Updated: 5 days ago
I'm gonna share with you something that changed my life, and will probably change yours too!
Most people who care for self-improvement are very focused people.
Sure enough, Keeping a steady training schedule, maintaining a healthy diet all while keeping a steady job requires high levels of self-focus.
Being self-focused is important, but if you want be successful in your relationships, it is hardly enough.
Think about it: what type of person 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 or cooperate with others if you are totally self-focused, and don’t know how to negotiate with other people?
Not too good, I can imagine. We are taught all our lives to think, analyze, and find intellectual solutions but meeting halfway and compromising.
However, I am about to share with you a better way, a more transcendental way that has nothing to do with intellect and has everything to do with radical, contentious, ass-kicking love.
Life is Relationships.
If you read most of the self help literature about success in business as well as in life, mastering this terribly complicated thing called a "relationship" is not only a cornerstone.
Some would argue it is the single most important thing to master. Relationships might be tricky, but the fundamental principle used to understand them is not.
All relationships share this principle, whether it’s a romantic one, a friendly, or a business relationship. And this rather simple principle is The Triangle.
The Triangle is not something I ingeniously invented, it’s something I thought of that simplifies something that already exists. It’s a simple way of understanding the nature of any relationship or negotiation. After picking this up, you will be able to communicate it in a way in which both sides feel like they can grow into something bigger.
It by far outshines a more commonly used and more familiar model – The Compromise - in which two sides are "giving up" on a certain part of themselves so they can co-exist and move forward together. In a compromise, there isn’t a real moving forward, only an imagined one. By compromising, each side of the negotiation/relationship diminishes itself so the other will find the terms acceptable, thus continuing cooperation.
In other words, 1+1 = 1.5 or 1.75 at best.
When using The Triangle Principal, however, both sides grow together without lowering themselves.
In other words, 1+1 = 3 or more.self-help
The incompetence of a compromise
Let’s dive a bit deeper into 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 match, and then a process of negotiation begins. “I want this, and you want that – let’s talk and see how we can reach an agreement”. That’s not such a bad idea, however, it’s not the statement that is the problem, but how we approach the solution of it.
For instance, let's 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... We've all been there. both sides make valid claims. So what do to?
If we follow the compromise model, this 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, which in turn 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 one or more sides give up on a part of themselves for the sake of the whole organism. One side or more is making itself smaller, and makes a sacrifice so the mutual interaction can go on. If one side does not stay true to itself, a "pothole" will be left that will eventually need to be filled up. Sacrifice need to be made for love sometimes, and perhaps it worked for you before, but remember: giving up on yourself for the sake of another over time will subconsciously show this person you allow yourself to be on the "losing end".
This on the long run will not make you come off now as noble, but as weak, eventually allowing the other side to have their way with you. You must give everything you can with love, BUT ALWAYS 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 own worth, you will eventually not feel worthy of love. By “being noble” or “taking one for the team” constantly, you are not doing anybody any favors. If you keep making sacrifices for the ones you love, without considering yourself and what you want, you will not find it within yourself to love back with all your strength. You will be perceived as someone who is a pushover, someone that allows themselves to be trampled on. You will justify 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” – two strong sides of a relationship can probably agree there is nothing to agree on, go their separate ways, 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, we've based the core assumption that compromise sucks.
So.... 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, life energy and true love? A way in which both sides win?
Well... Stay tuned folks.
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 has already proven it's uselessness. By choosing a "compromise" model, you are staying on the basic, low-consciousness model. It is an intellectual in its nature and does not bring into consideration emotions, energies, or the symbiotic consciousness that arises from true cooperation. “No Deal” is not even on the triangle, that’ how utterly useless it is 99.9% of the times. (In the case that both side’s values are completely misaligned, "No Deal" is a solutio. 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. From the perpective of their higher selves. Both sides can see the bigger picture, and gain a viewpoint of the whole matter holistically.
Both sides see not only themselves or the other person, but the whole picture allowing them to pave a joint road 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 and stay 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 any one person.
Practicality: In order to solve our situation, I will be as cooperative as I can.
I will make sure the other side knows I have their best interest, and actually have their best interest too. I will not fake it! I would start by feeling into the other side, trying to ask myself "what it would be like to be them?".
I would try to understand why this person wants what they want, and try my best to give it to them without diminishing myself.
I would then ask guiding, empathic questions, trying to understand the grand picture more in depth. I will phrase them in a none demanding way, but always have my wishes in mind as well.
Examples can be:
"Look, this vacation is very important to me, however I understand you. What do you feel is the best solution for both of us to be content?" (stating my wishes, offering help)
"What can I do for you to feel better on this?" (empathy)
"How can I support you?" (empathy, cooperation)
"I want to do this for you, but I'm not sure how. I'm very worn out from work, and really need to unwind. What can you do for me here?" (Stating wishes, requesting help) All are viable questions coming from a higher observational point in which I see BOTH sides. All these questions open the path to true, cooperative dialogue with a common goal in mind.
In conclusion, the Triangle model is a more advanced way of negotiation. It can be applied in any type of relationship: business, friendships or romantic.
It transcends commonly used models like "compromising" or "no deal" bringing all sides of the table to an agreement that will strengthen the relationship, ultimately leading it to a level otherwise unreachable.
It is also sustainable on the long term, and keeps everyone happy and fulfilled.
I'll wrap it up with these few pearls of wisdom:
It’s easy to be selfish and trample others. It’s also easy to be a victim and be trampled by others. As we work to improve ourselves physically and mentally, we gain power. As the great Stan Lee says: "With great power – comes great responsibility. Stephen R. Covey divides the word “Responsibility” to “Response” and “Ability” – Your ability to respond to life's events well!
Bottom line – you can, and should take the lead on this – it is always up to you to bring the higher state of consciousness into the table, whether in a business negotiation, 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.
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