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Weekly Blog #52 - Life negotiations...

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

I'd like to share a few more insights that I've gathered from several lectures on success and motivation. This is a sort-of-kind-of continuation from last weeks blog, so I'd recommend reading that one as well. I'll leave the link down below.


Evaluate your time...

One thing I've learned from writing last week's blog is that we should not treat ourselves like servants but rather negotiate with ourselves the way you'd negotiate with someone you are presenting the opportunity to live a good life to. However, this seems to be hard for us since one way or the other we don't really like ourselves very much. So, what we basically do is cracking the whip and then procrastinate, then crack the whip again and procrastinate again... but doesn't that sound a bit boring and dull? I've realize that this is probably the most pathetic way of spending my time.

Think about it this way: you probably waste around 6 waking hours of your day. How would you value one hour of your time? 30 Euros? Maybe 40? Let's say 50. That's 300 Euros wasted per Day and about 2000 Euros per week and about 100.000 Euros per year. As long as you're still young, that's fine. Being young is equal to some form of "investment time", as long as you don't play video games all day but rather educate yourself so that what you do know multiplies its effects in the future. But if you're older, let's say between 30 and 40, do you ever ask yourself if the last hour of work or leisure-time spent has been worth 50 Euros? Would you pay that amount to someone else for what you did in the past hour? If not, you should probably do something else.

We don't have to know the exact value of one hour of our time. But we should have a rough estimate and we all have an intrinsic value or a feeling thereof attached to the work we do. We wouldn't move a finger if someone offered us 50 Cents for an hour of work. But we'd probably jump into action immediately if someone offered 1.500 Euros. However, this includes the assumption that your time on this very earth is worthwhile. If not, well, that's a different problem. Assuming that your time isn't worthwhile is worse than just sitting around in a state of responsibility-less bliss. What you do is you suffer existentially. But that can't be the solution, can it?

Life negotiations - the baseline...

I'd like to share a basic though on how "life negotiations" with yourself or others should work. You could see this as the very basic and minimal goal - so it might be more helpful for the rather pessimistic person.

You should tell yourself "I'd like to walk away from this negotiation not feeling miserable and resentful." I'd say this is the baseline. Think about this for a moment. How often have you left a conversation with your wife or husband, colleagues or even shop-clerk not feeling particularly good about what you've achieved? It's an important realization that this bad feeling is some form of resentfulness or anger. We've all been there and we repeatedly encounter these situations. And even a single occasion can ruin your day or even a whole week because we'll be reminded over and over of this conversation when we encounter the person we've had this conversation with again, especially if you've been negotiating with your wife, husband, family, maybe even with close friends.

In consequence, being miserable and resentful makes you hostile and then you start working to hurt your negotiation partner. Unless, of course, you want to hurt them - then they most likely happily return the favor. So, unless you want to exist in a place where you basically hit each other in the head repeatedly for 30 or so years you go right ahead. Even though I wouldn't consider this to be a particularly good way of living.

Jokes aside, the minimum pre-condition for a successful negotiation should be to walk away from that negotiation not feeling miserable, resentful and angry. By the way, this also helps you to know when or when not you have to say something to someone after a negotiation. If you walk away and feel resentful and angry, you probably still have something to say. It doesn't matter if you are right or wrong, but it is probably better to say it before you leave. However, as mentioned before: this is a very low bar.

Improving outcomes...

How about you want to walk away from a mutual negotiation with someone you want to live with for 30 years and you both feel, let's say, thrilled! Well, why not? You've got to aim for something, right? You could as well aim for that.

Let's imagine you'd negotiate with your boss for a new salary. You've got this damn job. How much would you have to get paid to be so bloody excited about the job that you would have a hard time walking away from it? Well, you should at least know what that number is. Then you could walk up to your boss' office and say: "Look, you like to have me around, right? I've been doing some thinking. I think, if you' pay me this amount of money, I'd be so thrilled to come to work you could hardly ever keep me away from here." And your boss might think: "Well, I'd actually really like someone to be around who would be so thrilled to work for me that I hardly can get rid of them."

But then, of course, he says: "Look, I can't give you all of that. But I can give you 75% and maybe we can re-negotiate in a year or so." Hey, good deal! Well, at least better than being a weasely coward that snivels about how awful your life is and walks away from the situation barely being able to tolerate the outcome of the negotiation. You choose! But I wouldn't recommend the latter.

If you've seen people doing this repeatedly, being resentful and angry after negotiations, you probably need to talk to those people and help them set a proper goal and build a proper strategy to achieve that goal in negotiations. Thinking about how to built a better life strategically sounds complicated, but approaching it by setting new goals in accordance to your personality traits (please refer to my previous blog for more info on that), building micro-habits and developing a certain set of skills and values to negotiate - it's really not that hard!

Imagine earning 50k now and wanting to make 150k in 3 years. Some would think that that couldn't happen. Well, no, not with that attitude! That's the first thing. Things are not going to happen if you don't believe that they can. If you don't ask people for the damn money or if you don't look for a better job nobody will come along and just shovel a boatload of money at you! You should rather ask yourself why you think it is impossible. Look at yourself. What the hell is wrong with you? Nothing much, right? As long as you are in a reasonably good state of physical and mental health. You could probably have what you want - if you'd figure out what it bloody was that you wanted, diligently pursued it and stopped whining about all the ifs and buts and unfairnesses that come along with living. I've been whining a lot about my life. Quitting that will help you to stop being dangerous to yourself and other people.


So, what's the verdict? Well, you can have what you want but you'd better be knowing what it is that you want and stop waiting around for the have-what-you-want fairy to show up at your doorstep... There's a lovely little line from Nietzsche (although I haven't really read much of his work): He who has a Why can bare almost any How.

Then you should go out there and talk to the people that you need to talk to. Set a minimum goal when entering negotiations with those people and don't walk away feeling miserable. Tell them your Why and they will help you with the Hows.

And then, step-by-step and by comparing yourself to who you've been yesterday and not to who someone else is today, you will realize that you can turn yourself into a better person with certain skills and abilities that you've admire in others. In this regard, you will also realize that it is important who you surround yourself with. But I will get to this chapter on networking another day...


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