Conflict in Our Lives

Conflict is inevitable; therefore, negotiation is a survival skill. From the sandbox to the Sinai, every Dick, Jane, Mohammed, and Moshe needs a method to reach workable agreements or suffer the consequences of unresolved conflicts. Whenever one individual’s needs, wants, and desires conflict with another’s, we have the potential for negotiation. For most of us, 90 percent of the resources we need to do our jobs and live our lives are owned by someone else. Pick up any newspaper and, on the front page, there are numerous examples of conflict situations. To begin, let’s define the terms conflict and negotiation:

Conflict: A situation where two or more parties have interests or perceptions that differ.

Negotiation: A process of exchange to resolve conflict and reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Consider the number of conflict situations any person experiences in his or her life. From early childhood, we recognize conflict as a part of life:

“I want that.”

“No, it’s mine.”

“I want to ride on Daddy’s shoulders!”

“But it’s my turn!”

“I want the window seat!”

“So does your sister.”

Later, conflict may involve disputes about being included in peer groups or competing to be captain of a team. In adulthood, we want to purchase houses, cars, and other items to meet our needs; and many conflicts arise with the significant other in our life. If not handled well, relationships deteriorate and couples divorce. Without a doubt, we encounter many conflicts throughout ...

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