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Lesson One — Getting Your Way

I think it is fairly safe to say that we all want to get our way.If not all of the time, most of the time.If not most of the time, at least some of the time.Once in a while would also be nice.

There are many techniques that we use at various times to get our way.The first, but most socially unacceptable method, is the bashing method, followed closely by the threatening to bash method.These might seem to work, at least in the short run, but they also happen to be illegal.Even if they were legal, they generally do not last long because, sooner or later, you are going to run into someone that is better at it than you are, making you the bashee instead of the basher.In which case, you would no longer be getting your way.And, therefore, not happy.

Another popular method used to get our way, often used by children and teenagers, is the begging method, which quickly becomes the badgering method.Again, consisting of many repetitions of “please, please, please, please,” followed by even more “why nots.”This method really only works on family members.I am sure you are quite familiar with it and all of its variations.Its usefulness in helping you become a big success is highly questionable, and I don’t recommend it outside of your family residence.

Mom dragging boy

The pity method will also work from time to time.In using this method, you try to make people feel sorry for you so that they will give you what you want.The effectiveness of this method is usually short lived because once you get your way a few times, your target no longer feels sorry for you and it no longer works.

The only sure-fire way to get what you want is to give others what they want.Think about how revolutionary this is!To get what you want, you have to give them what they want.There is a common Latin phrase for this, at least it is one of the more common Latin phrases.”Quid pro quo“, which translates, “this for that.”Feel free to use it to impress your friends and teachers.Say, “What is the ‘quid pro quo‘?”When you ask that question in Latin, you are asking, “What do I get in return?” or “What’s in it for me, dude?”The Latin phrase sounds a little smoother, less harsh or hostile.Anyway, enough of the language lesson.

You may have heard that it is better to give than receive.I don’t know who started that rumor.Probably the guy that was always on the receiving end of things.Anyway, it is not always true, but it is always true that you must give in order to receive.This is the fundamental basis of the method that all successful people use to get their way.In the world of business we call this “negotiating” (the verb), or “negotiation” (the noun).

The simplest form of negotiation is when we trade baseball cards or trade away the fruitcake our mother packed for our lunch for a candy bar or a slice of pizza.In a sense, trading is the simplest form of negotiating.You give me this; I’ll give you that.The “quid pro quo“.This for that.

On the next level of sophistication, you don’t trade objects, but trade favors or chores or privileges or some other less tangible things.For example, if you do not like the fact that you are the only kid in the 11th grade that has to be home before dark, you could try to negotiate with your parents, or trade with them, for a less humiliating curfew.You could offer to wash the car, or take out the trash every hour or so for three weeks, or stop calling your little brother a butthead.You could offer to do all kinds of things, hoping your parents will give in.

Let’s look at another example.Suppose your friend, Luke, wants to borrow his mother’s car to take some friends to the movies.Naturally, the first step would be for Luke to politely ask permission, whereupon Luke’s mother would just as politely say “no.”More than likely, Luke would go right to the begging and pleading method, followed shortly thereafter by the badgering method.Well, if Luke is old enough to drive, he already knows that this is going nowhere fast.In fact, at the end of it all, he’ll probably end up getting grounded.Obviously, Luke has not yet read our book.

So, let’s pretend Luke has read our book, at least up to this point.Instead of begging and badgering, he jumps right into the trading method where he offers to do extra chores or stay home twice on some other evening, or if he is really desperate, offers to clean his room.Unfortunately, his mother is not budging.But why?

The problem is that Luke is offering things that he thinks are important to his mother in exchange for the use of the car, but he really doesn’t know what it is that his mother wants or why she is saying no.This is the main reason why most people do not get what they want when negotiating.They don’t know what the other person wants.In other words, Luke is not going to get what he wants until his mother gets what she wants.Most often, this process breaks down, as is the case here with Luke’s mother, because we do not know what the other person wants.To complicate things even further, it is quite possible that the other party, in this case, Luke’s mother, does not even know what she wants.


This complicates things but does not make the task impossible.This is probably enough for now, so why don’t we address this in the next chapter?