Getting to Yes

I read the following this morning:

“A friend asks you to sit down for a cup of coffee, and you surprise yourself by saying yes, giving yourself permission to look into another’s eyes and find there exactly the thing you had been about to rush off in search of.” (Philip Simmons, Learning to Fall)

Thinking about it later, I was reminded that there is a book titled Getting to Yes. It is a book about negotiation – the art of negotiation, as they say. Its subtitle is “Negotiating Agreement without Giving In”. That says about enough, doesn’t it? I avoid such books, such trite yet pretentious tomes that fill the best seller lists. They annoy me. It annoys me that people are so easily deemed “experts” for stating the obvious; that they receive huge sums of money to espouse common sense, disguised as wisdom, and peddle it on the popular book and talk show circuits.

But all of this aside, I wonder more how we come to yes – the much more important “yes” that Simmons writes of. This is not the yes of corporate board rooms, but the yes of living. How do we get to that place where we readily offer this kind of yes?

I was recently described as being manipulative and mean spirited in something I did, something I said. To me this sounds much more like the yes of the “Getting to Yes” book, the kind of behavior one is taught to seek in a world that I want no part of. And it gives me pause to have been so misinterpreted.

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