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I got to sit down this week with the esteemed master negotiator and conflict resolution expert, William Ury. With a wealth of experience in teaching about conflict and mediating high-stake disputes for major corporations and war-torn regions, William is a leading authority in facilitating resolution and providing actionable tools for addressing conflicts in our daily lives.

In this insightful discussion, we delved into the practical strategies that William has honed over his illustrious career. From navigating conflicts in relationships to managing disagreements in professional settings, William’s approach is clear, simple, and undeniably effective. In a world where conflict is commonplace, his expertise offers invaluable guidance for anyone seeking to foster understanding in their interactions.

So, whether you’re grappling with discord in your personal life, professional endeavors, or beyond, William Ury’s expertise will equip you with the tools you need to navigate and resolve conflicts with finesse. Tune in to gain actionable insights that you can apply today to foster positive resolutions in any situation.


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  • 00:01:05 – Breaking Into Negotiating
  • 00:02:56 – Universal Negotiation Principles
  • 00:05:58 – Seeing the Balcony View
  • 00:08:05 – Take a Walk
  • 00:09:25 – The Learning Curve
  • 00:12:00 – Negotiation With Yourself
  • 00:14:14 – Negotiating vs Antagonizing
  • 00:20:26 – Bridging the Conversation
  • 00:22:07 – Practice in Business
  • 00:26:49 – When Someone Won’t Budge
  • 00:39:08 – “Giving In”
  • 00:43:13 – Inspiring “Possible”
  • 00:46:04 – Conflict Resolution for Today
  • 00:53:08 – Reacting with the World Around You
  • 01:02:06 – All About Perspective
  • 01:04:31 – Hassle Less

Show Transcript:

[00:01:05] Gabby Reece: William, I have to say that when I read all your stuff and watched you, I thought only someone that kind of kind and peaceful is interested in negotiating. I think it’s a, it seems like it would be the best personality. To help people figure out how to saying the word compromise, or are we saying the word negotiate?

I don’t know. What? You know what I mean? If you get a high-power alpha and they go I’m not compromising. So tell me how you even got in this line of work.

[00:01:36] William Ury: It began when I was a boy and, we moved, my family moved to Europe for a few years and I was young and it wasn’t that long after, it was a different Europe than the Europe you go to today.

It was still recovering from World War II. And I was like, it was the, there were still several buildings in ruins and you could feel the devastating impact of these two giant world wars. And then there was the expectation back in those days that there might be a third world war.

And even the school had a little nuclear bomb shelter with the, big steel blast doors. And and I just got to thinking there’s gotta be a better way to deal with our differences and blowing the whole world to smithereens. So that, that idea got implanted early and then, stayed with me.

And so I decided really to devote my life to. That one question, which is how can we deal with our differences at all levels? And I noticed that, even family, dinner, family dinners, quarrels and stuff like that. So it’s everywhere from the macro to the micro. And and I just thought there’s gotta be better ways of dealing with it.

And so that’s then that’s why I became an anthropologist. I thought, okay, anthropology, that’s the study of human beings. We’re a strange species. Why do we have this bent for self destruction? Yeah. So I thought I’d understand that. And, but I really wanted to get, apply it to something very real.

So that’s how I got into the field of negotiation was get my hands dirty and get into the thick of it and see what it’s all about.

[00:02:56] Gabby Reece: I feel like there’s universal principles when you talk about negotiating, right? Like you, you’ve discussed it and certainly in certain cultures, maybe there’s different nuance and protocol, but there’s kind of these universal pillars of negotiating and if it’s different for personal dynamics, because, a lot of times I think when it comes to work for me, personally, I feel like there’s certain things I can lean into, like, when they talk about leaning into and with my family, I actually find the opposite. I’m not leaning in.

I’m holding space and actually almost. Leaning back. I don’t know. And because I’m not objective and maybe ultimately there’s a lot more on the line with our family and it’s true, and it’s intangible where maybe when you’re negotiating in a business environment like you have and you’ve helped people resolve things, there’s some very specific marks that you’re hitting and it’s really tangible.

[00:03:51] Gabby Reece: And even there, I know you encourage people to it. To take different positions, but maybe you could just share because you have so much experience. What are some of the universal kind of principles when you are trying to enter into a negotiation with a person, whether it’s personally or in business?

[00:04:12] William Ury: The first thing I find actually has nothing to do with the other person is to do with ourselves. And you just were alluding to it. I find the same thing. I could be dealing with big world negotiations and I come home and the stakes feel more personal. And so I find that actually.

Interestingly enough, the biggest obstacle to me getting what I want within a negotiation is not the difficult person that I’m dealing with, be it personal or professional or whatever. It’s actually right here. It’s me. It’s the person I look at in the mirror every morning. It’s our own human, very human, very natural, very understandable tendency to react, which is to, Act out of fear, act out of anger, which gets triggered often when we get into conflict.

And as the old saying goes, when you’re angry, you’ll make the best speech you ever regret, you’ll send the best email you’ll ever regret. And and so we’re our own biggest obstacle. It’s, it turns out negotiations and inside job and we’re our own instrument, and the first thing I would say is I like to use this metaphor of what I see successful negotiators doing is they go to the balcony.

It’s almost like you, you like you’re negotiating on a stage with other people and so on. And then part of you goes to a mental and emotional balcony where you can see that you can keep your eyes on the prize. What’s really important here? Is it, as they say in marriage, you can be right or you can be happy, but you can’t be both.

And what’s really important here? And what’s the big picture and that’s a place of calm. It’s a place of perspective. It’s a place we all know, right? So we all, we have our favorite ways of going to the balcony. And one of mine is to go for a walk. What do you like to do to go to the balcony?

[00:05:58] Gabby Reece: I, by nature have a pretty analytical personality. Yeah. And so I, I can do it. I can just shift gears and just walk, watch what’s happening. Because I think we all have, and you talk a lot about this a lot where, we have different reactions. Like you say, sometimes people retreat. Sometimes they try to accommodate, like they have these different things. And I find that the minute I feel more aggressive emotionally, that means I’m afraid. I’ve learned a good insight. Yeah. I’ve learned to, it wouldn’t be that obvious. You think, oh that’s being, assertive or whatever.

It’s not, it’s still connected to my fear. I just learned whether it’s the way I grew up or through sports or whatever. It’s oh, I’m, this is making me uncomfortable. I’m going to go at it. And the minute that, and I’m old enough now, obviously that it, yeah. It’s shown up enough that I go, Oh, what’s going on?

So there it’s just to get that 30, 000 foot view right away. I just go, all right, get out of yourself. That, that internal balcony, I really appreciated that idea because it’s such a better place to start.

[00:07:06] William Ury: It is the best place to start is to stop. And it’s like to disengage for just a moment because, and then you can actually, at least for me, I can observe myself and Oh, just like you’re saying, Oh, that’s fear, behind the feeling of aggressive is actually fear. There’s fear. Okay. And if you listen to the fear and you identify the fear, actually, what happens is you start to relax a little bit because it’s seen, it’s you named the game, you named the inner game And then you’re suddenly, it’s important to have emotions and read your emotions.

