who are aware to many layers of life, sometimes deeper than others, we have power, and with that power – responsibility. Stephen Covey divides the word “Responsibility” to “Response” and “Ability” – get it?
Bottom line – you can, and should take the lead on this – it is always up to you to bring the consciousness into the table, whether in a negotiation on a supplement sponsorship, a coaching session, a training session, a friendship or a romantic relationship. By doing that, you will transcend over basic intellectual relationships and rise up towards a much more beneficial and fruitful interaction with the ones around you. You will grow as a result, and also grow others.
You can connect to that higher consciousness always, it’s a choice – will you?
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