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Seven Habits Deeper Issues: Why is Win-Win So Rare?

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We Dream of Win-Win

I know that I deeply want a life of ease, flow, joy, and success. I think we all do. Great love stories are win-win. Great success stories where industries are built that employ thousands and make the world a better place are win-win.

In myth, the Garden of Eden is win-win. Adam and Eve are happy, and so is God. Anthropologist Mircea Eliade expanded on this across all cultures in The Myth of Eternal Return. I believe that all of this is talking about our deep desire for the simplicity, ease, and joy of win-win.

The desire for a life that is a dance of joy and success is deep within each of us.

The reality of a life full of conflict: of us vs. them; of competitive business; of worker vs. boss; of war and competition is all around us.

Can we build a win-win world?

I don't know.

But I know I can't stop trying.

Win-Win Looks Good, But It Isn't Easy

Deeper Issues

As I write about The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I see that my readers are focusing on the more advanced articles. And there is a lot more to learn. So, I've decided to share my cutting-edge thinking in this series of articles about the Deeper Issues of Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

These articles are more personal and exploratory than the first series. Please read on, and we will learn and grow together. Now that's win-win!

Win-Win Looks Good, But It Isn't Easy

Win-win - that is, work and life arrangements where everyone ends up better off - sure sounds good on paper. But such efforts work out very rarely. That's part of why 95% of all new business ventures fail: the entrepreneur expects to have a great team, and it just doesn't happen. My life has shown me how rare win-win is, and it has started to show me why. I'm going to share what I've found with you.

Rare and difficult does not mean impossible. Once we see the size of the challenge, we can achieve our goal. People thought climbing Mount Everest was impossible. But if we take the problem apart, we can solve it: Low oxygen - bring oxygen; Cold - develop better winter gear; Dangerous ice - improve climbing equipment. Then the dangerous journey becomes possible. It's the same with win-win success. Achieving it is rare, and there are many pitfalls along the way. But it is possible. And the view from the top - the joy of win-win success and the tremendous value it offers everyone - makes it worth the effort.

So, while this article explores the challenges we must face, it is not the end of the story. I'll also be sharing articles on how to achieve win-win success in spite of the difficulties, starting with these.

The Rat Race

Seeking synergy and being disappointed was my rat race. What was yours?

Seeking synergy and being disappointed was my rat race. What was yours?

Wanting Win-Win and Not Finding It

My life story, at least the first 50 years, could be summed up as wanting win-win and not finding it. I hope the next 30 years will be different!

I've always wanted to work with people in ways that create good things together. When I was young, I thought everyone thought that way. Or, at least, I thought that if they heard about win-win, they would say, "Wow! A way out of the rat race! Let's do it!"

I was naïve. I had no idea about the depth of our conditioning and the self-defensive strength of our paradigms, or world-view. That is, I had no idea how deeply people are stuck inside boxes.

I thought at least in an office working on a business together, people would cooperate. My first eight years of college taught me how wrong I was. I worked five jobs, two at enlightened businesses, two at straightforward accounting firms, and one at a university. Win-win was nowhere to be found, not in the non-profit world, not in the for-profit world, and not in the world of education.

That changed, a little bit, when I was eight years out of college and went to work for the first world-class leader I met in the business world. His name was Robert Wedgeworth, and he was Dean of the School of Library Service at Columbia University. He was also the President of the International Federation of Library Associations, that is, the top librarian in the world. I ran the computer systems for the school, which had a half dozen administrative staff; a dozen faculty, and about 200 graduate students.

It was my first win-win work environment. We were all growing and learning together, and I was helping make that happen. At last, a win-win place to work. I was really happy. More than that, I was thriving and learning, and so was everyone around me.

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Six months later, Columbia University decided to shut down the entire school.

Even when win-win teams come into being, they often don't last long.

That's when I went into business for myself.

Win-Win is a Rare Bird

Win-Win relationships are as rare a sight as a pair of exotic Mynah birds.

Win-Win relationships are as rare a sight as a pair of exotic Mynah birds.

Why is Win-Win So Rare?

