Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break. Jane Wells
Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got. Janis Joplin
A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece. Ludwig Erhard
If it were not for the art of compromise many groups and organizations would remain hopelessly stagnant. Many believe our government is “gridlocked”, unable to work together, unable to compromise or to get anything agreed or accomplished. The objective should be for differing groups or parties to find ways to come to an agreement somewhere in the middle. Some progress is better than no progress.
Compromise takes into account opposite viewpoints and requires parties to work together. It is used by legislators, diplomats, labor and management, buyers and sellers and others as a process for finding some basis for agreement. Husbands and wives must also learn the value of compromise for the sake of their marriages. Skilled negotiators are high prized for their ability to make progress under the most difficult of circumstances.
Compromise should be a coveted skill to have in our arsenal. Some progress is always preferable to making no progress. Sometimes we are far too narrow in our individual viewpoints and are handicapped in being able to see both sides. The willingness to find common ground and come to agreement can be a win/win opportunity for both parties. Sometimes “progress” must come incrementally and it may take multiple steps to further our cause.
Fundamental truths and principles should never be compromised. Some things are “a line in the sand” that is not to be crossed. Maintaining our integrity and principles should be non-negotiable.
“Polar opposite” viewpoints can make finding agreement all but impossible. It is important to be sensitive, open-minded and willing to compromise on issues where both parties can “win” and progress attained. We should avoid being selfish, divisive, closed-minded, too-opinionated, prejudiced, and ignorant of important facts and consequences. Sometimes it is necessary to further our cause (if warranted) in incremental steps.
Making some progress gets us closer to achieving our goals. We cannot get there in one giant step. It requires focused, perseverant and diligent patience. ‘Getting there’, that is what is important. Being disciplined and faithfully committed to where we want to go remains critical. Sometimes, we have to compromise and negotiate even with our self. There are always choices to be made; pros and cons and various issues that we must consider. Self-talk, status quo, getting out of our comfort zones, accountability, principles and values, and many other self-issues require the art of self-compromise in order for us to grow and prosper.
Challenge: Are you able to use compromise when appropriate and to stand firm when not? Your standards and principles should be above compromise. The ability to give and take is a valuable skill. Making concessions on small issues can make big differences in getting agreements. Compromise is specialized communication. Learn this skill and use it. Your ability to negotiate with others as well as with yourself helps you to move forward.
Wisdom: Some people never learn the art of compromise. Everything is either black or white. They do no recognize, or will not concede, that the equally important color gray is a mixture of black and white. W. Phillips
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 16:3
If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
The Golden Rule teaches us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. The Win/ Win philosophy teaches us to find a solution that is good for both parties. We should be guided by values and principles that prevent us from taking advantages of others in dealings with them. We should ascribe to high standards at all times. If God is our guide in such situations, we will find the strength and wisdom to make better decisions.
Prayer: Help me to know when to compromise and when to be uncompromising.