Are you able to compromise?

lincoln, obama, compromise

Whatever you try to do in life that involves other people will almost certainly entail some kind of compromise. Fdinding a way forward that achieves the most important objective is something that applies to all of us no matter what we are trying to do:

Whether you liked Obama and his policies or not isn’t what’s important here. To be broad minded and moving forward is what counts and it applies to all of us, regardless of beliefs, nationality and gender. What Obama said to young Americans of different political persuasions in Massachusetts illustrates the importance of striking a balance. The concessions Abraham Lincoln had to do is a great example of the importance of finding the best way forward. So devote three minutes to watching it.

Nobody gets everything they want

To get exactly what you want is seldom possible, not even for dictators, such as Hitler. If he had been able to compromise with his generals it’s actually possible Germany would have won World War II. Or at least come out of it in a much better position. But he didn’t listen to anyone else. In fact generals who disagreed with him were fired, sometimes even executed.That we can count ourselves lucky that Hitler refused to compromise is beside the point. An ability to realise that whatever we are trying to achieve has to benefit everyone involved is what’s important. If it’s about business, family or friends doesn’t make any difference. The rule of compromise applies. You can’t for instance expect your friends to always dance to your tune.

Looking after number one may work against you

To stare yourself blind at what you want and disregard other people’s interests and perspectives simply doesn’t work. If you want to move forward, that is. Nobody knows everything and sometimes compromising between other people’s ideas and your own will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. 

To compromise isn’t being a coward or a  pushover. It’s often the only way you can get something done. Are you willing to compromise in your life? Or are you adamant things have to  be done your way? Have you ever reluctantly agreed to do things in ways suggested by someone else and discovered it was better for both of you? How can you move forward and develop if you are not willing to take other people’s opinions into account? It would benefit the world if more people would follow in Lincoln’s footsteps and join the ranks of astute people who throughout history have prioritised and made concessions to secure the most important objective.

Video: The White House Picture:  Kevin Burkett

65 thoughts on “Are you able to compromise?

  1. I will admit, I am good at compromise, maybe too good. Often, I compromise when I should be making a stand.
    When you compromise, you often run into people who do not want to compromise.
    I do agree with many of the previous comments about people not compromising (mostly our elected officials), people must realize giving one thing up to reach a goal is not a weakness. Great Post.

  2. Life involves a bit of give and take. We cannot expect everything to work for our good in business or in our personal life. I am not willing however to compromise on my values and beliefs as this is who I am and what I stand for.

  3. Catarina, one of our sons saw the world in black or white, there were no grey areas – no room for compromise. For him it was either right or wrong, according to his views. He has since learned that life is a compromise – you need to listen to and respect other's views and possibly even change your own perceptions. This is necessary in leaders as well as in life..

  4. I am very big on collaboration, and I see compromise as being an integral component to collaboration. By sharing ideas, and seeing the good and value of ideas from others, we can collaboratively make the world a better place.

  5. Hi Catarina, thanks for this post. It is so important to compromise in life but so often ego gets in the way. I love Barack Obama's lack of vanity displayed in the video clip. So often sticking rigidly to our plans in an ago-driven way ultimately leads to a poorer outcome than had we compromised.

  6. Understanding not just the importance of compromise but the necessity for it seems like such an obvious thing and yet its a concept that seems to remain elusive to so many of us. Sadly, it's not just political leaders that let ego overwhelm outcomes. Business leaders can also be incredibly inflexible and allow a great deal of damage to happen to their organizations before they eventually bend or break. Positions can get vested with so much emotional and idealogical baggage that after a while the issue that's actually on the table is rarely what the argument is over (our friends in the U.S.). People in power have to learn to step back and ask themselves, are these decisions I'm going to be proud of in ten years, twenty on my deathbed? Thought provoking post.

    My recent post Saturday Morning Chit Chat – Can We Take DIY Too Far?

