Choose a Win-Win Attitude!
Developing a Win-Win Attitude
Stay YELLOW! I yelled as I sped down the left turn lane.
Two car lengths still separated me from where I would turn when the light changed to red.
Of course there’s no way of knowing what the waiting drivers thought as I screeched around the corner.
I took my foot off the gas and slowed to a more reasonable speed as I traveled away from the intersection. As I glanced around, I hoped not to see any traffic cops. I didn’t. That was close!
I forgot about the incident. Then, several weeks later, I received a letter from the Magistrate Court that oversees Traffic violations. Various Attitudes filled my mind as I read the traffic court summons. I carried the letter to a cork bulletin board behind my door where I pin things I want to keep track of. I viciously stabbed a tack through the mailed letter, pinning it to the board. Traffic cameras!
By the time my court date arrived, I had a plan… (Win-Win). Optimistically I shared my “Winners Don’t Quit” website with the judge, depicting the value I have been to students and their communities. I also suggested that providing a couple of my “Winners Don’t Quit” presentations to public schools in lieu of being fined would be of more value to the community than my paying the price of the tickets.
The traffic judge I had imagined in the beginning was way worse than the very reasonable judge I faced.
I understood that his job was to apply the law and oversee the legal process in courts, ensuring that hearings are conducted fairly and that the court safeguards the legal rights of all parties involved.
Many people assume that the judge can not be influenced one way or the other. This is not the case. The judge has the final say, his or her word is law so to speak, but, as my case proves, they may be influenced by a good Attitude to negotiate a solution that is that is a “Win/Win”.
Of course the fine must reflect the seriousness of the offence. Road traffic cases are frequently tried in magistrate courts and special sentencing considerations can apply.
Since I hadn’t had a ticket in over ten years, I found out that I qualified for “special sentencing considerations”. Although I hadn’t realized that my good driving record qualified me for special consideration it was news I found quite pleasant to hear, since it influenced the judge to really listen to my Win-Win compromise.
Grow a Win-Win Mindset…
In Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit 4 discusses the power of a Win-Win Attitude. He tells that thinking Win-Win isn’t about being nice, nor is it a quick-fix technique. It is a character-based code for human interaction and collaboration.
Further, he tells us that most of us learn to base our self-worth on comparisons and competition. We think about succeeding in terms of someone else failing—that is, if I win, you lose; or if you win, I lose.
Life becomes a zero-sum game. There is only so much pie to go around, and if you get a bigger piece, there is less for me; it’s not fair, and I’m going to make sure you don’t get anymore. To some degree, we all play the game, but how much fun is it really?
Win-Win sees life as a cooperative venture, not a competitive one. Win-Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-Win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. We both get to eat the pie and it tastes pretty darn good!
Steven Covey defines Win-Win as a frame of mind that approaches conflicts with a Win-Win Attitude and possesses three vital character traits:
- Integrity. Integrity means treating everyone by the same set of principles. Conforming reality to our words – keeping promises and fulfilling expectations. Being loyal even to those who are not present.
- Maturity. Maturity is the balance between courage and consideration. Expressing feelings and convictions with courage balanced with consideration for the feelings convictions of another person requires maturity, particularly if the issue is very important to both parties.
- An Abundance Mentality. An abundance mentality flows from a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is a paradigm that states that this is a world of plenty and that there is enough for everybody. It results in the sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.
There are a all kinds of Attitudes I could have gone to that hearing with, most of them angry and defensive. Choosing a cooperative Attitude combined with having a good driving record proved to be of immense value.
In all my years of choosing Attitudes, my most significant discovery has been that having an Attitude that benefits everyone involved, is not only better for everyone involved, it’s especially better for the holder of that Attitude.
The judge agreed. He sternly warned me to always obey traffic laws, but he let me do a couple school presentations instead paying the tickets confirming my hope that having a win-win Attitude is the best way to negotiate.
Many people think in terms of either/or: either your’ nice or you’re tough. Win-Win Attitudes requires that you be both. It is a balancing act between courage and consideration.
When and if you have a Win-Win Attitude, you’re empathic. When speaking and living in a way that takes other people’s feelings into account, cooperative instead of competitive, you’re considerate and sensitive and confident. This is the essence of a Win-Win