Your emotions give you really important intelligence. But what’s critical is not to be controlled by your emotions. You want to be, you want to be able to watch them, listen to them, witness them, and then, take whatever information they have to bring you about what’s upsetting you what’s really going on for you.

William Ury: And then you can proceed to deal much more effectively with the other side. If we can influence ourselves, we’re going to be much better off. And influencing the other.

[00:08:05] Gabby Reece: I think what you said though, about taking a walk is probably the, it’s the number one, if you read multiple books about even getting ideas or creating space it’s taking a walk.

[00:08:20] William Ury: Walking, I’m an anthropologist, as I mentioned by training, walking is what made us human. We walked, we’re only sedentary here for a little percent of our time. Basically, if you look, humans, 99 percent of our time, we evolved as walkers. We even have large brains because we’ve got bipedal, we walked and stuff and walking.

What’s interesting about walking too is, whoever fights while they walk, no one ever fights while they walk because if you’re walking with someone, you’re walking side by side, if I were close to someone as close to I am when I’m shoulder to shoulder with someone, they’d feel physically uncomfortable, I’d be in their space, but shoulder to shoulder, side by side, we’re in the same space and our eyes are looking out at the horizon We can see the larger picture.

We have that kind of that balcony, that prefrontal cortex, getting activated and we get more creative. What I love to walk is because, and I walk every day, I live near the mountains. I love to hike up the mountains and I like to take my meetings walking because they’re just so much more productive.

And conversations when you walk talks, those are great. Those are great.

[00:09:25] Gabby Reece: So you talk about the balcony and then you have other principles and tools that you give to people. I find it interesting that you started your books with how to get to yes and how to get to know positively and you really landed though on how to get to yes with yourself so it feels like through your own work you go, Oh, wait a second. We still have to actually deal with the first part, which is us. So that felt like you’re learning curve.

[00:09:49] William Ury: Learning curve. It’s exactly it. I always write books about the things I want to learn. That’s the truth. You think you write books about the things, but you, but for me actually, I like, it might take me five years, but I’d like to, I like to pick a subject that, okay, that’s my learning edge.

And you’re absolutely right. What I learned is, wow. If you can’t get to yes with yourself, No wonder you’re having trouble getting together with others. If you can’t, like listening, which is. One of the most fundamental skills, that anything is to be able to listen.

Now, why don’t we listen? I think one of the main obstacles is we haven’t listened to ourselves. And because we haven’t listened to ourselves, you haven’t, like you were just saying, when you go to the balcony, you listen to your fear, you listen to it, you’ve listened to it. And then you’ve got more space, more spaciousness, as you were saying, to be able to listen to the other.

And so the key, the trick to listening. Is actually listen to yourself and then create the space, then you can listen to the other.

[00:10:50] Gabby Reece: Yeah, that makes sense. It would be like if I was crying, a baby is crying. It’s like, how do I take any other information in until I feel that space and that calmness and adults were so funny.

We’re I think we think that we have it figured out or we, because we mask it, it’s not there, but I think what you’re saying is important in an everyday practice,

[00:11:16] William Ury: These are everyday practices. And the good thing is we can get better at it. We can get into the what would it mean to be getting to the negotiation Olympics?

It’s through continual improvement and the. The good news is we get a chance to practice every day. We got conflicts. We got to negotiate. How often do you, if ask people who do you negotiate with? Just if I really did a fine negotiation broadly is, back and forth communication, you’re trying to reach agreement and I negotiate with my kids, negotiate with my spouse and negotiate with my business partner.

I negotiate with the customers. I negotiate with everyone. I negotiate with myself. And then I say how much time do you think you spend negotiating in that broad sense of the term? And I know, what would you say? How much time do you think you spend communicating back and forth with someone close to you or whatever?

[00:12:00] Gabby Reece: What would you say? If you’re not including myself inside, I think I’m, Oh, then that’s, it’s include yourself. Yeah, it’s 90 percent of the day is why would I think that thought? Why would I have that reaction? Okay, I have three daughters. It’s okay, what does she really need? And why do I, why am I reluctant to give that to her?

What does that really represent? And you have a daughter. So you understand what I find

[00:12:25] William Ury: about daughter is named Gabby.

[00:12:29] Gabby Reece: And she complained for a long time. I like that is, I I realize that they really are the great teachers because they call me on the real thing I’m reacting to.

They go, you’re saying no because of this, not because of that. And I’m like, you are 100 percent right. So it’s my values clashing with their values. The perception is that going to be perceived as bad parenting, whatever the million weird reasons are. So before we go to the second place, which I really appreciate the bridge.

I just want to remind people that you remind people that just because it looks different, we all respond. I said that I can lean in and attack. You say people will avoid or accommodate. And none of these are actually the best strategies.

[00:13:15] William Ury: That’s exactly right. We fall into what I call the three, a trap attack, avoid, or accommodate.

And sometimes we do all three, we might we might accommodate and then we avoid for a while and then we’d lose it and we go on the attack. And then we go around like a little rat in the maze and, and the question is, what’s the way out? And the way out, I find, is paradoxically, it’s to lean into the situation with curiosity.

When you start talking about leaning in, you might be slightly detached, but you’re like you’re curious about it, you bring curiosity and then you embrace it. Conflict, we don’t think of conflict as something you should embrace, but put your arms around it in some sense.

And you don’t have to end it because it may be creative tension. Conflict is something natural. It’s part of life. You don’t have to stigmatize it, but just transform it. Just change the form from. We have a choice. We can either handle the conflict destructively, or we can handle it constructively.

And, choose door number B.

[00:14:14] Gabby Reece: As somebody, because you do have a family, I just wonder, and they obviously know you have all these skills, because I have a lot of really smart friends, and I’ve gotten guidance from people, and when they talk about this curiosity, is in a way, I’m just curious, like in the most human level how do we do that? Where it doesn’t also seem antagonizing. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, it’s, Hey, I’m engaged. Not Oh, this is fascinating.

It’s like, where’s the sweet spot for I don’t want to react, but I care deeply. I’m involved. I do need to take a little space so I can try to. Come from that place of going towards resolution, not towards, I want to be right, or I want to win, or you need to be wrong. But in there’s a moment, right?

Where someone’s, they are looking at curiosity and I’m always fascinated. Is there any kind of skill to doing that where it doesn’t seem like you’re being antagonistic?

[00:15:15] William Ury: I think a lot of it actually a lot of negotiation boils down to respect. I always like to think, respect is the cheapest concession you can make and how can you respectfully be curious is the question.

And, curiosity is noticing and you might notice it’s not the right time for the person, that’s, I know, I, our daughters are our biggest teachers. My daughter certainly is. And and sometimes I realize I ask her questions and she could take it as an intrusion.

Like it’s intrusive and I’m being curious but so yeah, so one is just notice, is she, if I can catch myself, does she want to be, have a question right now and maybe is a question the best way to be curious? It might be just like you were doing right now. You were saying, you were talking about yourself first.

