The Cancer of Compromise

The Cancer of Compromise

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“Impossible is nothing”

The trouble with compromise is that nobody wins. For me, compromise is like a slow death. The most passive, easy-going, compromising people often have the least fulfilled lives. Why don’t they achieve their dreams, instead of always ‘settling’ for an alternative?

And why do companies like Apple succeed so much more than others?

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, never settled for anything less than his vision. But when obstacles appear, many leaders swerve off their course, and arrive at a completely different end-point than they’d envisioned. Jobs was different. He had a tight hold of his vision and wouldn’t let anyone drive him off his intended course. He never compromised, and in so doing, gave us what we wanted, before we knew even what that was.

If “consistent compromise” is disastrous in the long term, you will understand that “no compromise” is therefore one of the building blocks of success.

That does not mean “no compromise” in just a single dimension, but in ALL dimensions. Never give up your dream! Fulfill your goals! Create win-wins. If you want x, and your partner wants y, do not compromise with a watered down x/y! Agree on z – the best possible result for all – even better than x and y. Think higher. Go large. Be creative.

It has to be win-win. Win-lose or lose-win are equally damaging in the long term. Resentment and unfulfillment will raise their ugly heads somewhere down the line. So let’s look at how you can best achieve a win-win.

Think about what you want, and communicate the reasons why

Listen intently to what everyone else wants

Break down every problem into what matters and what does not matter

Think creatively about how you can have it all – or get an even better result If you can’t think of a way to have it all, you are not thinking hard enough

If you still can’t think of a way to have it all, keep thinking – and involve others. Crowdsource, ask different questions, come at it from a different angle. Whatever you do, don’t compromise. Find a way!

Have zero tolerance on this. Your life depends on it.

Some of the greatest innovations and the strongest relationships result from a refusal to give in, or to accept any dilution of the options. Whether it’s the creation of the iPod, a great symphony or work of art, rarely has compromise ever played a part. If you want to break new ground in work as well as in life, do not compromise.

Look at work-life balance. Compromise on your personal life and you could see the “cancer of compromise” in action – if work wins over in the long term, your relationship will lose out.

Have faith in your vision, and don’t settle for anything less. The world was created by people just like you, so you have as much right to fulfill your dreams and exceed your expectations. As the late Steve Jobs put it:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

  • How can you think creatively in all your dealings, both large and small, uncompromisingly?
  • How can you live a great life and build a great business, without compromising either vision?
  • How can you look for win-win solutions in everything you do?

The smarter and more creatively you think, the less the cancer of compromise will take hold – and the more you will realise your goals and vision.

Further Reading:

Steve Jobs:  The Exclusive Biography (Amazon Link UK, US)

If the above topic, or indeed any of my blogs are of interest to you, then contact me and let’s talk! Drop me an email at

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