Habit number four in the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Dr. Stephen R. Covey is Think Win-Win. This may be the most difficult habit to do and to write about in our current climate.
Think Win-Win is about cooperation. It is about each person having mutual benefit. Agreements are made to support mutual benefit to both sides.
As I was contemplating what I would write, I could not help but think of today’s climate of very rigid sides of issues. It seems that many feel that any cooperation is unacceptable. It appears that many feel that mutual benefit is not possible.
In our current climate it seems that many feel there must be a single winner – one viewpoint must win without consideration of any other point of view. And this is on ALL sides of the issues. There is no win-win in the conversations I have heard lately.
To think win-win, a person needs these three characteristics:
- Integrity: Standing by your true feelings, values, and commitments.
- Maturity: Being able to express your feelings and ideas with courage AND consideration for the ideas and feelings of others.
- Abundance Thinking: Believing that there is enough for everyone.
In the second characteristic, consideration for the ideas and feelings of others is where I think in our current climate we struggle. Tolerance is a word that many use quite freely. Many claim to be tolerant of all people, all views, all beliefs, however, some of those very same people are intolerant of any view different than their own.
You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Meaning, you cannot have it both ways. If you claim to be all tolerant, then you must actually be able to consider the ideas and feelings of others with maturity and courage and believing that if everyone has some mutual benefit it makes for a happier society.
Unfortunately, our society has become a win at all costs and make sure the other person loses endeavor. There is no mutual benefit, only power and domination of singular viewpoints or nothing. This results in everyone being the loser resulting in distrust and resentment.
You can apply the think win-win habit to every aspect of your life. In your work life, in your relationships, in your family, in every aspect where mutual agreements are necessary and beneficial.
This habit can be very difficult to implement. It can be very hard to let go of the idea that if someone else wins you lose. With mutually beneficial agreements and courageous, empathetic discussion, both parties can win and perhaps reach a deeper understanding, peace, and happiness.
“In the long run, if it isn’t a win for both of us, we both lose. That’s why win-win is the only real alternative in interdependent realities.” ~ Dr. Stephen R. Covey