You say I’m feeling and I’m a little this and I’m a little that. You’re talking about your own feelings first. You’re not like asking about their feelings, but you’re bringing it to a different level. And then you can and right now I’m feeling like, I’d like to know a little more about you, but maybe this is not a good time or whatever it is.

You just like gently. Get yourself into the conversation. So curious that, there are sometimes, we have a tendency to go directly to the point, directly to the point and negotiations a little bit like sailing. I don’t know if you sail, but sometimes you tack a little bit, you don’t go straight at the point.

[00:16:38] Gabby Reece: And I think that’s, I guess the reason I wanted to bring up this nuance is because I think we can be honest and genuinely intended, but still also the art of communication and rhythm. Like you said, if you’re dealing with somebody who’s highly upset or it’s a very sensitive issue, it’s Hey I’m still being honest and I’m, and I still want to get to the solution, but I’m willing to just move in the rhythm that also will work with them.

It’s not dishonest is my point.

[00:17:09] William Ury: That’s it. You want to match, match someone you want to cut. It’s almost It’s like tuning in. You want to tune in to where they are. And we all have actually this internal capability to tune into others. We have these mirror neurons and so on, and just like our nervous system is that, you can even just Tune into yourself.

Am I stressed? Is there some part of, just your, our bodies are exquisite instruments for listening actually to, to ourselves, but also to the other and saying, I feel something funny is going on here. There’s something going on, I don’t know what it is. And that’s, in fact, now you can pick up if someone’s lying to you.

It’s not by just looking at their words or whatever. You get this funny feeling in your gut, Something’s off here. I’m not quite sure, but there’s something that doesn’t quite make sense. There’s something incongruent. And so your body is a, is an instrument. So you use your body to listen and tune in to where the other person is.

If the other person’s feeling stressed, uncomfortable, anxious, fearful, you’re going to feel it too in your body.

[00:18:12] Gabby Reece: I’ve learned, I learned through being in a long relationship with a very direct person who also can handle like really uncomfortable, like no problem, you can say, I’m feeling this and it’s oh, okay.  And you’re like, really, that’s okay. I had to, I had, I have and have had so much to learn about communication. Cause I was always. Stoic, because that was a lack of willing to be vulnerable, right? Like stoicism can slide over into actually I’m not going to show you my cards, right?

And I live with somebody who’s the opposite. It’s here’s everything. And with my daughters and what I’ve learned is. Even saying things like I can see your point where maybe it’s a small little thing and they say a truth that even might be uncomfortable instead of trying to defend it or whatever you go.

I can see that. And it’s amazing how even just that small acknowledgement can really get you into the better rhythm of connecting and communicating and not being…

[00:19:11] William Ury: That’s absolutely it. It’s Go to the balcony and then find a way to step to the other person’s side and what you’re doing when you say just that little thing, you don’t even have to agree with them.

Just say, I see your point. You may not even agree with the point. Just I see your point. lets them know that they’re seen, they’re heard. That’s respect, really. Respect is, comes from the Latin respect, to see again, like spectacles and re, to seek and actually see the human being who’s there.

And so much of this is really boils down to something that It’s it’s, I say it’s the cheapest concession you can make in a negotiation, it costs you nothing, but it means everything to the other side to be seen, to be heard, their dignity means everything to them. And that actually, when you say, I see your point, they feel seen and their system, their nervous system actually relaxes because they’re seeing, they don’t have to be defensive because, oh, you see their point and you’re on their side, so much of negotiation is about.

We think, Oh, I’m on one side and we’re in a tussle with the other now step to their side and then put the problem, whatever it is on the other side of the table. And how do we jointly, solve this problem and address it? Suddenly, it’s very different. It’s that shift from face to side by side.

[00:20:26] Gabby Reece: And you talk about a bridge. Can we drill down a little bit about the other kind of two positions that you really emphasize and me.

[00:20:36] William Ury: Just as the same with balcony, you do the opposite of reacting, which is you go to the balcony. Same thing was with the bridge because our tendency, when we get into conflict, we tend to think small.

We tend to get small, we reduce everything to us versus them. It’s a, almost like a win, lose battle who’s winning, I’m feeling the defensive. And what often happens is people start to, they dig into their positions and they start pushing each other. It becomes like a contest of wills who’s stronger and and you might get attacked, you might feel threatened or whatever it is.

And it’s almost like your mind is right here. Their mind is way over there. And it’s there’s a giant chasm like the grand Canyon between you, which is filled with doubt, anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, all the baggage from the past, whatever it is distrust. And, our tendency is we’re over here, locked into our position.

No, we’ve got to leave our position for a moment. It doesn’t mean the giving up just means leaving it for a moment. Start the conversation from where they are. I see your point. That was a good example. And then build them a bridge, a golden bridge, like the Golden Gate Bridge, which I grew up near, the golden bridge over that chasm.

In other words, make it as easy as possible for them to move in the direction you want them to move. Because so often in conflict, we’re making, we think we’re making it, we want to make it harder for them. You actually want to make it easier for them to make the decision we’d like them to make.

Instead of pushing, you attract. That’s the art of building a golden bridge.

[00:22:07] Gabby Reece: If someone’s listening to this, they think, okay, I’d be willing to do that in my friendships and my, with a partner, with a child, because these are my personal relationships. Now somebody is listening to this in a business situation.

I think so much of. I think that’s real more challenging for people. It’s wait a second. I’m trying to make it easy for that person over there. Who’s making it really difficult for me. And you deal with these, extraordinarily successful people, alphas, hard charging corporate business owners, all global, the whole nine yards.

How do you, cause sometimes the smartest people and the more successful they are, it’s almost like I would imagine it’s almost harder to get them to do it because what they’ve done so far works pretty well. So they’re like, I know stuff look at what I’ve built. How do you get them? Where do you get them to go? Oh, wait, that makes sense to me.

[00:23:05] William Ury: I have a friend who’s a hard charging business tycoon. A, he was a boxer, champion boxer, racer, aggressive. Go get him. And that’s how he built his, his business empire up from scratch. From a little bakery to, Brazil’s largest supermarket chain.

And he’d gotten into a fight, a big fight with the largest shareholder. He was the chair of the company and there’s a lot of shareholder. And it was, and for them, fight wasn’t just a little ordinary fight. No, it’s a dozen lawsuits and and character assassination in the press.

And it was just driving the families crazy too. It’d gone on for two and a half years. And the daughter, his daughter and his wife approached me and said, could you help? Because he’s not that type you’re just talking about. And so I said, I don’t know if I can help it, but I went to see him not in his office.

So that’s one of the keys, not in his office, at his home. And he had little kids. He had a second family, his little kids running around, his little son and daughter. And I asked him so we’re at home. So he’s more comfortable. He’s not, he’s outside, not behind the big desk. And I said, Abelio what do what do you want?