My life has shown me that lasting win-win relationships are very rare. But why? In short, win-win is like a top sports team - it has many people, each with a different role to play. Success depends on everyone doing well, and everyone working together, as well. Let's explore this further:

  • Win-Win Takes Two
  • It Takes a Village to Make a Movie
  • Fear and Scarcity
  • Distractions and Destruction
  • Awareness: Oops! We've Sprung a Leak
  • Interdependence Relies on Independence
  • Self-Care: Keeping Win-Win Going

Win-Win Takes Two

As we discussed in our introduction to the win-win worldview, win-win is one of four or five possible worldviews, or paradigms. Each of us operates out of one of these paradigms, and, of the five, win-win is the rarest. Most of the world thinks win-lose or lose-win.

But a win-win relationship requires two people who both think win-win. If I think win-win, and you think win-lose, then I will try to work with you. And it may work for a while. But, ultimately, your paradigm will get in the way. You will think that the only way for you to win is for me to lose. You won't keep win-win going.

If you think lose-win then you'll join up with me. But you'll be convinced that my win-win is all talk. You won't believe it is possible. It will seem like a trick to you, because you've only ever worked with people with a win-lose mindset, people who were, in the end, out to take advantage of you.

I believe this problem has actually gotten worse since Stephen Covey published The Seven Habits. Now, win-win is a good sounding buzzword. Lots of win-lose people say they're win-win. Some believe it, but have not done the real work of changing their paradigm. Others find saying "I'm win-win" is a great way to get advantage in a dog-eat-dog, win-lose world. They'll use it to come out on top in the end.

Either way, it won't work. Real win-win relationship requires two people, each of whom wants everyone to win, no matter what!

It Takes a Village to Make a Movie

This phrase comes out of Hollywood, but it's still true. If you really want to learn what this means, get the DVDs of the first two seasons of the TV show The Dead Zone and watch the bonus videos. They go into detail about how a wonderful TV show is made. One central point is that they have 30 departments, and each one, from the camera crew to the safety crew, must succeed for each episode to be great, stay within budget, and be delivered on time. So when they have a pre-production meeting, each person walks through what they will do in the coming week of filming. And they get the undivided attention of the other 29 people in the room. It's an amazing process of creative and business synergy.

Such talented, cooperative teams are incredibly rare. I've seen one other in action: Peter Jackson's cast and production team for The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.

These ventures are backed by millions of dollars. They hire the best, most careful, most creative people. That's what a real win-win team looks like.

I've tried to create such teams from scratch. But I've run into problems. You see, the people who could do well on such teams are already independent, talented, and capable. They can make their own dream real, or pick and choose their jobs. So, without an ability to deliver top salaries, how do I get such people? I've tried to do it through finding dedicated people and teaching them the 7 Habits. But that requires a lot of deep inner work where we confront our own limitations (the limitations of our paradigm, of the way we think), and most people won't do that just for a job.

Finding two win-win people is hard enough. Finding a team of win-win people who have the right talents for all the work to be done (whether it's a movie, a web site, or a brick-and-mortar business) requires a lot of cash and a lot of commitment.

Fear and Scarcity

When we try to build a win-win team without a lot of financial backing, we run into another problem. No one is win-win all the time. Even someone with a basically win-win worldview will switch back to win-lose when the money runs out.

One time, I was building a music business for a friend of mine, a brilliant and beautiful New World singer/songwriter. I had a great relationship with our publicist and we were just getting traction when the money ran out. I hoped she would devote a bit of time to our effort on spec.

I was completely honest with her and told her about the situation. She looked at me coldly and said, "Why didn't you tell me that you were going to run out of money?" Then she walked out.

Our relationship was win-win as long as it was easy. From her viewpoint, I betrayed her by running out of money. From my viewpoint, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

But people who will keep going when the going gets tough and the money runs out are few and far between. We're just not wired that way. We all have a survival brain, and, when money is scarce, people get scared. When we get scared, survival mentality kicks in, and we're back to win-lose.

