“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw
When you read that quote you almost want to be that unreasonable man, right? If you are an entrepreneur you seem to have no choice except being unreasonable, stubborn and self-confident. So, does that mean you can’t be a kind entrepreneur? Are all entrepreneurs obnoxious, individualistic overly self-confident pricks?
I sure don’t hope so because if that is so I don’t want to be an entrepreneur. Although it is true that as an entrepreneur you can’t always be a nice guy and you will have to make tough decisions that might alienate certain people I do think it is possible to be kind, interested in other people and reasonable.
I once negotiated with a company about a pretty big deal. The negotiations revolved about our personal rewards so that meant I had lots to gain. The company we negotiated with were pretty fair about their offer and I understood their reasoning. That made it hard for me to negotiate. My partner at the time was basically an asshole. He kept shouting, he kept bringing up awkward arguments that didn’t make any sense and he kept refusing whatever they offered.
Several times during the negotiations I felt embarrassed for being at our side of the table. The most interesting thing however was that the other side kept raising their offer. His strategy seemed to work and we walked away with a lot more money than I expected.
You could easily conclude that it is good to be unreasonable from hearing that story. However, that was just one deal where it all worked out well. There might have been many other deals where we actually lost a lot of money by being unreasonable.
I’m still grateful that my partner was able to get more money out of that deal than I could have. But I also don’t ever want to be that kind of unreasonable man. How about you?