Continuing the discussion about Prisoner’s Dilemma, which leads to the win-win strategy of the 7 Habits course, I think further about the win-win. Basically, it is another application of the Game Theory.

In a zero-sum situation, it is pretty hard to find a win-win. The best is a compromise, since the resource is limited and fixed. The more you get is the more the other party loose.

The non-zero-sum game is more often in our life, but this fact is very easily ignore. Basically, it is about the total of someone’s gain, and others’ lose is not zero. It can easily become negative total or positive total. The best example for this is a couple: one won’t be happier if the other party is sadder.

That also echos to another simple observation of any trade: a trade has to be in a non-zero-sum environment. If the good I deliver is exactly the same in value as the good I receive, there is no reason to do it, since the transaction cost will cause the total value decrease. With trade, both party should get something better than what we give, from our own perspective. If we cannot reach it, then no-deal.

Many times, we encounter the problem of being angry, like a encountering a crazy driver on the road. In these circumstances, it seems making the other party feeling bad is the best way to make our self feeling good – we all know the result. Interestingly, why the idea of zero-sum is so dominate in our mind? In personal relationship, there is very few occasions that is a zero sum game.