What have we learned so far:

  • If you think win-win and have deep pockets, you can hire a team of talented, creative, dedicated win-win people who will stay win-win as long as they are getting paid.
  • Without deep pockets win-win is even rarer, because it takes a nearly enlightened mind and a lot of faith to stay win-win when the money runs out and fear, the mind of scarcity, and poverty consciousness kick in: Our natural instinct when we feel threatened is to fight for survival, that is, to return to win-lose.

Destruction and Distractions

Whenever we want to make something good happen, we want to make sure it's going to work. That is, we want to keep destruction away, and we want to keep distractions away.

So, let's say that two or more people get together to create a win-win relationship. This could be a business venture, a club or society, a friendship, or a relationship. When we do this, we are creating a new environment, a microcosm, a world within the larger world. And this world operates by different rules than the larger world. In our little world (microcosm), everything is good for everyone. We do only what works for both of us.

That doesn't mean that we are slavishly bound together. We are each independent. If I want do to something that doesn't interest you, then you can do something you like at the same time. Later, we get together and do something that we both enjoy, or that is profitable for both of us. Such win-win relationships are very free and very empowering.

Destruction: The World is Scared of Win-Win

And very different from what most of the world does most of the time. Do you remember the sappy old song, "You and me against the world. | Sometimes it seems like just you and me | against the world"? Well, that's what it is like.

And this is serious. The classic Bible verse (Mark 10:9) says "What God has joined together, let not man separate." Why this injunction? Because the world will try to pull apart what has come together in goodness, for success, for peace and joy.

Win-Win is powerful. And all around us, in our larger society, people think win-lose / lose-win. Thinking in this paradigm of conflict, they fear what is working, they fear what is successful. They feel threatened and want to tear it apart. This may not be conscious or intentional. But organizations that think win-lose will not keep win-win teams inside them. This is why Columbia University, fearful for financial reasons, closed down the School of Library Service. This is why companies seeking quarterly profits (out of fear and in competition) cannot build long-term success.

Even when the world does not go out of its way to destroy a win-win relationship, it will still make it difficult to maintain. Even when there is no destruction, there are still distractions.

Distractions Drain the Energy

So, say a couple has a win-win relationship. But what if there is a lose-win or lose-lose mother, father, or brother, or sister in the picture? Then that person, needing help, will call on the strength of the couple. Now, if it's a one-time emergency, that's fine. After all, that's what family is for - those who are well off help those in difficulty.

But lose-win and lose-lose are not emergencies, they are habits of thought. They are world-views, or ways of life. In that case, the person with the lose mentality will keep needing help, again and again. He or she will come in to stay, or will keep coming back. At this point, the energy needed to support this other person drains away the energy the couple needs for a win-win life together.

Or it may not be a family member. The problem often comes in the form of a job or a boss who is hostile or demanding. Coming home every day from a win-lose battle at work, how do we live win-win at home?

I've seen it the other way, too. I've seen win-win work environments where good people could not stay because they were married to a lose-lose partner. Their relationship kept pulling them away from work.

This problem happens in all relationships at many levels. Many years ago, I assisted a not-for-profit legal group in New York City that worked with people from Puerto Rico. They tried to hire bright, committed young Puerto Rican women as executive secretaries. They found highly capable candidates. But, again and again, it didn't work out. These women, independent themselves, were in a web of extended family that included a brother or a cousin who was in trouble in school, or using drugs, or getting involved with a gang. And the young women would be pulled away from work to take care of family. And this happened again, and again, and again, until the agency had to tell the women that they weren't doing enough work to keep their jobs.

We are all part of a larger web of practical and emotional relationships. As a result, it is very difficult to maintain long-term win-win relationships in the spider web of a win-lose society.

Awareness: Oops! We've Sprung a Leak

Here is another way of thinking about it. Win-win success is high energy. A win-win pair or team is like a high-pressure zone on a weather map. The win-lose energy all around it is a drain on that energy. Just as a low-pressure zone will pull the energy of high-pressure system in the weather, so the lose-win, low energy society will pull on the good energy of a win-win relationship, trying to take it for themselves.

If we're not careful, the surrounding win-lose environment will suck the life out of our win-win relationship or win-win team.

