Tag: Other People

Other People – A Parable

A rich Hollywood agent’s Ferrari breaks down in the desert outside Los Angeles. This is terrible; he’s got the biggest meeting of his life scheduled for later that day. His phone is dead, and there’s nobody in sight. But wait: off in the distance, a vehicle approaches. As it gets closer, he sees that it’s a pickup truck. An old, beat-up pickup truck. Of the kind driven by farmers. Oh, God. Conservative farmers, who see a guy like him (Ferrari, beautiful suit, tons of hair product) and assume he must be rolling in money and does no real work, like, you know, farm work, out in the broiling sun, wrestling cows or whatnot. A punk rich kid, making all that money for what? Talking people into things! What a faker! Jeez, just his luck, the agent thinks, of all the people in the world who might have come along to help, he gets this guy? What does that stupid hick know about his life, about how hard he’s worked all these years? Zeke or Clem or whoever’s probably got a nice stable marriage, to some old farmer lady, whereas Jeannine left him last month because of all the long hours he spends agenting and now he hardly ever sees little Rex and –
The truck pulls up. “Need a lift?” asks the kindly farmer.
“Fuck you!” shouts the agent.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
George Saunders

Tips for Negotiation

Don’t try to force your opponent to admit that you are right. Aggressive confrontation is the enemy of constructive negotiation.

​Avoid questions that can be answered with “Yes” or tiny pieces of information. These require little thought and inspire the human need for reciprocity; you will be expected to give something back.

Ask calibrated questions that start with the words “How” or “What.” By implicitly asking the other party for help, these questions will give your counterpart an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.

Don’t ask questions that start with “Why” unless you want your counterpart to defend a goal that serves you. “Why” is always an accusation, in any language.

​Calibrate your questions to point your counterpart toward solving your problem. This will encourage them to expend their energy on devising a solution.

Bite your tongue. When you’re attacked in a negotiation, pause and avoid angry emotional reactions. Instead, ask your counterpart a calibrated question.

​There is always a team on the other side. If you are not influencing those behind the table, you are vulnerable.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Voss, Chris; Raz, Tahl.

Three Types of Yes

I’ll let you in on a secret. There are actually three kinds of “Yes”: Counterfeit, Confirmation, and Commitment.

A counterfeit “yes” is one in which your counterpart plans on saying “no” but either feels “yes” is an easier escape route or just wants to disingenuously keep the conversation going to obtain more information or some other kind of edge.

A confirmation “yes” is generally innocent, a reflexive response to a black-or-white question; it’s sometimes used to lay a trap but mostly it’s just simple affirmation with no promise of action.

And a commitment “yes” is the real deal; it’s a true agreement that leads to action, a “yes” at the table that ends with a signature on the contract. The commitment “yes” is what you want, but the three types sound almost the same so you have to learn how to recognize which one is being used.

Voss, Chris; Raz, Tahl. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

You and Other People – Drama and Character

…the distinction we live with each day remains simply that between oneself and other people. And the primordial group of other people – our family  – makes up the original cast of characters in the drama of life, a drama that we keep on reviving later with more and more people cast for the same few parts. As for oneself, one is the invisible man. One cannot see oneself, one can only see those with whom one has chosen to be identified.

The raw material of character, then, is not very raw after all. It has already been worked over. It has already been turned into a kind of art: the art of fantasy. Life is a double fiction. We do not see others so much as certain substitutions for others. We do not see ourselves so much as others with whom we are identified. When Plato said we see, not life, but shadows of life flickering in the firelight on the wall of a cave, he was an optimist. Or perhaps he made allowances for the extraordinary distortions and suppressions of shadow play.

Eric Bentley. The Life of the Drama
From chapter 2, Character

Roommate Food Theft Investigation

We had a roommate stealing food situation too. There were 4 of us, the first 2 didn’t have their food stolen before, I’m the 3rd one moving in but whom everyone could see I buy my own food, and a 4th guy who moved in around the same time as me but always hung out in the living room. It was obvious who was stealing, but none of us had proof, nor was there anything we could do about it anyway, until I had a flu once and decided to buy orange juice to be healthy, but because it was for only me, I drank straight from the jug. A few days later the 4th guy and only the 4th guy caught the flu…


Pascal Pensee – 147

We do not content ourselves with the life we have in ourselves and in our own being; we desire to live an imaginary life in the mind of others, and for this purpose we endeavor to shine. We labour unceasingly to adorn and preserve this imaginary existence, and neglect the real. And if we possess calmness, or generosity, or truthfulness, we are eager to make it known, so as to attach these virtues to that imaginary existence. We would rather separate them from ourselves to join them to it; and we would willingly be cowards in order to acquire the reputation of being brave. A great proof of the nothingness of our being, not to be satisfied with the one without the other, and to renounce the one for the other! For he would be infamous who would not die to preserve his honour.

Project Gutenberg