A long time ago, I was at a Covey 7 habits training, and I saw a demonstration that had a big impact on me. Paradigm-shifting, if you will.
Covey first got a couple of guys up and told them to arm wrestle. He set up the rules. Everytime a hand hit the table, within 2 minutes or so, whoever pushed it got a dollar. He said “Go” and they struggled. Pretty soon, one of them won. Right away, they started again. By the time the few minutes were done, they’d each won a couple of dollars.
Then Covey said, “Let me show you how it’s done.”
He took the place of one of the guys, grabbed the other man’s hand, and set up for the wrestling. When he said “Go”, however, Covey just let his hand drop, and right away his opponent won. Instantly, Covey set them both up again, and right away, Covey lost a second time. After a third time, the other guy stopped trying, and Covey slipped by his guard and threw his hand to the table.
The opponent immediately threw back, and Covey let him win. But then he suddenly exerted and won. They then fell into this pattern of one hitting the table right after the other. Then, in an instant, you saw the other guy get it. When they stopped fighting and started helping each other swing back and forth, suddenly the number of table hits skyrocketed, and they both won many, many times over. Much more than the previous two guys had made.
The other night I was reading in Helaman, in Chapter 6, and I saw that same paradigm in action. I mean, here’s the Nephites and Lamanites fighting and fighting for many many generations, and all of a sudden, they suddenly realize that they don’t need to fight any more. Suddenly, without all that waste of resources and humanity in senseless killing for territory and oppression, or defending against the same, people realized that they could get a lot done, and trade flourished, and they all prospered and got very very rich.
I think that on a personal level and on a world level, we spend way too much time in conflict, and not enough time just cooperating.