The Solution Begins With Awareness

If we are on a win-win team, there are ways to protect the energy we need to succeed. And all the ways of protecting our energy begin with awareness.

It's just like being on a sailing ship. A small leak in the hull is not a problem - if you catch it in time. Once we know the leak is there, we can plug it, or we can bail water, or both. But a leak below the waterline is deadly if we don't know it is there, if we don't catch it in time.

To maintain our win-win energy, we have to watch where our energy goes. Joe Dominguez, the author of the brilliant book Your Money or Your Life points out that money is something we trade our life energy for. Life energy can be measured in money, or it can be measured in hours of devoted, attentive work.

So if we want to maintain our win-win energy, we must pay attention to our focus, our time, and our money. We need to ask: Are we really showing up for work (or for this relationship)? Are we really present, or are we distracted? Are we putting in all the hours we need to? And we need to track our use of money in exactly the same way.

To say it another way, we need to be accountable for our attention, our focus, our commitment, our time, and our money. And we need to track it weekly and make corrections if we've sprung a leak, if our time, attention, or money is going to something other than the work towards our win-win goals.

With that thought, we've come full circle. Living to achieve our goals with good time planning, awareness, and prompt correction of our errors is being independent. And being independent is the victory we achieve by living the first three habits. Habit 4, Win-Win, depends on everyone on our team living Habits 1, 2, and 3.

Interdependence Relies on Independence

Seek win-win is Habit 4, the first of the Habits of Interdependence. But a team of interdependent people will only work in as much as everyone on the team is independent. Why? Why does interdependence rely on independence?

The answer is really very simple. An independent person is honest, reliable, and dependable. He does what he says he will do. She keeps her commitments.

Suppose I want to trim some trees. We're a team, and I'm counting on you to stay at the bottom of the ladder and prevent it from falling. I'm up on top of the ladder with a power saw. I'm not paying attention to you, that would distract me from my part of the job. I'm counting on you. If you wander away, I will fall and get hurt before I know you are even gone.

Let's go back to the example from It Takes a Village to Make a Movie. Thirty different teams have laid out their plans for the week, all working together, to shoot one episode. The week starts. If any one person doesn't do his or her job, the whole week can fall apart. If the cameraman doesn't put film in the camera; if the actors didn't learn their lines; if the stunt crew did not do a safety check; even if the catering van brings spoiled food - any of these could ruin the whole week and cost the show hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can see how, on a win-win team, each person must be reliable and dependable. Each person must define his or her own job clearly and get it done, whatever that takes.

In other words, each person must be independent, must be proactive (Habit 1); have clear goals that fit in with the team goals (Habit 2); and organize his or her work and do it on time (Habit 3).

Self-Care: Keeping Win-Win Going

Oops! There's more. Let's say I've built a team of capable people who all pull out their 7 Habits calendars, plan together, and deliver. That will work - but for how long?

Until one of us gets sick or tired or burned out.

We need Habit 7, Self-Renewal, too.

Our conclusion: Successful, ongoing win-win relationships require that each and every member of the team be living all six other habits. That is, a win-win team (or a win-win couple) is an effective team, living all seven habits of effectiveness.

Making Win-Win Real in Our Lives

So what have we learned? We've learned that win-win relationships are really difficult to maintain, and now we know why.

We must add one more very important fact: If we try for a win-win relationship and it doesn't work out, it's a real mess. We don't just miss our goals. We're working with a lot of energy. If we don't get it right, that energy has to go somewhere, and it's likely to blow up. It's just like driving a car. If we're driving a car at five miles an hour and something breaks down, we just stop. But if we decide to go for the gold and we're driving an Indy race car at 200 miles an hour, when something breaks, the whole car is torn apart, and maybe us with it. Win-win efforts are spectacular efforts. When spectacular, high-energy efforts fail, they create spectacular explosions, with us in the middle. If you want to understand why this is inevitable, you can read all about it in this article on positive and negative synergy.

Given the risks, do we have another option?

Yes, we do. We can just go for independence, and not even try for interdependence. Keeping this option open is essential. Stephen Covey calls this win-win-or-no-deal. That is, we'll go for win-win. But if it isn't possible, if the cost is too high, if things are going to blow up or fail again and again, we pull out and go back to doing it ourselves. And we always can - because we are independent.

