Today’s schools were designed to churn out cookie-cutter workers and citizens. This is because it’s much easier to manage 500 compliant children, as opposed to a school of 500 individualistic negotiators. Rather than teaching rote learning and compliance, schools should be teaching our children the all-important skill of negotiation.
In some ways this model is necessary. After all, our economy requires workers of all skill levels to function. But that doesn’t mean you need to fall in line like everyone else. Deep down you know you’re special, and to get everything you want out of life you must reclaim your inborn negotiator, starting with these five lessons.
1. Entitlement is Over: Negotiation is Everything
Like it or not, the post World War II world order has come to an end. America isn’t the best in the world by default in industry, medicine, or education. Globalization and the Internet have shrunk the world and made every industry ultra-competitive. To be competitive for the next 10 or 100 years, we must focus on what makes us truly valuable: our companies, products, and our people. Whether we have the best talent or not we must now negotiate to protect what we currently have, and procure what we need.
2. Learn to Negotiate or Get Taken Advantage Of
The history of humanity is dark and brutal, ever since stronger caveman beat up their weaker counterparts for their food, shelter, and women. Today you need to know how to negotiate to protect your position in life and business. Many of history’s most successful leaders had little technical knowledge of negotiation. However, they possessed a deep understanding of human nature. In many ways, an understanding of human nature can outweigh all technical skills at the bargaining table.
3. All Is Fair in Love and War
In negotiation, as in war, there are no rules, but there are guidelines to help make order out of the chaos. Throughout history, great generals and leaders, such as Alexander the Great, have understood human nature and, subsequently, how to negotiate. By age thirty, Alexander had conquered the entire known world mostly through negotiation, not bloodshed. Alexander understood the need to cooperate with the lands he brought under his rule. Alexander knew that he could get what he wanted by giving his people what they wanted.
4. Win-Win Negotiation Is Dead
“Win-win” is an idealistic concept of negotiation “in which both sides get what they want. This sounds ideal, but it largely doesn’t exist in reality. You have a position and something you want. In contrast, the other side has a position and something they want. You are not responsible for the other side achieving their goals, only yours. This may sound harsh, but if you don’t focus on yourself and your situation, then no one will.
5. Every Human Interaction Is a Negotiation
Whether it’s asking your boss for a raise or deciding where to eat with your wife, everything boils down to negotiation. In Canada and the United States, we are worried about not offending anyone. Unfortunately, success is directly correlated to the ability to have tough conversations. We must become comfortable with being uncomfortable, and stand firm to get what we want.
If you have trouble asking for what you want, you’ll end up with whatever others happen to give you.
Regardless of profession, career, or business, learning to negotiate is one of the most imperative skills you can develop to succeed in the world today. No one is going to simply hand you everything you want on a silver platter: you must demand it and negotiate your way until you get your desired outcomes. To be a good negotiator you must be defiant and know exactly what you want. This takes a certain amount of risk, but without risk, there is no reward, and without reward, there is no life worth living.
Stefan Aarnio is an award-winning real estate Investor, Entrepreneur, Author and winner of the 2014 Rich Dad International Hall of Fame award. He has been featured in Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine named him one of the Top 10 Real Estate Influencers to Follow. Starting with only $1200, Stefan has built a multi-million dollar portfolio for himself and his partners and been recognized on The Self Made List. Let me know if you need anything else- thanks!