Where Are We?/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on September 24, 2016


The former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, was fond of telling his charges: “We are where we are–not where we want to be.” In a negotiation, it is easy to talk about what could have been and what should have been. While the review of the past has some relevancy in any negotiation, the parties still need to be cognizant that they are where they are. Real discussion that is aimed at finding a solution can only come if the parties begin from “where they are”. As President Kennedy once acknowledged at a press conference: “Life is not always fair”. Being realistic and trying to find common ground with the other side makes sense. Blaming the other and portraying yourself as a victim will yield little that is positive.

This advice is true in dealing with life’s challenges, as well. You are where you are. You are not necessarily where you want to be. Acceptance of this reality is a positive step forward. From this point, much more becomes possible.

Mediate don’t litigate.