If we do that, we will survive, and we will have the satisfactions of success and creativity.

But we will be missing out on a lot. We might write a novel, but we can't make a movie all on our own. We might have a good life, but we'll never know the joys of a deep, loving relationship.

The spirit calls for more. The heart calls for more.

Even when win-win seems impossible, we still want it. On a practical level, we know that win-win synergy is fifty times more powerful than working independently. We also know that our society reveres independence and doesn't see the value of teamwork and the deeper value of healthy family.

So it is right, when win-win is not available, to remain committed to personal success, to the victory of independence. But giving up hope for win-win and settling for independence would be a big mistake.

What then, is the best solution? I think it is to live independently and be open to win-win relationships. And I've discovered a bonus. I call them win-win moments. If you want to continue our journey together, read: Seven Habits Solutions: Independence with Win-Win Moments.

Have You Ever . . .


Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on June 05, 2013:

Hi Tamara: You're right on target. And someone who only sees opponents as a win-lose mentality. Win-win becomes a reality when two people each think win-win-or-no-deal, and will only cooperate where everyone involved gets ahead.

Tamara Wilhite from Fort Worth, Texas on June 05, 2013:

Win - win may be rare because rarely look at how to maximize gain for ourselves and an opponent, only reduce their losses or ours to the point that they relent.

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on May 24, 2013:

Hi Stella! I'm glad you've had good experience of win-win so far. May it continue for you! And I agree - it feels so great that I seem to pursue it almost endlessly, if it has happened once, hoping it will happen again.

StellaSee from California on May 24, 2013:

Win-win feels REALLY nice when it actually works out.. I haven't lived lifelong enough to say it's 'rare' but I agree it's hard because both parties have to feel equally motivated and passionate about their cause in order for it to work out, and it's so easy to feel jealous or feel intimidated by the other person. Great analysis on win-win!

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 30, 2013:

Hi PStraubie - thank you! One of the most rewarding parts of writing on HubPages is having companions for these deeper explorations.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 30, 2013:

Wow. An in depth look at a buzz phrase I have used for many years. You opened some new doors to that phrase that my mind knew but never mulled over seriously, I suppose.

Thanks for sharing this with us. I am bookmarking it to reread again and again.

Sending Angels to you today :) ps

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 04, 2013:

Thanks, Nick. Be sure to check out the follow-on article: The solution: Independence with Win-Win Moments.

Nickpetrou from Athens, Greece on April 03, 2013:

A great topic to start my day, made me think a lot about decisions that I've made so far .Yet another great and powerful article SidKemp, well done!

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 02, 2013:

Eiddwen, viewing your hubs and photos is always a win for me. If you want to see how that is a big part of my life, read the sequel to this hub,

Eiddwen from Wales on April 02, 2013:

A wonderful share;well informed and interesting.

Voted up and here's to wishing you a great day too.


Cat from New York on April 01, 2013:


Aww, well you made mine first ;-)

I like the name, it's cute!

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 01, 2013:

Thanks, Scream. You've just made my day - I'm so glad I could help.

Who knows? If we keep hanging out together, you may need to change your handle to CantUHearMeJumpForJoy!!!

Cat from New York on April 01, 2013:


Thanks, I will be resting easy tonight and ready and eager for the new day tomorrow. You put a smile on my face a warmth in my heart and thoughts in my mind. :-)

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 01, 2013:

Thank you, scream.

In Buddhism, the only level of belief or faith needed is enough trust to take one small step. We take that step in awareness, and discover the truth for ourselves.

Just be aware of what is (oh, look . . . a butterfly!) and discover your own truth.

Cat from New York on April 01, 2013:


Sounds like a deal, I'm heading over (don't time me, I think I have ADHD... oh look a bird!)

Don't you have to believe in something to be aware of it?

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 01, 2013:

Scream, I'm taking up your challenge. But you'll need to read a few of my hubs to get the idea. Start here , especially tip#2: Talk to Yourself. Some keys: It's all about awareness, not about convincing yourself of anything; Be aware; be outrageous; be loud; be silent; Listen!

