As I’m listening to Three Dog Night’s 1969 recording of “Easy To Be Hard” I thought of a book I read called “The Power of Nice.” The theme of the book is the art of negotiation. Written by a successful sports industry dealmaker named Ronald M. Shapiro, the subtitle is “How to Negotiate So Everyone Wins…Especially You!
I don’t think it’s easy to be hard. I think it’s somewhat dysfunctional to be difficult as a policy. Just like society depends on the great majority behaving nicely, most people want to be treated respectfully. Sometimes it’s hard to be easy. When people are treating you rough a reflex can often times be to respond in kind. For some, this works. For me, it doesn’t. I’ve found that those who treat others harshly as a policy have a short tail of favors in their reserve. As soon as their position or money runs out their influence does too. Treating everyone with dignity is a sustainable life strategy.