Being a Man of Action, I’m a sucker for passive tactics. Here’s how that works in negotiation.
Me: I’ll give you 100 dollars for that!
Me: Okay, 200!
See? Sucker. There are times when I’m so eager to get the deal done and move on that I’ll do what’s called “negotiating against myself.”
I’ve learned, and I’m still learning, that not doing something is often the best course of action— not making an offer, not sending the email, not selling the stock, not driving for an obvious solution, not doing what everyone expects— not doing the thing I do because I can’t stand to wait.
And maybe that’s the trigger— when we can’t stand to wait. (I feel a platitude coming on! Oh boy!)
Impatience can be overwhelming. If it stems from fear, make sure what you fear isn’t simply, waiting.
This advice is not for people who usually wait and see.
If you are someone who tends toward passivity, you know that chronic inaction can cripple you and drive your friends and colleagues batty. You also know very well the benefits of waiting. You are the teachers for those of us who can’t wait.
Inaction is one of the best actions.
I’ve written about not doing what feels obvious in other articles, but it’s a lesson we Hard Tryers need over and over again. It seems odd to add a goal of inaction to your week’s plan, but that’s what I recommend. Have a goal to not do something.
I’m not talking about self improvement commands like, or “Don’t smoke pot.” or “Don’t be so negative.” (I love the irony in that last one.)
I’m suggesting you “Wait and see.”
Have you ever seen a shootout at the end of a soccer game? It’s a high-pressure situation used to settle a tied game in which a goalie must defend a shot taken from a very short distance. With the goalie standing in the center of the goal the shooter must decide, and try not to telegraph, shoot left or shoot right. And since there’s no time to react the goalie must decide before the ball takes off, dive left or dive right.
But is that true? There are other options.
The shooter could shoot dead center knowing the goalie will dive left or right and often does. The goalie would probably do better to skip the dramatic dive and wait in the middle, but imagine the pressure to dive instead of wait. The goalie hardly has a chance against a skilled shooter, but those dramatic dives can lead to dramatic saves. The crowd goes wild. Who would want to miss a shot looking like a passive dork? It’s better to make the dive and miss the shot to the center. Right? Maybe not.
This week’s goal.
If you are a Hard Tryer, a Person of Action, a One Who Can’t Wait, take a different tact this week. Plan to wait and see. One of your goals in your week’s plan might look like this.
- Don’t send the email.
- Don’t sell the stock.
- Don’t offer a solution.
- Don’t dive.
So what will you not do this week? Let me know.
Then don’t do it, and find out: How’d that go?
A note on passive versus passive agressive.
I define passive agressive behavior as “being agressive by what you don’t do.” It drives everyone else crazy because you can always claim, “I didn’t do anything.” Walking slowly when someone is in a hurry, never making an offer in a negotiation, accidentally leaving out information, or stalling can be very manipulative, even agressive, even if it’s not done consciously.
Wake up. Don’t be a prick.