“To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.”
Compromise. It is a tricky thing. Tricky concept. Tricky discussion.
Type ‘art of compromise’ into google search and you get about 37,800,000 results <in .31 seconds>. Sometimes it seems like we are faced with compromise choices about 37,800,000 times every 31 days.
We face compromise every day, if not every minute.
We face it in the meaningless minutiae — ‘I will slow down to let that asshole pass me’ — to the important — ‘I believe this is the right thing to do, but …’
If you spend a minute thinking about it, we face compromise after compromise after compromise after, well, you get it.
Where do we draw the line? In fact. Do we draw the line often enough?
And where the heck do we draw the line so that our lives are not completely defined by compromise? <which, if you did, would mean you stand for nothing>
“To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That’s what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul – would you understand why that’s much harder?”
It is a Life truth that not everything that matters can be counted and unfortunately many of the most important things rarely are.
This is troubling because in the world of exhaustive compromise we need to be able to not only count, but count on, the most important things.
In a ‘group think’ consensus environment where, compromise takes a death grip on decision making, everyone is at risk of being led into that empty abyss of unthinking acquiescence and the inevitable downward spiral of individual and collective compromise dragged down by a lack of independent thought will inevitably lead to a gray personality, ubiquitous conclusion wrapped up in a semi-blurry moral compass.
To me Compromise is the enemy of individuality.
I said it.
And a bunch of people are not gonna like me for typing that.
But Compromise seems to be mostly <at least in today’s world> about compromising principles and diminishing individual responsibility in the mistaken belief that the short-term advantage of a larger group harmony inevitably leads to a long-term satisfaction of a ‘greater good.’
If you ever wanted a definition of ‘middle of the road’ living <personally or in business>, there it is. More importantly <to individuality> it appears that invariably the consequences are some form of damaged personal integrity <if not some bad decisions>.
Unfortunately, that suggests we, individually, should know which issues are worth fighting for and which aren’t really important.
Note: This is a fantasy.
The logic is that you should save your strength for the things that really matter.
That also assumes that EVERYONE recognizes the things that really matter.
Note: This is a fantasy.
This latter point I just made, i.e., EVERYONE, is especially important because if ‘everyone don’t’ then you end up simply being stuck in a consensus driven group environment where compromise dictates just one more short term decision.
That said, let’s face it, not everyone is good at recognizing the things that really matter. In fact … most of us suck at it.
I understand that not all conflicts have clear winners. In some instances there may be reasonable but contradictory claims. You can go ahead and fight it out, but no one person will really ‘win.’
I also understand In some situations we must be able to compromise.
But. Where do we draw the line? Because I feel like we are not drawing any lines.
Compromise is far too often simply a different version of hell.
“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Compromise is sly.
So I will say this. If you need to compromise, the one ‘truth’ I believe you must never ‘lose’ with regard to the discussion is you must never lose sight of ‘yourself’.
You have core needs and beliefs. Do not relinquish anything that you feel is absolutely essential <understanding that you must be willing to accept something ‘unessential’ to you that will inevitably influence how you feel and ‘how you look’ – in the mirror and to others>.
Compromise never feels perfect because, more often than not, it isn’t. In fact in more cases than not it is distinctly imperfect if not wrong.
Decide where you are willing to bend.
In the end.
Even if it is associated with a business decision, compromise seems to be about bargaining with life.
And maybe we should spend a second thinking about what we are bargaining with.
“Compromise is but the sacrifice of one right or good in the hope of retaining another – too often ending in the loss of both.”
Oh, speaking of losing ‘both’, I have a couple of words I want to use: Integrity and Self. They are inextricably linked and cannot be de-linked under the guise of compromise.
Look. What is ‘right’ is often not only a moving target, but also can be found in degrees within a variety of solutions and answers.
What is not a moving target is one’s integrity and sense of Self.
Oops. This can end up being a little tricky because you yesterday is not you today and certainly not the you tomorrow.
Self, in and by itself, is a constant work in progress <oops part 2: this sounds like one of those trite philosophical thoughts for which I apologize>. And your judgment is influenced by personal beliefs <what principles you embrace> and what you know as of the moment.
In all situations requiring careful judgment, especially compromise moments, we are influenced by our own biased personal beliefs. And that is where Integrity places you firmly in the path of Compromise. Firm ground on which to stand and say ‘stop … you do not pass this place until we have talked.’
“Don’t compromise yourself; you’re all you’ve got.”
Or … as Golda Meir states … ‘either you be or you don’t be.’
Compromise is sly & crafty because it tries to confuse you between ‘you be’ and ‘we be’ in terms of priorities.
In my mind there is far too much compromising while getting nothing in return <we are stuck in the middle>.
In my mind there is far too much compromising for short term gain <and short term decision making>.
Maybe it’s time you put a line in the sand.
Maybe it’s time you put a stop to the the onslaught of compromise.