Cat from New York on April 01, 2013:


Okay, between you and me (ha ha right?), my doctor wanted to me "talk to someone" for a couple of years after coming out of a really bad relationship and I kept thinking, "well, I already know what my problems are, I just don't know how to fix them". I didn't see how someone in argyle socks with perhaps a couple more Psychology classes than I had, was going to figure out in a few 40 minute sessions, what I had been trying to figure out for 15 years. But, I got to a point of desperation and decided to "seek help". So guess what, this Susan Sarandon look alike played some soft music and told me to go home and tell myself how great I was... Seriously? I mean, with the soft music and the celebrity thing going I was more compelled to kiss her than go home and convince myself how I was special... just joking. But think about it. Don't you think I had already thought about "thinking positive" and defining all the "wonderful" things about myself. When someone's self-esteem is in the dumps, they are beyond "convincing themselves they're great. So, needless to say, we stopped seeing each other and I still have problems ;-) ... insert googly eyes here.

Listen, if you can write a hub on How to... affirmations.. effectively, then I'll deliver and Thank You note in person to your Boca Raton mailbox! Sounds like a challenge to me.

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 01, 2013:

Maybe we should all tattoo the serenity prayer (written backwards) on our foreheads, then take a look at ourselves in the mirror!

The key to affirmations is to focus the mind in a prayer-like way and then say them aloud, and really listen, and hear the many responses from within. Now I have to write about using affirmations and Julia Cameron and The Artists Way!

Cat from New York on April 01, 2013:


Okay, you've convinced me; I'll check out Covey :-) It sounds like I would find it useful and certainly agree with much of it.

Yes, I know of the Serenity Prayer, I love it and it is beautiful. Perhaps I should get it tatooed on my hand because it is easier to recite than follow. I've never been good with self-affirmations either.

Woo-Woo is right, get that hub going!

Ha, thanks for the advice!

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 01, 2013:

You would really enjoy reading - very closely - Part 1 of Covey's 7 Habits (the first 76 pages, before Habit 1). Most people are very externally focused. Sometimes its perfectionism; more often, people have given up on life or themselves and do not have hope or feel empowered.

How do we stay sane in all of this. The Serenity Prayer, interpreted through the lens of the 7 Habits, helps:

Lord, grant me the courage to change what I can (in myself and my own life)

the patience to accept what I can't change (everybody else, and their lives)

and the wisdom to know the difference (and be the change I want to see in the world.

(Woo-Woo, I feel another hub coming on.)

As you work with this, you will want to talk more and scream less. Then you will love to talk while no one listens - the definition of a successful motivational speaker!

Cat from New York on April 01, 2013:


Ooh, that's good stuff, good stuff. I try to be conscious of who I am and staying true to my beliefs and values while looking for ways to improve and grow. BUT... doesn't it get discouraging when other's think that they are at the top rung of the ladder? You cannot improve if you see nothing to improve on. I'm not suggesting that people think they are perfect, but sometimes it's easier to fall into the norm and not reflect on the self; that requires energy. I think a lot of people neglect their emotional/psychological/mental health and well being. It's like my son's homework; he's great at making sure all of his ditto sheets and essays are completed because they need to be physically handed in. When it comes to reading I have to coax him because that is not something that physically needs to be handed over. I think people get up and go to work, make meals, do chores, etc, because they are physical tasks that must be completed. Self-reflections and thoughts require "unecessary engery" and even more, I know that a lot of people prefer to avoid the "uncomfortable". Sometimes when people are aware of issues or problems they would rather push them further back and not address them because addressing them is an admittance of something flawed. I am the first one to admit that I'm not perfect, as hard as I might try. I am really not a judger of people and I think that everyone has room for growth. Unfortunately, it seems that many people are more eager to point out the flaws of others than recognize the flaws of their own.

Moving into video? Awesome, keep me posted with your debut!

Me, motivational speaker; yeah right, I love to talk... people just don't like to listen. :-)

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 01, 2013:

Hi again, Scream!