That’s that basic question. You’re like, curious, what do you want? And like a good businessman, he gave me, like six things he wanted. He wanted a whole bunch of stock. He wanted the elimination of the three or non compete clause. He wanted the company headquarters. He wanted the company sports team, it just, he had a whole list.

And I said, I got that. And I said But Abelio, tell me something. What do you really want? And he looked at me. What do you mean? I said, yeah, what do you really want? You’re a man who seems to have everything. You’ve got a new family. You’ve got as much wealth as anyone could possibly want. What do you want in your life?

What is it you really want here? Because you’re involved in this big fight now for three years. He looked at me for a long time. He was silent for a long time. And silence is golden, incidentally. It gives someone a chance to think. And finally, he said to me in Portuguese, he said, Liberdade, which in English means freedom. I want my freedom. And for him, I knew that had deep personal resonance because 20 years earlier, he’d been leaving his apartment and been kidnapped by a group of criminals and held in a coffin for A week, this is a guy a type in control and thinking was going to die and only by a miracle was he found by the police and released.

But freedom really meant something. He felt, like he was a hostage and sometimes we feel hostage of these situations. And I said, so what does freedom mean to you? What do you want to do with your freedom? And he said my family means everything to me. And he pointed to his kids. I said, freedom to be with my family and freedom to make the deals that I love to make.

And at that moment, winning the way he said the way freedom, I heard it just again, in your body, you just hear it, like there’s a little tone, like a. Like a little sound and I knew I’d hit gold. That’s really what it was about. It wasn’t about the money, wasn’t about this and that, everything.

That’s what it seemed to be about. And interestingly enough, I was helping him in effect, go to the balcony, and really see what the prize was there. And, within three months and then in the end, it only took five days. Once I knew it was freedom, then, this conflict, which was supposed to go on for seven years, everyone thought was absolutely impossible.

We were able to. Resolve it. I sat down with a fellow who represented his partner in five days and we had both men signing an agreement, wishing each other well. And the most important thing was at the end of it, I asked I said, did you get what you want? And he said, I got everything I wanted.

He said, but the most important thing is I got my life back. And his wife said to me, his little son who was only three, I think maybe three or four at the time said, Oh, poppies not always on the phone.

[00:26:49] Gabby Reece: And it’s interesting how we really think, we want so, so many other things than what we really want. And I’m just curious. When you’re dealing, let’s say you’re trying to help somebody the, what comes to top of mind is the fact that the other gentleman also had somebody helping him get to the balcony and the two of you could meet. So that’s like a, a great case scenario, even though. Imagine it’s even like your pride.

And if you’re talking about even the culturally right, a little more machismo culture for sure. Oh they I was humiliated. They disrespected me. Like you can really get over it. What happens when you have, let’s say the other gentleman was not compliant. Let’s say there’s people who, no matter what, they’re not gonna, they’re not there yet, they’re just not gonna get there. But your guy is there. I’m just curious ‘

[00:27:42] William Ury: cause Yeah, that happens a lot.

[00:27:46] Gabby Reece: Yeah. So what is it what do you, how do you help them when you’re in a situation where only really one person might be willing to take. Build bridges and to go to balconies and to do all these things. But everyone isn’t because that’s the other thing.

People get stuck and they lose their freedom. It’s like any lawsuits, it’s a nightmare. People think, Oh, and they say things like, it’s not fair and it’s not right. And I’m like. Correct. You want to get out of this as quickly as you can. So because people stand on that, right?

[00:28:16] William Ury: They do and they give up their lives for it.

[00:28:19] Gabby Reece: Yeah So what do you have a way that you reach somebody who you go? Hey this person there they’re right to do it different and the other side just clearly isn’t how do you help them? Yeah,

[00:28:31] William Ury: That seemed to be the case in this case. And actually if you had to talk to the other guy, he would have thought too.

They both thought that the other was absolutely impossible. This guy, my client, once he said to me, he said, you’ve been dealing with, I don’t know, the Chechens and terrorists and stuff like that. That’s nothing compared to the guy you’re going to have to deal with now. That was his experience.

And we often have that experience. And it certainly seemed that way to everyone that these two guys neither of them was going to back down because a lot of it actually had to do with neither of them. Once it was a fight, neither of them could afford to be seen to be backing down. You talk about the macho thing, it just, and so it wasn’t just freedom that he wanted.

I realized it was dignity. It’s and so we had to figure out a way to, in which no one could tell who won here. And in fact, both did actually well. And I but but this was that kind of situation. And in fact, oftentimes it is those situations where you may want to get to yes, but the other side is extremely obdurate and that’s why.

[00:29:35] William Ury: I talk about the golden bridges. You got to figure out a way out. And it’s not about, when you when I said making it easier, you’re not making, you’re making it easier for the other side. To make the decision you want them to make. You it’s not about making it easier for them. It’s like making it easier for them to make the decision that you want them to make.

So it’s like clearing the obstacles. Cause oftentimes there’s a lot of obstacles like distrust, why aren’t they, ask yourself, Why aren’t they, again, you go to the balcony you put yourself in the other side’s shoes for a moment. Even if it’s your bitter enemy, you want to put yourself in their shoes.

You got to get closer to your enemies and your friends sometimes because you got to know them. How can you possibly change someone’s mind unless you know where their mind is right now? So you’ve got to put yourself in their shoes and then think about why are they saying no? Why are they being difficult?

What’s really behind it? What’s really going on there? Long ago, I remember reading about Steven Spielberg, when he was a boy there in LA he was like 13. There was a bully in his class. He was 15. He would just beat him up and made his life. Pure absolute hell and he would run from home from school, dive under bed, call out safe to himself.

And then one day he thinks, how do I get this bully off my back? How do you deal with a bully? So he goes up to the bully one day. He says, I’m making these little home movies, even then he was making old movies. And I’m making one about fighting the Nazis. And I was wondering if you’d care to play the war hero.

The bully laughs in his face, but a couple of days later, grudgingly, he comes back and says, okay. And so young Spielberg takes him, dresses him up and fatigues and backpack the whole works and makes him the war hero in his movie. And guess what? Spielberg reported that bully became his best friend.

His best friend in high school was his bully, beating him up for an entire year. And so the question that we have to ask ourselves when we’re dealing with these bullies in life is why does a bully? What’s the motivation? What do you think of bully bullies?

[00:31:40] Gabby Reece: If you had to guess what are the motivation for me? I, what comes to mind is there’s something happening at home that they’re bullied and they’re probably really afraid. And God forbid, maybe you seem like they saw your mom drop you off one day at school and you seem like you come, you get some love that, you know, so complex in so many ways.

[00:32:01] William Ury: And it often, we think, the aggression, as you were saying before, that aggression comes from a feeling of strength. That actually comes from a feeling of insecurity, but bullies generally feel insecure and they want attention. They want recognition. They want a sense of control. So what did Spielberg, he looked in his repertoire.

What can I do to give this guy a sense of attention to control, make him no hero in my war movie. And that’s how the bully shifted. And so that’s what we need to do is because we, their bullies aren’t just in high school, they’re in real life all the time. You have to step back, go to the balcony and figure out what’s the motivation, what’s really going on there.

