"You can't make a good deal with a bad person."
~ Warren Buffet

You Can’t Make A Good Deal With A Bad Person

This is a concept that I have always admired and used to determine the sort of relationships (both business and personal) that I create and work to sustain. Basically, it says that no matter how attractive the person, proposal, or potential, teaming up with someone (or some organization) that doesn’t share your values is never a good idea.

Of course, for those who follow my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy, you know the brain science behind this statement. You know that when people or organizations are being disingenuous, deceptive, or manipulative… or are using anger, fear, or intimidation to get their way, they are coming from the lower reactive brain.

They are in a “do unto others before they do unto me” mode, and are basically wanting to win at any cost. The problem with this “zero sum” philosophy is that the interaction is rarely a single event, but instead, is part of an ongoing relationship. Therefore, if someone is being “a bad person,” or coming from the fear-based part of the brain in the moment, the potential that they will continue to bring this destructive energy to future interactions is very high.

This can go for politicians, organizations, customers, relationship partners, and even friends. Trying to make a good deal with a bad person will almost always backfire because their negative perspective will continue to color any agreements, and thus trap you in a partnership that is dysfunctional, at best, and destructive, at worst.

So, what can we do?

I suggest that we first become clear about who we are in terms of the values that we bring to life. If we are about being caring and confident, curious and kind, compassionate and inspirational, respectful and clear about the importance of taking 100% responsibility for being the kind of person we would want to have as a partner, then we can use these values as a criteria for who we connect with and partner with, both personally and professionally.

Of course, this means being wary of the “shiny object” trap, which could include a deal (or job) that seems too good to be true, or finding ourselves falling for someone that we would not recommend as a relationship partner to someone we love. We need to recognize that just as a “bad person” or organization is being driven by fear-based thoughts and stress-related chemicals, so, too, is our tendency to rationalize a person or situation that seems attractive on the surface, but behaves in ways that suggest a lack of caring and integrity. In other words, we tend to overlook their problematic ways of being because we so want them to be who we want them to be.

Instead, I suggest that we use a criteria for our choices that has the highest potential for success. For me, this is the question, “Would I recommend this deal, person, job, customer, friend, to someone I love?”

We can never be absolutely sure about what will happen in the future, but if we will continue to use this question as a criterion for our choices, then even if the good situation turns bad at some point (or becomes a person, job, customer, friend that no longer share our values) we can choose again and move on.

The choice is always ours. We just need to ensure that we are making it from the clear, confident, creative part of the brain, or the “Top of the Mind.”

~ All the best, Dr. Bill