  7. Hi Catarina, My understanding of compromise is, if one has a goal to achieve, then one has to accept to achieve it in steps. This is exactly what Lincoln did, he accepted a compromise because it was all what he can achieve at the time. And because he had a vision, he was confident that with time, others would build on it.

  8. Margrete Thatcher once said
    " The nasty habit about leaders always trying to find
    compromises – kills the leadership"
    My own motto is. " If you are heading North I can do
    Northwest or Northeast but never South "
    Bengt Lejsved

    1. Thank you for letting us know your opinion, Bengt. Are you of the opinion that the US Congress, that for years now have not been able to compromise, is an example of leadershi that works?

  9. Compromise is a way of live,each one of us compromise at one or other stage to make our life happier, to make our business grow, to ensure peace in family, neighborhood,society. war & peace,compromise is not a surrender , it is like a barter system ,give and take, day & night, sun & moon,heaven & hell,mountains & water, happiness and sorrows credit and debit,( double accounting system ). Never feel shy to compromise.Professionals and upright business persons don't feel shy to compromise. IT IS A WAY OF LIFE.

  10. The U.S. Congress is paralyzed with inactivity now mainly because the Republicans refuse to compromise on almost every issue. They hate Obama and will do everything to obstruct his agenda. Their eyes are on the next Presidential election in 2016. How sad that the next three years will see a do-nothing Congress. No one will is willing to compromise. It's both sad and sickening.
    My recent post Does it Pay to Boost Your Posts on Facebook to Get More Views?

    1. Susan, don't you think too many kids in the West have been brought up to believe they are God's gift to humanity. And that really makes them very reluctant to compromise. Personally feel that a win-win situation is ideal in life. If all sides are not happy about something it has no future. But unfortunately

        1. It's mainly because their parents were the first generation in a family that had a good life. So they have spoilt their kids, like some billionaires do. Catch is the partents were not billionaires but living on borrowed money. Their parents have ruined them and now with the global economic crisis they will have a rude awakening.

  11. Great read, Catarina. I think nobody is perfect or has perfect answer every time whether political or business. I agree that compromise here is absolutely necessary, and if they keep their ego then the situation will going to worse.

    Thanks for sharing.
    My recent post PureVISION WordPress Theme

  12. Such a good post I had to revisit it … compromise is not easy for most people, but I think if we're able to take a look at the long term benefit then it either makes it easier, or you decide it's not worth it and move on.
    My recent post The Most Important Factor to Success

  13. Catarina, As a US citizen, I'm disgusted with the political games that are being played out. It seems to get worse with every election. I find myself constantly reassuring my elderly relatives that they shouldn't be worried about losing their social security. That this is all part of a mind game and they are simply being used as pawns. I don't believe our elected officials keep our best interests in mind any longer. I honestly don't believe they're keeping our best interests in mind.Catarina, As a US citizen, I'm disgusted with the political games that are being played out. It seems to get worse with every election. I find myself constantly reassuring my elderly relatives that they shouldn't be worried about losing their social security. That this is all part of a mind game and they are simply being used as pawns. I don't believe our elected officials keep our best interests in mind any longer. I honestly don't believe they're keeping our best interests in mind.
    My recent post 20 Tips to Help Protect Your Online Privacy

  14. HI Catarina, I feel everything should be open to compromise. As you say, nobody has all the answers, whether political, business, or personal.

    If making a compromise means everyone is further ahead than if it wasn't considered, then someone has to get off their high horse to do whatever it takes to make any situation a win-win.

    Great video! Right from the White House?

    My recent post Is Self Doubt Dooping your Dreams?

    1. Honestly Catherine, if they don't compromise and the US credit rating is lowered the lower middle class in America will pay a price. Just to get politicians re-elected.

