There are situations that you just cannot win! This is called life and life isn’t fair. But sometimes, these unwinnable situations aren’t because they can’t be won, but because there will be people who won’t let you win.
If you implement these two steps you’ll win every single time, even in the most “unwinnable” situations!
Stop Trying to Win Unwinnable Situations
There is a point at which you stop trying to win unwinnable situations. I would say the easiest way to find out if someone just won’t let you win, is to do what they say they want you to do. This, of course, is provided that what they say they want isn’t illegal, unsafe, or unethical.
If someone says, “I wish you would…” or “I wish more people would…” and then when you do that they either ignore it or say something like “Took long enough…” it’s time to stop trying to win that unwinnable situation.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t still do what they mentioned, especially if it adds value to people or the situation. That isn’t the way to win the unwinnable situation I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is doing it for the purpose of receiving their appreciation and validation or to make them happy. Some people just don’t want to actually be happy and some things in life just need to be done because they are what’s right and what’s best, not because they get appreciated.
Someone who says they want something, and then when it’s done places a negative spin on it, is showing that they didn’t really want anyone to actually do it. They may have wanted to complain about it. They may have wanted to see people try, struggle, and fail at it. But, they may not have wanted to see it actually be done. For this person, complaining about what’s wrong is their source of power.
There will always be people who, if you take away their reasons for complaining, it’s almost as if you’ve taken away their identity and they don’t know what to do except talk about how it wasn’t done sooner or better. Once you identify this person, just stop trying to win. What does this entail? Quite simply, stop playing according to the presumed “rules” set by those who present these unwinnable situations.
Doing this will not only help you to stop trying to win unwinnable situations, but it will also help you stop losing unwinnable situations because you’ve stopped playing the game altogether, not by refusing to do what they’ve said, but possibly by still doing it, but not with the intent of getting credit or making them happy! Sometimes you’ll just do it because it adds value or may be the right thing to do even if they’re not happy that you actually did it.
Start Winning Unwinnable Situations
This may come across as a little contradictory to my last point, but stick with me for a moment.
According to an article on Lead Today by Steve Keating (you can find that article Here), the character from Star Trek, Captain James T. Kirk, was faced with what seemed like an unwinnable situation. As Mr. Keating relays it, “If you were, or are, a fan of the Star Trek television series or movies then you know that The Kobayashi Maru is a training exercise designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario. It’s a Catch 22 on steroids.
With the Kobayashi Maru cadets were put in a situation where they had two options and neither of them were good. But the test required that they select one the two available options. When they picked one they discovered just how bad their choices were. Both choices resulted in the loss of their ship and the entire crew.
No cadet had ever “survived” the Kobayashi Maru until James T. Kirk arrived at Starfleet Academy. He was given the same two terrible choices and told he must pick one. Yet both his ship and crew came through intact.
So how did this Kirk guy do it? Well when presented with two horrible options he declined to pick either one. He manufactured a third.
All the other cadets stayed within the guidelines given to them, even knowing the likely outcome. Kirk refused to be limited to choices that would lead to his destruction. So he created a third option, seemingly out of thin air.
Some people would say he cheated. Some would say he was very creative. I would say he merely broke the rule that needed to be broken in order to survive.”
As we see, Captain Kirk didn’t believe in “no-win” situations. So, he created a third option and that is what I am presenting here.
So, how does this apply to winning in unwinnable situations? As I said earlier, stop playing according to the presumed “rules” set by those who present unwinnable situations. Create your own option and just don’t try to win…don’t even play the game. Doing this allows you to play your own “game” and “win” the unwinnable situation…what game is that? The game of NOT playing other people’s games.
This is a really great game to play because you always win and isn’t winning so much more enjoyable than always losing?
One thought on “Winning Unwinnable Situations”
Great blog! Thank you for the great insight on how to avoid being manipulated by people who can’t be pleased!