“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”

Think win-win is an attitude toward life, a mental frame of mind that says I can win, and so can you. It’s not me or you, it’s both of us. Think win-win is the foundation for getting along well with other people. It begins with the belief that we are all equal, that no one is inferior or superior to anyone else, and no one really needs to be.

Win-Win is the belief that everyone can win. It’s both nice and tough all at once. I won’t step on you, but I won’t be your doormat, either. You care about other people and you want them to succeed. But you also care about yourself and you want to succeed as well. Win-Win is abundant. It is the belief that there is plenty of success to go around. It’s not either you or me, it’s both of us. It’s not a matter of who gets the biggest piece of pie. There’s more than enough food for everyone. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet. Win-Win always creates more.

The following are all examples of the Win-Win attitude:
You recently got a promotion at work. You share the praise and recognition with all of those who helped you get there.
You were just made a manager at your place of work and make up your mind not to develop a “superiority complex.” You treat everyone the same, including your subordinates.
You want to get dinner. Your wife wants to see a movie. You jointly decide to download a movie and order in food to eat at home.

How To Think Win-Win

So how can you do it? How can you be happy for your friend when he just got a huge promotion and you didn’t? How can you avoid feeling inferior to the girl next door with those perfect cheekbones? How can you find solutions to problems so that both of you can win? Here are two clues: Win the private victory first and avoid the tumour twins.

Win The Private Victory First

It all begins with you. If you are extremely insecure and haven’t paid the price to win the private victory, it’ll be difficult to think Win-Win. You’ll still be threatened by other people. It’ll be hard to be happy for their successes, or to share recognition or praise. Insecure people get jealous very easily. This chat between Johan and his girlfriend is typical of an insecure person:

“Amy, who is this dude who keeps liking all of your posts on Facebook?” asks Johan.
Who? You mean Jan? He’s an old friend from Primary School,” says Amy.
“Why do you respond to all of his comments?”
“Because he’s my friend. I’ve known him for a long time.”
“Then why’s he all over you like that?” rants Johan.
“Johan, it’s not a big deal. He liked, like, two pictures.”
“Well he should leave you alone.”
“Johan, you already know that you’re they guy that I wanna be with. My guy friends are just that – friends.”

Johan needs to start with himself. As he is honest with himself, takes responsibility for his life, and gets a plan in place, his confidence and security will increase and he’ll start enjoying other people instead of being threatened by them. Personal security is the foundation for thinking Win-Win.

Avoid The Tumour Twins

There are two habits that, like tumours, can slowly eat you away from the inside. They are twins and their names are competing and comparing. It’s virtually impossible to think Win-Win with them around.

Competition is healthy when you compete against yourself, or when it challenges you to reach and stretch and become your best. Competition becomes dark when you tie your self-worth into winning or when you use it as a way to place yourself above another. W. Timothy Gallaway said it perfectly:

“When competition is used as a means of creating a self-image relative to others, the worst in a person comes out; then the ordinary fears and frustrations become greatly exaggerated. It is as if some believe that only by being the best, only by being a winner, will they be eligible for the love and respect they seek. Children who have been taught to measure themselves in this way often become adults driven by a compulsion to succeed which overshadows all else.”

Let’s use competition as a benchmark to measure ourselves against, but let’s stop competing over boyfriends, girlfriends, status, friends, popularity, attention, and just start enjoying life.

Comparing is competition’s twin and it’s just as cancerous. Comparing yourself to others is nothing but bad news. Why? Because we’re all on different development timetables. Socially, mentally, and physically. Since we all bake differently, we shouldn’t keep opening the oven door to see how well our cake is rising compared to our neighbour’s, or our own cake won’t rise at all.

Life is like a great obstacle course. Each person has their own course, separated from every other course by tall walls. Your course comes complete with customised obstacles designed specifically for your personal growth. So what good does it do to climb the wall to see how well your neighbour is doing or to check out his obstacles in comparison to your own? That’ll just distract you from your own obstacles.

Stop comparing yourself. It can become an addiction as strong as drugs or alcohol. You don’t have to look like or dress like a model to be good enough. You know what really matters.

The Fruits Of The Win-Win Spirit

This Win-Win stuff’s contagious. If you’re big-hearted, committed to helping others succeed, and willing to share recognition, you’ll be a magnet for friends. Think about it. Don’t you just love people who are interested in your success and want you to win? It makes you want to help them in return, doesn’t it? The Win-Win spirit can be applied to just about any situation, from working out major conflicts with your team to deciding who washes the dishes.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to find a Win-Win solution. Or someone else may be so bent on Win-Lose that you don’t even want to approach him or her. That happens. In these situations, don’t get ugly yourself (Win-Lose) or get stepped on (Lose-Win). Instead, go for Win-Win or No Deal. In other words, if you can’t find a solution that works for both of you, decide not to play. No Deal. For example, if you and your girlfriend or boyfriend just can’t develop a Win-Win relationship, it might be best to go for No Deal and part ways. It sure beats going for Win-Lose, Lose-Win or worst of all, Lose-Lose.

Watch How It Makes You Feel

Developing a Win-Win attitude is not easy, but you can do it. If you’re thinking Win-Win only 10 percent of the time right now, start thinking it 20 percent of the time, then 30 percent, and so on. Eventually, it will become a mental habit, and you won’t even have to think about it. It will become part of who you are.

The true test of whether or not you are thinking Win-Win or one of the alternatives is how you feel. Win-Lose and Lose-Win thinking will cloud your judgement and leave you with negative feelings. You simply cannot afford to do it. On the other h and, thinking Win-Win will fill your heart with happy and serene thoughts. It will give you confidence. Even fill you with light.