Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thinking Win-Win

I’m a big fan of Win-Win situations. Or rather Win-Win outcomes to situations, since the same situation may have multiple outcomes, not all of which are Win-Win.

Now, I’m not referring specifically to monetary Win-Win situations. I’m not really sure if these even exist in the first place, or whether -- quite like energy -- a monetary gain somewhere necessarily implies a monetary loss somewhere else. For example, two people could stumble across a bag of cash on the street, which they then decide to split among themselves. Win-Win. For those two guys, at least. But I suppose it’s a Lose outcome to the person who dropped the bag there in the first place. Of course, the guy who lost the bag may have had some incentive for doing so, and hence ends up winning too. But we shall not bother ourselves with such situations.

What I’m trying to focus on over here are emotional Win-Win situations. Interactions where all parties concerned walk away “feeling happy”. These, of course, are not only quite possible but actually pretty commonplace. I’ve used the vague term “feeling happy”, and since different people have different causes of -- and even definitions for -- “happiness”, it’s not too difficult for many people to all feel happy with their role in the interaction.

I’ll describe one such kind of Win-Win situation, which I’ve sometimes come across. Imagine person A who speaks only English and French and person B who speaks only English and Hindi. Now for normal conversation, the two will use English. Let’s say at one point, A’s a little bit cheesed off about something B’s done. So he swears at him in French. B, obviously, doesn’t get a word A is trying to say. But from A’s tone he realizes that he’s being cursed. So he curses back at A in Hindi. And back and forth for a little while. Finally, they both decide to stop each feeling that he’s got the better of the situation. Win-Win.

Moral:- Next time you’re angry at someone, hurl invectives at the person in a language he or she doesn’t understand.


karen13 said...

Great in theory, but for some reason hard to put in practice. :D

My friends use konkani bad words most of the time but when we went on a trip to Delhi, when they should have stuck to Konkani, they kept cursing in Hindi.
Trust me it's not a good idea to curse someone in their own tongue, on their territory, when u don't have much back-up!

Rachel said...

I am currently working on a win-win situation where I switch my son's loft bed with someone who has a regular twin bed frame and box spring.
She wants the loft bed because it is cool and my son hates it because it is too high.
If it works