I'm really enjoying this conversation. What you wrote is right on target, only now, I'm going to turn it on its head. Each of us is the computer and the programmer. The only person who can reprogram me is me, and the only person who can reprogram you is you. Therefore, all we can do is reprogram ourselves. But this is the essential proactive, effective act. "Reprogram myself" is the same as Gandhi saying (and living), "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Trying to program others is manipulation. It is ineffective and even violent.

Leading by example is all that we can do. If you haven't read them already, please do read my core foundation 7 Habits hubs. I think you will feel a lot better and have less of a tendency to put a negative spin on things when you stand out more as an individual. When you live the way you want everyone to live, Scream a bit, and then let others live their lives and learn for themselves, you'll be doing all you can do, and you'll feel better along the way.

Motivational speaker? Been there, done that. Now, I'm moving into video. Keep an eye out: Hubbers will see me first.

And by the way - wouldn't you be a great motivational speaker???

Cat from New York on April 01, 2013:


I think it would do a world of good if people were to have their thinking reprogrammed. We get what we want to out of everything we touch and unfortunately, we don't always see things how they are intended to be seen or how they would be most beneficial. I think we are stuck in a bit of a "rut" if you will, but I will do whatever I can to get myself and anyone near me above the ground.

I think you should consider going into motivational speaking! ;-)

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 01, 2013:

Hi Again, Scream: You're right on target here, too. One of the unfortunate results of the fact that 25 million people read The 7 Habits (but few did anything with it) is that the world is full of jargon from the book that is not at all what Covey was saying. Strangely, some of his terms, such as win/win and proactivity, end up being used to mean the exact *opposite* of everything that he is saying.

I'm glad you are open to growing and learning. You may want to check out the original series. Your scream is understandable. You are screaming because it seems like we're all stuck in the box of our old thinking. And almost everyone is. I hope to see you bursting the box, leaving negativity behind, and dancing for joy - loudly, as always for you - really soon!

Cat from New York on April 01, 2013:


Thank you and I will certainly check out your other hub(s). I've got my ideas but I think I tend to look at things from the negative side. It seems that whenever I hear someone say "well that's a win-win situation" it has only come as the result of a debate and two parties fighting for their own terms, but certainly not always the case.

I like your theories much better than mine. I love the idea that a true win-win is when both parties are at 100% satisfaction rather than 50/50.

Aweswome, thank you!

Sid Kemp (author) from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 01, 2013:

Hi Scream! You've got some awesome thinking here, thank you

As for your desire for more, I've also just published the partial solution to the problem presented in this article in Seven Habits Solutions: Independence With Win/Win Moments.

I hadn't made the connection between the desire for quick fixes and the failure of win/win, but I think you are right. The belief in the possibility of a quick fix is unprincipled in two ways. First, it tries to defy the principle of "as you sow, so shall you reap," also known as the law of growth or the law of karma. Second, it is fearful and selfish, fitting into the assumption that the world is win-lose.

A note: In Covey's terms, a 50/50 solution is not win-win, it is a compromise, which is lose-lose. Anyone who thinks that a compromise is the best that we can get has simply never experienced the truth of win-win, where 1 + 1 = 100, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Keep reading, growing, and screaming!

Thank you so much!

Cat from New York on April 01, 2013:


I really like this hub and the title alone left me needing more; I wondered if you were going where I thought you were with it. Yes and no. You put a lot of thought and energy into this hub and it would be awesome if the whole world read it. I found myself nodding much of the way through. I think part of our problem is we are "instant gratification, quick thinking, sometime selfish" kind of people. When I say we, I mean other people ;-)

I think that because of the lack of time invested in relationships and situations, people are short changing themselves and not leaving time or room for 50/50 or win/win. I think that a lot of people want as much as they can get out of any situation and 100% would be ideal. Unfortunately, that takes away from the other party. It seems to me that win/win often works out as a last resort, when two parties can't get as much as they want they settle until the reach that 50/50. "Okay, well this isn't as great as I would've liked, but it sure beats losing". Win/win shouldn't be settling, it should be the main objective from the start.

Voted up and useful

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