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We’ve all heard, “let’s split the difference” and “Why can’t Congress compromise?”  In other words, why don’t we just live our lives getting much less than we can?

Compromise is supposed to be the adult thing to do.  For me, compromise is an evil we need to get out of our life.  We can create a different way of doing things and if we can’t we shouldn’t just settle.  Compromise is just settling.

This doesn’t mean you should go for a win at someone else’s expense.  That’s what our friends on Wall Street did in 2008.  You also shouldn’t make yourself into a victim and allow yourself to lose while someone else wins.

Stephen Covey in his new book The 3rd Alternative talks about moving to a different reality.  One where we go past just settling.  In this world we don’t go for compromise as the best we can do, we go for a different solution all together.

Part of getting to a new alternative means letting go of pre-conceptions that we live with Part is thinking outside the box and part is being able to work with change.  All three make many people uncomfortable.

Those who many consider supremely successful in life choose a third alternative.  Both Gandhi and Mandela found a third alternative, both could have chosen to be bitter with their circumstances, and for a short period of time both did choose bitterness.

Then a new paradigm started to emerge for both.  A new way of looking at things and a new way of dealing with situations that at best were challenging.  It’s this new way of seeing and being in the world that made a huge change not only for Gandhi and Mandela, but also for millions of people in their respective countries.

We certainly can use some 3rd alternative thinking in this country Both political parties are stuck.  They have a position and the only acceptable solution seems to be total destruction of the other side. 

The other side isn’t evil.  It just has a different worldview.  If instead of excoriating people across the aisle we took time to understand and really listen to what they’re saying we might be able to come up with a 3rd alternative.  That alternative is not compromise; it’s something completely new and different.

What are the 3rd alternative opportunities in your life?  Do you ever think about coming up with a completely new way of looking at your world?

Josh Patrick

We have a resource center that’s dedicated to transition or change issues.  Often when you’re going through change, you have a great 3rd alternative opportunity.   Click on the button below and you’ll be taken to this part of our website where you’ll be able to download articles of interest on change and transitional issues.


Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

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Topics: people in transition, business relationship management, enterprise value, collaboration

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