The problem with “winners” is that the “losers” almost invariably seek revenge and retaliation.
And when the “losers” eventually become the “winners,” the process recapitulates itself, ad infinitum.
Human beings seem to innately discern, very quickly, what is deemed to be “fair” or “not fair.”
When someone believes they have been treated “not fair” the feelings engendered often are to “get even.”
By “leveling-the-playing-field” and “making the other guy pay” we seek to “even the score.” Of course, a “tied-score” gets all combatants to “even” or the equivalent of being “zero-ed-out.”
At “zero,” there can be no compelling justification for “the thrill of victory” or “the agony of defeat.”
Recall that when the “score is tied” all players are “even.”
However, the moment one side has a “winning advantage,” the other side is at a “losing disadvantage.”
Hence, the famous clarion call: “desperate times call for desperate measures.”
It is my thesis that in each and every conflict, everyone is always right from their respective, point-of-view.
It doesn’t mean they are right, nor does it make them right, just that from their point of-view, they are right!
So if everyone is right, then who is wrong?
Is it the side with better arguments or the side with better armaments?
It occurs to me that when everyone is right, then no one can be wrong.
Furthermore, it is equally possible that the opposite holds true.
But if so, then whichever side insists they must be right is, also indicting itself, at the same time, as wrong!
Especially, if everyone is right from their own ’unit of relevance.”
We need to stop the madness!
We need to re-architect the structure of conflict, altogether.
I propose a “win-win” paradigm, whereby no party “loses” that which they can not and must
The goal is for each “side” to subordinate pure self-interest to a “higher principle” which is “fair” and “honorable” from all points of view.
For this model to have value, the values of key stakeholders must seriously be listened to, heard and responded to...
Utilizing the same words and passionate feelings which fuel their initial and subsequent communications.
After “our side” communicates an understanding of the opposing point of view which is acceptable to the “other side”...
Then “our side” gets to communicate our point of view.
Worst case scenario would result in an ongoing “communication” as opposed to any “lack of communication.”
Best case scenario would result in each “side” “blinking” long-enough for tangible “concessions” to be made.
“Win-win” is then redefined as neither side losing that which they can not and must not lose.
However, there must be a multilateral commitment to “giving up” or “letting go” of something important for each of the parties.
After all, is this not the essential premise of what we mean by compromise?
“No side” gets everything they want, but “each side” gets some of what they need, at least, some of the time.
All parties “win” because no party “loses” so there are no “winners” and also there are no “losers.”
No need for revenge and retaliation, no need for “war” and no need for history to keep repeating itself again and again.
When conflict is predicated upon a stage of “fairness,” “honor,” and “justice for all,” then dialogue continues and mutual discussion ensues.
Peace results and obtains from a sustained commitment by all sides to compete with one another by cooperating.
When conflict is predicated upon the stage of “unfairness,” “dishonor,” and “injustice for all,” then dialogue ceases and mutual hostility ensues.
War results and obtains from a sustained commitment by all sides to cooperate with one another by competing.
The choices are clear: “compete to cooperate” or “cooperate to compete!”
What do you really win when you win?
Because today’s “winners” are tomorrow’s “losers;”
Because today’s “losers” are tomorrow’s “winners.”
“Winners” and “losers,” “losers” and “winners”...
And then the game never ends... unless and until it does!
Author Note: Dr. Larry B. Gelman is a Clinical Psychologist and a Personal Mentor
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Dr. Larry B. Gelman, Dr. Glenn B. Gelman, All Rights Reserved.