When was the last time you expressed a want and stood by it? It takes some time to remember, does it? We tend to scale our wants back quickly without even encountering resistance.

Salary negotiations, discussions about your needs in a relationship, business deals – you name it.

Don’t get me wrong; compromise in itself is not a bad thing, it makes the world go round and the lack of it creates gridlock. Just ask K Street. Nobody can go through life always getting what they want. You’ll end up lonely. (Maybe that’s what you wanted.)

My concern is our tendency to compromise prematurely. When somebody negotiates with me and immediately caves in, I tend to think I offered too much. I also wonder how they’re going to survive in the workplace when they give in so quickly. It makes people look smaller.

How to fix it

– New job, new relationship, new business – You need to develop a clear picture of what you want. Don’t be stupid (It’s going to be hard to get a private jet when you apply for a media planner position. But, good luck) but also don’t be too defensive.

– Once you determined your wants, write down why you want this. Support it with facts/data.

– Define how this want will improve your life. There are some wants in life that can make you miserable. Make sure not to fight for something that you’ll regret later.

– Write down the deal breakers.

– Go for it. What do you have to lose?

All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take. – Mahatma Ghandi