You Can’t Win Them All/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on November 5, 2016


I recently learned that a one-time client chose not to come back to me for a mediation. What did that experience teach me that I could apply to my career as a mediator? I believe it is this: You can’t get what you want all the time. In fact, a hitter is often an all-star for batting safely 30% of the time. That means superlative behavior in baseball is defined as one who fails ONLY 70% of the time. In any negotiation, a party needs to realize that they cannot get what they want in the total sense. They will have to settle for a partial victory. The winner of this Presidential election may get less than 50% of the voters wanting her/his Presidency. But that is good enough for the first-place finisher.

The comedian Steven Wright, in sardonic humor, once noted: “You can’t have it all. Where would you put it?” Being realistic is a key to much success in life. Even Win-Win does not mean you each win 100% of what you want, as this is an impossibility. Indeed, you can’y win them all. Decide what is truly important for you and pursue the dream. But you can’t win them all; where would you put it? Be happy for partial victories when that is all you can attain.

Mediate don’t litigate.