And then see if there’s some basic human need there. that you can find some way to address that can flip the situation. I’m not saying it’s always going to work. Incidentally, this is the hardest work you can do. You’re always looking for possibilities, instead of seeing obstacles, just obstacles and just saying, Oh, this is impossible.

Just stay with it. And be curious and you might see little possibilities and one thing leads to another.

[00:33:02] Gabby Reece: And I’ll share, personally, my husband and I have had different kind of frivolous lawsuits put against us, for this or that. I had one, maybe a few years back, six, six years back.

And my lawyer called and was like, it’s a shakedown. I don’t know what to tell you pretty much, it was like one of those kinds of situations. Yeah. And, but my thought was I really want to, and I had been through enough things to learn my lesson on this. It was like, what is the quickest way back into my own freedom or my own life?

And if it’s a dollar that I can, I’ll survive. It’s uncomfortable. It won’t, it’s not going to be fun to get rid of this person, but the cost to stay in my freedom and not get entangled. And that’s why I’m always very compassionate when people have divorces and especially things around children, custody because You can’t do that, right?

Like you just, you can’t go, okay, here’s a check or you get it all. And I’m out and I’ll start over. It’s you’re dealing with your kids or their safety, or maybe your part, the ex-partner is really out. They want to, they want revenge, but I do want to encourage people to your point. It’s okay to let people win in that frame of yeah, you win because your time your wellbeing, your peace of mind, even getting into a legal battle.

It’s a nightmare. They’ll, the court will be like, okay, cool. We’ll get back together in 16 weeks to have another meeting to then talk about what we’re going to do in five more months. It’s a nightmare. It’s get out of it as quickly as you can, if you can. And you might think it’s unfair. But one thing my husband taught me is he goes, how’s that working for them?

It’s we have to live by our code. People live by their code. They’ll answer to whatever choices and decisions they’re making. We don’t have to be judge and jury. Like it’s okay. Cause it’s people don’t realize how hard it can be on you.

[00:35:08] William Ury: That’s true. That’s absolutely true. It was Voltaire who once said I was ruined twice in my life, once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won a lawsuit.

Yeah. And yeah, it’s true. And that’s the importance of going to the balcony and really thinking what is really important to me, in this situation. And, sometimes you do need to stand your ground. And of course you don’t want to attract other frivolous lawsuits and whatever. So you need to, you need to balance it at the same time.

We waste so much time in the battle to be right. And it’s, You know what? They say, it’s like it’s what is truly important here? Life goes by in a flash. What is going to be really important? And you come to, you came to freedom. And, it’s interesting.

My friend who said freedom, so that was I saw him at his 85th birthday party, not too, about a little while ago. And all he could talk about was in the last period of time, the last 10 years or whatever, he was free. And that was the most, that was the best years of his life. Now he could have sacrificed it on that, lawsuits and battle, or he could have the freedom that he wanted.

[00:36:19] Gabby Reece: And he could have had a third wife and the next situation, right? Cause it’s so you talk about the third side. I really appreciated this is a kind of a actionable part of the bridge, of the balcony bridge.

[00:36:37] William Ury: It’s there’s three dimensions in a negotiation.

There’s the side, your three sides, first side is dealing with yourself, negotiating with yourself. And the second is negotiating with the other. Negotiating with the other. And the third is the whole, and what happens in negotiations and conflicts is we so often we get thinking small and we reduce everything.

There’s just two sides, it’s us versus them. It’s the husband versus the wife. It’s a union versus management. It’s, I don’t know, what, one boring side against another. And what we forget. Is that in every situation, there’s never just two sides, there’s always a third side, which is the side of the whole, the surrounding whole, could be the family, could be the workplace, could be the community, could be the country, could be the world, whatever it is, and there are people there who care, like in the case of my friend Abelio, his wife and his daughter were they were affected by it, everyone’s affected by conflicts, and they were third siders that said, hey, you And they asked me to come in, not just as a negotiator for him, but as a third side or someone who would take the side of the whole, and then I recruited person who represented the other together, that community, those people around who care that caring community, we constitute a kind of container.

I’d like a circle within which like a a pot of you cook something, you cook the conflict, you cook the, you transform the conflict from its destructive form to a constructive form. Third siders can help calm the parties down, help them go to the balcony, help them build the bridge, help them listen, help them communicate, help them facilitate.

It’s not just neutrals, it could be mediators, that’s a third sider too, but it’s often just a friend, it’s a colleague, it’s someone who can help you, and I found that in a lot of tough conflicts, we think we got to do it all ourselves. And in fact, there’s a big resource around us, which is the people around us who are affected by the conflict and have a, have an incentive in trying to help us find a way out.

[00:38:38] Gabby Reece: And I feel like when they know you and they’re intimate with enough information, they can really be such a great tool and so helpful.

[00:38:46] William Ury: We all have blind spots, we can, we all have blind spots. So having a good friend, who can serve as your balcony, someone who can, you’re, we’re so engaged, we’re so identified, we get triggered, we’re, we’re like all these emotions going, someone who can just help us just see the larger picture. Wait a minute, is this how you want to spend your life? The rest of your life is battling this lawsuit or do you want to live your life?

[00:39:08] Gabby Reece: I can’t help but think as a female, I often wonder for women in business, because it’s obviously different, especially if, let’s say you’re in leadership roles. If this is like a different nuanced thing for them to deal with, because a lot of times, I’m 6’3 so it’s a little easier for me just even having physical size where, let’s say you’re a badass woman, you grind it through the ranks, you’re the boss, you’re 5’2 you’re 120.

And it’s still getting your brain around. It’s not giving up or giving in taking this attitude. It’s not a lack of strength. You won’t be taken less seriously. I think it’s, but I could see where it’s almost trickier if you’re in that position with the, that specific framework where you think, Oh, great.

Now I’m here and I’m, I’m having to. Give in. So I just want to highlight that because I could see where that environment makes it a little kind of more just complicated.

[00:40:08] William Ury: It is no one likes to give in really. And or very few people do, I would say, and I’m not suggesting giving in. I’m suggesting focusing on what you want. It’s not about getting mad. It’s not about getting even, it’s about getting what you want. And so in that situation to think about what is it that I want? And of course, women leader in a kind of male formed workplace, they’re going to, Oh, if I give in, am I going to be sending a signal of weakness and then other people will take advantage of me.

You need to think about those things. Of course, the, What I find is that to be an effective negotiator means to try to advance your interests, get what you want and if, and also help the other side get what they want, because you’re going to be in a relationship with them, a business relationship or personal relationship, whatever it is, but the.

If you’re asking the question, who’s winning, if you’re asking the question, who’s winning this marriage, your marriage is some difficulty and, and most of the business is relationship, we’re interdependent, it’s we think it’s a win, lose contest, but the truth is that when those contests usually often lead to lose, everybody loses in the end, maybe one side loses a little more than the other, but everybody loses and the community loses.

