What EXACTLY is negotiation?

A father left 17 camels as an asset for his three sons.  When the father passed away, his sons opened up the will. The Will stated that the eldest son should get half of 17 camels while the middle son should be given 1/3rd (one-third). The youngest son should be given 1/9th (one-ninth) of the 17 camels.

As it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, three sons started to fight with each other.  Later, the three sons decided to go visit a wise man. The wise man listened patiently about the Will, and after giving it some thought, he brought one camel of his own and added it to the 17 camels. That increased the total to 18 camels.

Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will. Half of 18 = 9. So he gave the eldest son 9 camels 1/3rd of 18 = 6. So he gave the middle son 6 camels 1/9th of 18 = 2.  So he gave the youngest son 2 camels. Adding this up: 9 plus 6 plus 2 is 17 and this left one camel, which the wise man took back.


The attitude of negotiation and problem solving is to find the 18th camel i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the common ground, the issue is resolved. It may take a difficult process, but it will eventually be solved. 

Morals of the Story : 

1. The first step to breakthrough is to believe that there is a solution. If we think that there is no solution, we won’t be able to reach any! 

2. Be your own version of an optimist. Believing in yourself is more important than people believing in you. 

3. If you can’t make it through one door, go through another door, or better still, you make a door for yourself!