Negotiations are essential for bringing one’s personal desire into the world. Since the world has not been waiting to know my desire, I have to convey it, inevitably encountering obstacles, resistance, and conflict.
Aside from the mediation of differences, negotiation is a way to initiate change by convincing, persuading, or even coercing.
This raises the question of what I am willing to do in return for making what I want a reality. This exchange is measured not by an objective equivalent or value, but by the size of one’s own desire: the stronger the desire, the greater the „price” I am willing to pay. For example, the greater my desire to play a particular instrument, the more I am ready to practice or give up something else. It is thereforeimportant to negotiate with yourself about how important your concern is and how much you are willing to contribute.
Today the current typical understanding of the term negotiating is strongly characterized by aspects of ‘showing strength’ or ‘keeping face’, especially in the realm of official politics such as peace negotiations or international agreements. But in this perspective, the possible options for negotiations are limited by circumstances and there’s no chance for surprising and unexpected turns. The results are often correspondingly unsatisfactory, because they can hardly move beyond the objective balance of power. If we think of negotiating not as a direct exchange of objective units of value, but as a relationship of unequals, negotiations become possible even if, objectively seen, there is „not enough” to trade. Thus, negotiations are possible from a position of powerlessness.