And the great challenge these days is to find, in these difficult, really hard situations where there’s asymmetries of power and there’s all these emotions floating around. Where do we find the outcomes, the relationships that allow us to both move forward, both address at least most of what we want, our most basic interests.

And then the surrounding organization, the team, the organization, the community, all benefit as well.

[00:41:49] Gabby Reece: Yeah, I just really appreciated and, wanted to make that deciphering point, and you said something really, I think that’s so important, which is if we can transform our conflicts that you, it’s a way that we can all contribute to transforming our world.

And I, I think all of us want to contribute to making the world a better place, which it does feel very combative. And I just want to remind people, because even if we can do this practice within ourselves. We can do so much for our own community. And our little bit, for the world.

[00:42:22] William Ury: That’s it, Gabby. That’s absolutely. The thing is started home, if everyone starts to transform the conflicts that are immediately around them, it’s like a kind of expanding concentric circle, like throwing a pebble in a pond it, it ripples out. And that’s what really makes the difference.

So no conflict is too small and to. Yeah. And it’s it also, you transform your conflicts, you transform your life, and you transform the lives of people around you. Because the truth is, there’s probably no opportunity in the world, we can’t realize, there’s no problem we can’t solve. Whatever the problem is in the world, these problems are all made by human beings.

They can be resolved by human beings if we can work together. And the biggest obstacle in the way of us working together is this little thing called conflicts. So if we can transform the conflicts, We can realize the opportunities that we want to realize in our life.

[00:43:13] Gabby Reece: That’s it, cause it, it feels like it’s, we were moving in certain ways in the other direction.

So is that, you’ve written so many books you’ve taught at, the highest level, institutions you’ve negotiated yourself. You’ve covered this space. What inspired you? What was sitting on the table for you to still work on that you go? Oh, I’m gonna do a book.

[00:43:35] William Ury: The book started actually with a hike with a friend of mine Jim Collins who’s an author to books like good to great and He turned to me and he said on the way up on the mountain. He said, these are turbulent times Do you think you could? Sum up everything you’ve learned In one sentence and he challenged me.

He said, Darwin could, in the origin of species, the theory of evolution in one sentence. And that we could be of use to us in these times. And so I like challenges and I like simplicities. I went away and our next hike, I came up with with with a sentence and I thought about it and then he said, now go write the book.

And. But the deeper thing is I’m also I just I just, in the last year my I became a grandfather and I have a new, I have a, there’s a baby in the family. His name is Diego. And and on the day he was born. I had a chance to cradle him in my arms for an hour, and they’re just looking at this pure innocent, being full of potential.

And I was asking myself like, let’s, that generation, of kids like 20 years from now, looking back at today, what would they wish, what would we, what would they wish we’d done? ? And and I realized he’s my new boss, so that generation is my new boss. And so that’s why I wrote the book was really, because I honestly believe I’ve spent decades now wandering around in the world’s toughest conflicts from South Africa to the Cold War, to the Middle East, all over the Middle East, walking all over the Middle East. And and I’ve yet to see a conflict that I didn’t think was possible to transform. And right now we’ve got lots of conflicts here in our country and in the world and they get reflected at the family dinner table and in the workplace and And I honestly believe that if we take, I’m sure anyone listening to your show right now is a possible list because they wouldn’t otherwise be listening to you.

Cause you’re so clearly a possible list and, believing in human potential. It’s just a question of taking that human potential that we have as our innate birthright, our innate curiosity, our innate creativity, our innate collaboration, our innate relational skills, and applying it to these thorny disputes that kind of set us apart.

And if we can do that. And then we can fashion the world the way we want it to be. And the world that we want our children or our grandchildren to inherit.

[00:46:04] Gabby Reece: You talk about side by side versus face to face and even that dynamic, how that’s so different. Now we’re dealing with screens and, 15 second, 30 second clips, right?

We’re not dealing with nuance or eyeballs or, breathing patterns. We’re really in a very different dimension now with conflict. We’ve taken conflict into this sort of flat space. Which it’s really hard to very hard. So in, in addressing this as the person who has a little more experience, but now working for this younger generation and trying to, leave something behind that maybe they can pick up and be useful and they can continue what, what was how do you address that?

How did you incorporate where they’re also, so yeah. Yeah, not the town square or the dinner table or even, it’s now it’s global and it’s on a phone and it’s quick. It’s it seems even like a much more dimensionally complicated way to have conflict.

[00:47:11] William Ury: It is. If I was a Martian anthropologist right now, looking down and trying to understand human beings, I would say, wow. You’ve come up with the most amazing technologies here that can really advance things and you’re using it to, you’re using it for, you’re using it to, to sling arrows, insult each other or or get addicted to it or whatever, it’s they, we have this enormous, we have this enormous opportunities.

These technologies are tools. And I think we’re just learning. The, everything like is fairly new. And right now we’ve got a I coming and I know you’ve been talking about and the question is, okay, how can we make these tools serve us rather than us serve them? That’s the real question.

And for that, We have to go to the balcony. We have to, it’s that same ability to step back for a moment and say, because we get trapped. And of course, the trouble with the, with these technologies too, is, we’re on one side of the screen on the other side of the screen are thousands of engineers who are trying to figure out ways to addict us so that we pay attention, we get engaged, we pay attention to the ads or whatever it is.

And so it’s it, yeah. We really need to reshape our technologies are the medium in which we communicate so that it actually can help us do things rather than bring us into fisticuffs. I think a lot of the increase in conflict right now in the world today, that’s increasing is because of the way we’re communicating or not communicating, I should say through social media.

[00:48:46] Gabby Reece: I think your original point why you probably ended up on getting to yes, with yourself is, I was talking to a friend of mine. We’re talking about how dopamine drives so much of us physiologically. And I said, it’s interesting if I contend with my ego, right? Don’t waste my time.

And whatever weird thing I have. And I go, Oh, check that out. That’s your ego. Then it’s almost like when I get into that practice of going to the balcony and watching myself. I then somehow my dopamine, I can also put at bay. It’s like seeing with your ego Hey, I’m not going to react. I’m not going to get offended. I’m not going to show you how smart I am. I’m not going to be right. I think I could be wrong that has also been a helpful exercise in me managing this tool that we’re talking about reacting responding because again, it’s just another opportunity to observe ourselves.

When you wrote this book though, did something show up because you are contending with this dynamic that was so really different or is it really, it’s the same principles, but now we’re just practicing them also on different mediums.

[00:49:58] William Ury: That’s, I think that it’s that and I just want to say.

A little humility goes a long way, to be able to look at your own ego requires just a little bit of humility there, which you know, in this world, in dealing with conflicts, I like the word, I like the phrase humble audacity. You want to be audacious, of course, in taking on big problems, but you’ve got to, you’ve got to balance the audacity with as much humility and humility is allows us to both recognize our own egos right and recognize oh wow that’s not necessarily in my interest the way that’s going but humility also allows us then to listen to the other and take in where the other is. And humility is maybe we’re not always right, maybe the other side, we have different perspectives, we have different ways of seeing things.

