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  • Writer's pictureDavid Shay


In his book Pitch Anything, Oren Klaff tells the story of two men fighting over a sole orange, only to end up slicing it in half, each taking 50% of his initial goal.

They quickly congratulate each other for coming to the 'best possible resolution,' and turn to part ways.

Immediately, the first man peels his half of the orange, eats the citrusy treat and deposits the rind in the garbage.

At the same instant the other man peels his half, places the rind in a plastic bag and throws out the seems he uses the orange rinds to make marmalade.

Now, both men stand in shock at the utter waste of resource the other has shown. Suddenly the realization hits each that they could both have had 100% of what they originally wanted if they had only disclosed their true needs to each other and looked for a mutually beneficial result. In this case the hungry man would have had 100% of the fruit and the marmalade man would have had 100% of the rind he needed.

How often life presents us with situations like this. The trick is to look beyond the knee-jerk inclination that another's win inherently results in our loss...and, instead, to seek a mutually beneficial end.

This way of looking at life is often confused with passivity that sublimates our own needs. But if we can train ourselves to look at any situation in a wholistic way, we can often improve our own situation. This realization will make anyone a more powerful communicator and a more valued partner.

The bottom line is that before you go cutting the orange in half, it always makes sense to understand why the other person truly wants the half you will be giving up.


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