  15. Catarina,
    thanks for posting this video. It's a great reminder to think about how many different people's needs and wants have to be considered, and how absurd it is for any of us to believe we should get our way, 100%.
    My recent post 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Build a Great Business Alone

  16. I have an aversion to looking at the US or any other country or culture for that matter as having a single story – that what is going on right now in congress represents all that is the United States. That aside, I'm very much a "grass roots" kind of person so whenever anyone (here) complains to me about how frustrated they are with what's going on in politics now, I ask them to write their feelings down on a calendar so that they can remind themselves of this frustration prior to the next election.
    My recent post Priorities

  17. Sorry, Wouldn't want to offend anyone in this conversation but to me playing the lose/lose game is not fun at all. If I am not sufficiently creative to define a win/win situation I do not want to play. In business it has to be win/win and Compromise is a dirty word.

    In politics, the world of real public policy, where participants cannot opt out, I can see the necessity, but the good political operator always gets the main thing he wants, sometimes if not always, at the expense of his rival. In this case compromise becomes Win/Lose and no one is looking out for the good of the many, because the good of the few is the focus of the bought-and-paid-for politician.

  18. In the US, we are less willing to compromise. I trace it to the decline of sandlot baseball and the rise of organized leagues. In sandlot ball, if you spend your time arguing the sun will go down and you won't have played much. So, disputes are settled. if one side wins on a close play, it goes the other way next time. In organized leagues, people pull rule books and argue endlessly, especially parents in the stands.

  19. Hi Catarina,

    Great post. I hope the faction between parties should be over once the leaders are elected. Everyone should then help one another achieve one goal for the country and that's how they should compromise themselves as leaders regardless of their political parties.

  20. Whether in business or politics you have to compromise as nobody has the perfect answer every time. What gets in the way is often ego and the more they will not compromise the more they back themselves into a corner and make the situation worse.

    I sometimes see this with small business owners who get an idea in their heads and will not even consider changing what they do to achieve better results. For some reason I think some see compromise as a sign of weakness which of course it isn't.
    My recent post Use Emotional Benefits For New Marketing Ideas

  21. The art of negotiation indeed. I once spent 6 hours negotiating a 5 – 1/2 page memo of understanding. We’d both resolved the issues, now we had to quibble over the details. [My real gain, watching the process an attorney goes through in negotiating a memo of understanding.]

    Indeed, I can compromise. I have compromised. Then, too, I am able to negotiate. My problem? My ability to negotiate is usually spontaneous–it arises when I am confronted with the situation.

    Here are two monographs from my blog. One involves dealing with Mrs. Parent on Parent – Teacher night. The second, handling a discipline problem before it became a discipline problem.


    My recent post We Can Fix the Economy. This is why we don’t.

  22. I agree that compromise here is absolutely necessary – we have a classic case of polar opposite views, with the Republicans wanting significant government spending cuts and no taxation increases, while the Democarats want significant tax increases and no spending cuts.

    In reality, given the massive size of the deficit – $14 Trillion (95% of GDP) – spending HAS to be curtailed as it's been running at over 40% of GDP since the current administration started. Under both Clinton and Bush it averaged 34% of GDP until the last year of the Bush administration when the Quantitative easing of $700M pushed it to over 36%.

    However, taxes will HAVE to rise, too – to replenish the coffers (there have also been some interest-free loans from the Social Security fund to the government to reduce interest on borrowings – money that should have been invested for future Social Security payments).

    So, the quicker both sides recognise that neither can have their own way as spending will have to be reduced AND taxes increased, the better…

  23. Nice Post Catarina..
    Sometimes we really get blind with our own desires regardless any other opinions..

    One of the Muslim Scientist "Al Shafe'ee" said : "My opinion is right and may be wrong, and my Opponent's opinion is wrong but might be right."

    So putting the probability that may be what others are saying is not such bad and could be better if we collaborated and put our egos aside.. with the whole focus on the end result, not who we wanna other people see us..

  24. Maybe the Belgian politicians, who are now on holiday after trying to form a government for more than a year, will take the time to read your article.

  25. Thank you for this post .It is very thought provoking .While I broadly agree , I have one disagreement .We must not seek compromise on all moral issues .On certain moral issues , no compromise is possible .The wisdom is to know the difference between the two kinds of issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.