Humility goes a long ways there. And I do think the, these principles, which are human principles, right now we’re in the, we’re in this emerging age of AI, we’re, just speaking as my Martian anthropologist for a moment, everything is. Is changing and about to change big time. It’s going to, it’s affecting everything, but it’s going to affect even what it means to be human.

Because pretty soon, I just really, a lot of people are going to link it all kinds of, I was talking to a friend of my daughter’s and saying, Oh yeah, I would put in one of those neural links in my brain and connect up with the internet. And so it’s going to be, it’s a different world.

And what it means is, The more we have AI, the more we need to learn to be human to balance it out. The more high tech we go as a friend of mine used to like to say, the more high touch we have to be, we have to balance it out. And the principles in the book of going to the balcony, that’s profoundly human.

It’s okay, mindfulness. Watch yourself, self observation, self awareness. We’re going to need that even more so going forward because think, fasten your seatbelt. We’re in for a wild ride here. The ability, success will come, our kids, what are we teaching our kids? Teaching the kids to observe themselves and to be masters of themselves.

That’s good. Self-mastery is going to be the key because otherwise you’ll just be addicted. You’ll just be totally at the effect of whatever new technological device comes up with. And so that’s the first victory. The first victory is a victory with yourself. And then that allows you to then think about a victory with the other, which is the golden bridge, which is, the art of reaching agreement.

But in the end, we want a victory for the whole. For the benefit of the whole, for the family, for the organization, for the team, for the community, for the world. And that’s where the third side comes in. So in a funny way, as an anthropologist studying kind of human beings, we’re going to go through maybe the most rapid shift in human evolution in the next 10, 20 years than we have in, I don’t know, thousands of maybe tens of hundreds of thousands of years as we try to figure out how to relate to this new technology. But it requires us to be more human. That’s the thing. The more technology, the more human we have to be.

[00:53:08] Gabby Reece: So William, in, in closing this out, I just have to ask because I’m always curious. You look very healthy to me. You have a lot of vitality. I always say there’s matte people and shiny people and you’re very shiny. And yes I get that you have certain practices that you. Your spirit, you.You’re fluid. You’re, I think that practice too, people don’t realize that. And you’ve said this a lot. Also when you practice this a little bit, it does get easier. These are muscles that you flex. Sometimes you get that. Your gatekeeper gets a little stronger. You get that pause, things like that.

But I am curious. You’re. You’re in a very natural environment right now. If you’ve been made your physical practice and how you eat and all of those things, is that also as conscious as the way you move through the world and react?

[00:53:59] William Ury: I try. I do. I the foundation of any life is health, right?

Without that. And eating well in moderation, the thing I do is I try to link whatever I want to be with what I, what gives also gives natural human pleasure. And okay, food. So enjoy food, but enjoy moderation. But like walking, for example, which is my kind of, I do some stretching and yoga and stuff like that, but it’s my walking.

It’s not like I go out and say, Oh, I’m going to be disciplined. I got to go for a walk. It’s just an, it’s just I want to go for a walk because I go for a walk. It’s beauty. It’s a diet of beauty and wonder and it’s like creative ideas and it’s a chance to just, let go of stress. I’ll walk two, three, four times a day, whatever, however long, but it’s not something I just have to force myself to do.

It just becomes an it’s natural because it feeds mind, body. Spirit and heart. And so you want to look for those things that are natural to you that just keep you that are things you want to do every day. Not just things you have to do. That’s what I find. And the odd thing, too, about because I.

I don’t really, I don’t really like violence and stuff, but I spent a lot of time in war zones. I’ve spent a lot of time in, in places. The interesting thing I’ve found is that if there’s anything I worry about, or I’m afraid about in the world, if I turn towards it, instead of resisting it, if I turn towards it and I move towards it, I get lighter.

It’s a funny thing. I’ve noticed this I long time ago, I had a thought to create a long-distance walking trail across the Middle East and everyone thought that’s the craziest thing in the world. Who’s going to walk in the Middle East and it’s all these things. It’s interesting. And I’ve gone there many times to walk and it’s an old trail.

It retraces across 10 different countries. The old path of Abraham and his family, As 4, 000 years ago. And it’s, as it’s remembered by people in the region and and it’s, I told people it’s a hundred year project, but when you go there and you walk there, you think you might be going into a place of incredible danger, but when you’re walking there, people are so kind to you, they’re so hospitable to you, they’re so surprised to see you.

And the stress that we have about imagining this is a danger. Relaxes. So I found that actually, if you go into, if you move into what you fear, Your fear turns out not to be exactly what you thought it was. And maybe that also keeps me younger. I don’t know, something like that. Yeah.

[00:56:36] Gabby Reece: Our mind plays some really funny tricks on us daily.

[00:56:40] William Ury: It does. What’s amazing to me I watch my mind and it’s I think it was multaneous says something like I’ve had a, like life’s been full of. Like a million bad things, 99 percent of which never happened, they’re a hole in your mind.

[00:56:55] Gabby Reece: When you, and I just curious, cause most people don’t get into these situations. Let’s say you’re into high stakes negotiation. I’m not talking about some rich guys who are got their egos going. We’re talking about war and people’s lives and you are going to, talk to the other side, let’s say do you have anything that you think that you’ve developed, even if it’s on a subconscious level, that it isn’t, it has a neutralizing. I know we talked about that curiosity, but you’re going into a place that, you’re representing the bad guys, whatever that means. Is there anything in your subconscious that you’ve developed?

[00:57:32] Gabby Reece: Or are you, is it I’m just going to come as my full, whole, honest self? Yeah. And maybe your humanity inside of you will feel that is there some technique because these, then that’s the real high stakes. Situations and be scary.

[00:57:49] William Ury: It is scary. And it’s the same, it’s the same, these same universal principles, but what I find is I’ll just give you an example.

Maybe the best way to tell you a story. I found myself, I was working on the Syrian Civil War some years ago, and and as part of it. I was interviewing people on all sides of the war and I was interviewing jihadists too, people who were fighting and I was right on the board with my colleagues.

I was right on the border of Turkey and Syria. And these guys were just coming, literally stepping across the border, a few miles across the border out of a battle, where they’re leading a battle, like 2, 000 men in a battle to be interviewed, believe it or not, cause they actually wanted their story out.

And we would spend three hours with each one, take as long time and and this guy showed up who was had the beard. Yeah, the absolute stereotype of an American of, like bringing up images of 9 11 and everything. And so I could watch my mind, that stereotype, but I thought, okay, let’s just, how do I’ll just show up and just be curious, and so I, so instead of asking him, what do you think about the Syria and the situation? I said, tell me a little bit about yourself. This is all through translation. Of course, I said, what were you doing when, how’d you get involved in the war here? What were you doing? And he said and this guy who was like the, leader commander of 2000 troops, men said I was in university.

I said, okay, so what were you studying in university? He said I was studying poetry. And I said, poetry. Yeah, it was like, that’s all. And I said he said, yeah, I was studying poetry. I was even won the national poetry prize. My uncle was a poet too. And I said, can I hear one of your poems?

