Their Reasons, Not Yours

It is possible, perhaps even common, to get the desired behavior from another person for reasons completely different from your own. I offer this without commentary on what it might mean morally, or psychologically, merely as an observation.

When I was about 14 years old I wanted a job at a radio station. The problem is, the radio station wasn't hiring. I hit upon the strategy of showing up with annoying regularity day after day, asking for some kind of job. Apparently the annoying part of my strategy worked: the manager of the radio station finally stopped in the lobby where I was waiting when they, looked at me and said, “if I give you a job, would you stop bugging me?”

I got what I wanted; he got what he wanted. Just not for the same reasons.

In the end, did the reasons matter? My point (and, with apology to Ellen Degeneres, I do have one) is that we should never confuse our own motivation for the other person's motivation. Thinking about what motivates the other person in any negotiation is almost always a more effective basis for that negotiation.

Even though we may feel our reasons to be superior to those of the other party, our reasons are not the same as theirs.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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