Compromise…

Such an interesting word.  Check out the definition of compromise and you will see two versions of the word.  One definition is “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions*,” whereas, the other description is “an endangering, especially of reputation*.”   I would argue that the former is more attuned to our lexicon and most often how the word is applied, especially in higher education.  However, to ignore the latter of the definition is a dangerous game.

The best adaptation of the latter description of compromise is often attributed to “compromising one’s integrity or values.”  This is most prevalent in the world of fraternity and sorority life, but is not relevant to this post.  The latter definition of the word presents an idea that compromise is a zero-sum game.  Either you win or your lose. You keep those things (integrity, values) intact or you kick them to the curb.  A contradiction to the former definition where everyone wins.

How drastic of a difference.  Think of the times that you were in a position where you needed to compromise.  Did you come to a resolution that used the first definition or the second definition of the word?  What were the motivations behind your decision?

You know the saying, “choose your battles.” Well there you go.  I understand that there are time, energy, and resource components to this saying.  Is it worth going through the trouble?  There is a compromise in making that decision.  There was something you felt needed to be expressed but ultimately you chose not to pursue.  Does everyone win in this scenario?  It sounds more like definition two to me.

Where am I going with this?  I am not quite sure.  I have been thinking about this word a lot recently.  What it means?  How it plays out in our lives?  What leads to the reasons we compromise?  It has been rattling around in my head.  I recognized that I have been living in the world of the second definition.  Whether this is reality or not I am not quite sure.  But it is my perception.  I have been treating compromise as a zero-sum game and more often than not I have been on the losing end.  I need to reframe my perspective and start operating in the world of the first definition.

*Definitions above from http://www.dictionary.com.*
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About Justin Sipes

Learner Input Strategic Achiever Analytical
This entry was posted in Higher Ed, Student Affairs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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