And he declaimed one of his poems and And then I was just trying to think of what I said, imagine I said, so how did you get involved? He said he said, I got called in by the secret police and for one of the poems I’d written, which was taken as critical of the government and I was tortured.

I said you’re tortured. And yeah, he said that was tortured three times. And then he told me, that, he started off nonviolent or whatever, but then he saw his friends being shot down around him and he decided, okay, I’ll take up arms. And anyway, I asked him another question too, which is, I said, what? If you survive this, he says, I don’t know if I’m going to survive, but I said, what would you like to do with your life? What, what, get at some of his dreams said I met this young woman in Egypt and I fell in love with her and, we’d love to get married and have children, but he was just very humanizing, whatever, the whole thing.

And then, yeah. I asked him at the end of the CR interview, I said, is there any message you want us to bring back to people in the West? He said, yeah. He said, when we show up on your TV screens and your, whatever your screens, you just see numbers, this number of people killed, that number of people killed.

Just remember that each woman, child, man here, has a soul. Just tell him we all have souls. I could see my preconceptions just drop, and again, it was just bringing curiosity rather than just, immediate stereotypes to the situation. And then he said something at the very end.

He said, let me tell you something. He said other people have come to talk to us. He said, but you’re the first ones who came and listened.

[01:01:05] Gabby Reece: That makes me weepy, William.

[01:01:08] William Ury: Yeah, it’s touching. Just to listen. That’s the thing about this work. I can say is, whether you’re working in your family or you’re working out in the world, it’s behind every conflict, especially every, these tough conflicts that we face that are really troublesome, it’s human beings and they’re broken human beings or hurt human beings and you get down to that level and And that’s why, we think, okay no, that means that’s going to be very different from what we do in our families.

I want to tell you it’s not that different. It’s the same. And we all have these tools. It just, it’s not a question of getting something new. It’s inside of us. It’s just a question of recognizing it, remembering it and honing and developing. And if we can do that, this is our birthright.

And there’s nothing too difficult here. There’s nothing, however impossible it looks. It may take time. It’s hard work. It’s hard to do. But and that, that’s where the hope lies for the, for our future. Yeah.

[01:02:06] Gabby Reece: And, I often say to it isn’t about being perfect like just because I can exercise these and practice them. I do have people like I will I have one very close friend that’s actually Jenn who’s on here and my husband, if I really had an initial thing that I really wanted to feel. Say or do, but I didn’t cause I chose to go to the balcony. I will confess to one of them how I really, my initial feeling was. Cause it was, it’s almost like an offload.

So I think that within it, we can honor ourselves all along. You know what? It makes that easier to like, you’ve got to at least say to one person, you didn’t blow your head off, but you could be like, this person sent me this email today and I wanted to say this. I didn’t. And so I think it’s also people realizing it’s not becoming a robot.

It’s just making, a different choice. I is there any in, in, in wrapping this up? Is there anything that surprised you in writing this book that you thought, Oh, I now have a new perspective go, or I’ve reframed something that I thought was one way. And now it’s different.

[01:03:13] William Ury: I would say the thing that keeps surprising me is is how all this human potential is actually inside of us. And it, it doesn’t require experts. You don’t need an expert. Even, that story you just told about Telling a friend that’s person is a third sider. If you just look around these things this is the gift of our ancestors to us.

The reason why we’re still around human beings is because, we evolved, we’re naturally cooperative creatures. Of course, we get into conflicts too. We have this immense. Ability to cooperate and to communicate. If we just use it, it’s inside of us. It’s just about awakening a potential inside of us.

Because sometimes, people are like, Oh, you’re an expert. You’ve been this, no, forget the expertise. It’s inside of each one of us. These things are they’re not easy, but they’re simple. They’re inside of us. And that’s really what just, I come back to is it. It’s every one of us can be a third sider.

Every one of us can go to the balcony. Every one of us can build bridges. We can start right here, right now, because there’s no shortage of practice opportunities. And that’s the way, bit by bit, conflict by conflict, we can make the world the way we want it to be.

[01:04:31] Gabby Reece: And, not the kind of these third party conflicts, but these silly day to day conflicts that we all experienced within our family.

I’m curious as my final question, my Laird, my husband always says, if I’m looking for a fight, all I have to do is go outside my door. I feel like the more that we practice this, we actually run into less hassles. In the it’s this magical antenna that we are, right? And I think that is another interesting side component.

Now there’s gonna be things that are out of our control, of course, but the other side of this is in the end, even if you wanna make it about yourself, it does make your life so much easier. Because when you have these practices, I feel like you run into less hassles.

[01:05:15] William Ury: That’s without question. Of course, it just, conflict is what the, especially destructive conflict is what creates stress in our lives.

It creates, it probably creates cancers. It creates, it eats at us. And so our ability to just deal with these things constructively. You don’t have to avoid them. You don’t have to suppress them. You just engage with them, and and bit by bit. Yeah.

You’re going to make your life a lot easier and happier. And and you’re right. If you go out looking for a fight, you’re going to find a fight. If you go out. radiating a little bit of inner peace and look at seeing the, say, connecting, tuning into other people where they are, you’re going to, life’s going to be a lot easier.

It’s all about, I know your husband’s a surfer. We’ve got to learn how to surf the waves that are out there. There are a lot of waves. We can’t choose the waves anymore so easily. There are a lot of waves coming our way. There are storms, but we can surf, and, Laird surfs beautifully and we can learn to surf beautifully.

We can learn to ride the waves and negotiating is a way of riding the waves of human emotion and human relationship.

[01:06:20] Gabby Reece: I appreciate you and the work that you do because we can all use. Not only the very concrete reminders, but the kind of encouragement that it is something that we can be in charge of. So thank you for and I’m glad you’re a friend gave you that challenge.

[01:06:39] William Ury: Yeah, definitely Jim. Yeah, no, I think it’s a good challenge for anyone. I would say he’s like. Think about, because all of us have wisdom to pass on. See if you can just sum it up in one sentence, just as a kind of to see if you can get it that simple. I recommend it.

[01:06:57] Gabby Reece: It’s not, that’s the hardest thing to do, right? Take big ideas and make them simple. Thanks, William.

[01:07:01] William Ury: It is. It is. It is. Great. Thank you, Gabby. It’s just a huge pleasure and I really hope that your listeners can, I’m sure they’re all possibleists and it’s just a question. I’m absolutely positive that you can, we can with that, these kinds of possibilities, we can begin to to transform our lives and our world.

[01:07:22] William Ury: So thank you very much for this opportunity. Thank you. Amen



About William Ury

William Ury, co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, is one of the world’s leading experts on negotiation and mediation. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project.Over the past thirty-five years, William has served as a negotiation adviser and mediator in conflicts ranging from Kentucky wildcat coal mine strikes to ethnic wars in the Middle East, the Balkans, and former Soviet Union, and most recently in Colombia, where he serves as a senior advisor to President Juan Manuel Santos.