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Getting to Yes with Yourself

and Other Worthy Opponents

By William Ury
10-minute read
Getting to Yes with Yourself: and Other Worthy Opponents by William Ury

Think you could do with some help from the people who have to smooth out the thorniest political situations of our time? Getting to Yes with Yourself (2015) draws on professional mediator William Ury’s impressive résumé as peace broker in conflicts from the Midwest to the Middle East. Learn how to solve personal clashes more effectively, improve the important relationships in your life and gain more positive influence over yourself and others.

  • Readers looking to up their game at work or build healthier personal relationships
  • Managers and entrepreneurs who want to make their businesses more productive
  • News addicts who are curious about the tricks used by professional negotiators

Social anthropologist William Ury has advised governments around the world on conflict situations and can even claim to have helped stop two civil wars. He’s the coauthor of the international bestseller Getting to Yes and a cofounder of the Harvard Negotiation Project, Harvard’s University’s world-renowned negotiation department.

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Getting to Yes with Yourself

and Other Worthy Opponents

By William Ury
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Contains 6 key ideas
Getting to Yes with Yourself: and Other Worthy Opponents by William Ury
Synopsis

Think you could do with some help from the people who have to smooth out the thorniest political situations of our time? Getting to Yes with Yourself (2015) draws on professional mediator William Ury’s impressive résumé as peace broker in conflicts from the Midwest to the Middle East. Learn how to solve personal clashes more effectively, improve the important relationships in your life and gain more positive influence over yourself and others.

Key idea 1 of 6

If you follow your first instincts during conflicts, you’ll become your own worst enemy.

Think back to the last conflict you had with another person. Maybe it was a big fight or a simple disagreement. Can you remember what your first reaction was? Did you snap at the other person right away?

Reactionary responses like this are very difficult to resist. They’re also highly detrimental and counterproductive.

For example, imagine a mother who wants to have a close relationship with her four-year-old daughter. She loves her, but the little girl refuses to go to bed each night and it makes her mom extremely angry.

If the mother gives in to her anger by yelling at her, the child will probably distance herself out of self-protection. Mom’ll end up undermining her goal of fostering a loving relationship with her daughter.

When we judge others instead of seeking to understand them, we often forget about our real interests. Reacting out of anger or because your pride has been hurt will only make things worse.

You can avoid this by focusing on self-understanding – observing yourself from a healthy mental and emotional perspective driven by empathy and self-control.

Self-understanding allows us to identify our passing feelings and thoughts, then neutralize their effects. It helps us maintain a state of balance and calm.

So even if the mother is frustrated, self-understanding could help her recognize her daughter’s patterns and choose not to react to them.

A key part of self-understanding is self-observation, which means listening to your own thoughts with empathy and patience, just as you would with a loved one. This lays the foundation for self-mastery.

In the mother’s case, self-observation would help her acknowledge her anger, remain calm and stay committed to her real goal of building a positive relationship with her little girl.

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