19.07. 2017

Let's be fwends: Make sure everyone wins

Let's be fwends: Make sure everyone wins
Life is not a zero-sum game, but treating it as such is incredibly common - and dangerous.
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Have you ever been part of a zero-sum game? If you ever rode your bike on a road, you were.

A zero-sum game is every situation in which one persons gains are another persons losses.
Think of cake.
No, wait, don’t think of cake. Stop. No cake. Think about this newsletter. Focus.

That was a close one.

In any case, zero-sum situations happen when there is a finite resource, and everyone involved values that resource in exactly the same way. So when someone else gets more of that resource, you get less. Their gain, your loss.

The way roads are designed creates a zero-sum mindset for most road users. After all, public space and funding is limited, so when someone else takes up space on the road, there’s less space for me, right?

The result is a competitive zero-sum game in which participants tend to think that whenever someone else gains, they lose.
Now, in which type of road user is this mentality more dominant than in others?

Right. Car drivers.

Photo Source: Wired. A dizzying view of a bicycle graveyard in china.
A recent study investigated the relationship between drivers opinion of cyclists and behavior that might endanger them, and came to shocking, albeit not surprising conclusion:

 The lower your opinion of cyclists, the less likely you are to actually see them.
Not yield, not take care, but to literally see them.

Speculation is that zero-sum games tend to amplify perceived or real hierarchies, and the urge of car users who think lowly of cyclists to enforce this social hierarchy turns on a blind spot in them.

Negotiate for the win

Image Source: http://www.comicartfans.com/gallerypiece.asp?piece=989552

Even if you want to avoid the zero-sum mentality and make a deal that leaves everyone a winner, you’ll still have to negotiate to avoid being the only one on the table who’s not happy after the deal is done.

Here is a great article on how to negotiate, and more importantly: how to prepare for a negotiation.

To sum it up: Before you enter any negotiation, you will need to know three things:

  1. What would be the most positive outcome of the negotiation? It shouldn’t be outlandish, but it shouldn’t be ‚realistic‘ either. Like, if you think you can get small raise, go for a medium one.
  2. Your ‚reservation point‘. You will reject offers below this value. If you shoot for a medium raise, and think a small raise is realistic, then maybe a tiny one is your reservation point. Below that, you simply refuse. But this only works if you know the next part:
  3. What your alternative is. Never, ever go into a negotiation without knowing exactly what you’re going to do if the offer is below your reservation point. It is your only leverage. If you don’t have that, you will have to take whatever is on the table, because, what else could you do?

If you know these three things, you will never be disappointed with the outcome of a negotiation: If the deal lies between your aspiration and your reservation point, you got what you wanted.
If it lies below, you know what you’ll do next.


A thing that doesn’t fit all too well in the topic of this issue - but maybe it does, I’m not sure - is this gem:


Image Source: https://society6.com/product/unicorn-poop-1o6_print#s6-1717682p4a1v45
Simply too good not to share.

No need for doping* - everyone’s a winner baby, that’s the truth!

* I know that it's not really doping, and the word is a sensitive issue with professional athletes, but it still. It's funny.

And what if you failed?

I think this is from Manic Mansion?
You can always correct most situations with an honest, earnest apology. This, too, can turn nearly any bad thing into a win-win situation.

Scroll down a little in the linked article, and you'll find a handy list of things your apology should contain:
  1. An expression of regret — this, usually, is the actual “I’m sorry.”
  2. An explanation (but, importantly, not a justification).
  3. An acknowledgment of responsibility.
  4. A declaration of repentance. 
  5. An offer of repair.
  6. A request for forgiveness.

I think 3 and 5 are the most important, and most overlooked parts of a good apology. I know my apologies were lacking sometimes, and if I’ve offered you a luke-warm apology or one of the famous non-apologies (like ‚I’m sorry if I offended you') in the past, I’m sorry about that. I didn’t know better, even though I should have. I won’t do it again, and if there’s anything I can do to make it right, please let me know. I hope you can forgive me.

See what I did there?

And just in case you really, really, really need to apologize to someone but also want to be seen as hip and trendy, here’s a subreddit for that:


Still no luck?

If apologizing fails, too, well, maybe just pull the ole CTRL-X trick and vanish:

That’s it from this edition of Let’s be Fwends. If you - like me - want to add 'Make everything a win for everybody' to your daily ToDo list, please high-five yourself for the amazing idea. If you don't, high-five yourself because you deserve it anyhow. 😻
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