Do You Know What You Want?/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on September 25, 2013

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Harvard University has made available a report from its Program on Mediation entitled “5 Common Business Negotiation Mistakes”. (You may get information on this at http://www.PON.Harvard.edu/about) Negotiation is something that is involved in all commercial and family-related mediations. The mistake that struck me as most relevant is the mistake of not knowing what you truly want. What is it that will make you happy or sad? People often overestimate the impact that certain events will produce in making them emotionally happy or emotionally sad. The implications of this on decision-making and negotiating is quite profound.

The paragraph in this report that struck me as being “spot on” was the following:

“Yet a keener understanding of what will make you happy can help you make
better choices in negotiation. In particular, keep in mind that vivid fears and desires
as well as obvious differences between options are likely to capture your attention.
Balance these concerns by factoring other issues that will affect your happiness
into the equation. Research shows that money does not correlate strongly
with lasting happiness, for instance, but that friendships and other social ties do.”

How many individuals have opted to get divorced so they could be happier in life, only to find that they are still unhappy post-divorce? How many new homeowners move into their new residence and then decide they miss the old one? As the adage goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, all roads will take you there.” Consider all options when making major decisions. A trained mediator will insure that the proper thought and insight will be brought to bear before momentous decisions are made. Indeed, what is it that you really want?

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