Yesterday in our negotiation skills class we had an assignment, which was the basis of yet another life truth laid out so glaringly obvious.
The class was split into 10 groups, five of which represented the 'management' and the other five the 'Workers'. Each group was paired against another, management negotitaing with the workers. The problem was that the management had changed the shift hour pattern so instead of 12 hours per day for 3.5 days now they'd have to work 8 hours but for 5.5 days, [lessening the hours per day but increasing the days] and this was not acceptable to them. If the negotiations were not successful either the workers would call a strike or the management would declare a lockout. So we had to negotiate with workers and trade concessions and reach an agreement that was acceptable for both
As management, we came up with great incentives, we offered them transport, we offered to split 10% of the profits if the productivity increased by 30%, we even offered to change the shift time so that work would start at 6 am and end by 2pm, leaving them ample time to spend with their families as this was one of the concerns raised, that is, working 2 extra days they would have less time with family .
To cut a long story short, although the other group did not have any legs to stand on or any rational reason to refuse they took issue at some remark one of the 'management' made which they thought was personal and they refused the deal and raised banners [which they had brought from home] that they were quitting.
When I saw the banners, I realized that they had decided this outcome from before, so no matter what we would have offered their answer would be the same. I even asked one the girls from the other group after class and she confirmed my doubt.
Anyway to finally come to the point of this post - sometimes in life it's not about what we did or didn't do, or what we could have done better in any situation, its about the other person. When they have decided the outcome from before, even if we bring manna from heavens they will say no, at the same time they'll try to make us feel that it's our fault that if we had done more, things would be different. We sometimes feel so bad and think about all the things that are wrong with us and what we could have done to change some situation, when really it's not about what's lacking in us at all.
If the other person starts in bad faith it is not about what we could have done more or less it's about them having decided what they would do from before.