Getting What You Want From Others

By Weldis (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Sleep per Day: (Target) 7h30m / day (Actual) 7h08m  / day (28 day average)

I got lucky.

I have two flaws (and many more) that usually stops me from optimizing what I get from others.

One is low assertiveness. The other is bad decision making when rushed.

Today I was granted access to facilities and resources for a full day for my work (can’t say much more as I’m not sure if disclosing will breach my contract). I could’ve been denied both since I didn’t directly explain what my real purpose was when I requested access last week out of anxiety of not wanting to bother someone.

I was lucky the person was very nice and allowed me to do whatever I needed to do for the full day.

On Saturday I was playing a game of Citadels with my Students’ Union exco mates. On the second round, I made two fatal mistakes when I was rushed that cost me a very good chance of winning.

The first mistake was related to my first move. I had 3 Purple Cards on my deck (buildings with special abilities, for more of the game rules you can read here) with which 1 Purple Card’s ability got better if I had more purple cards built, so I knew from the get go I needed to draw a Tax Collector to get as much gold as possible, and even though the card was in front of me and I wanted to draw it, for some reason in the end I drew a Magician card instead. The lack of gold in beginning meant that my friend who drew the Tax Collector instead could kick start the compounding effect of gold income growth when I could have also done that if I didn’t make such a stupid mistake.

The second mistake was related to my two last moves. My friend who drew the Tax Collector for her first hand was on the verge of ending the game (whoever builds 8 buildings first will bring the game to a final round). I had lots of gold, and I knew if I drew a Diplomat card (you can swap buildings with other players as long as you pay the gold difference cost) I could get a good Purple Card that would boost my end game points.

There were two options, which was namely one Purple Card that added 1 point for every building built, and another Purple Card that added 1 point for every Purple Card built. Without giving it too much thought and not wanting to keep my friends waiting too long when choosing my next move, I went for the 1 point for every building built Purple Card, which immediately triggered him to swap back his Purple Card (his whole strategy depended on that Purple Card) at the same moment that my Tax Collector friend finished building 8 buildings and was bringing the game to an end. I didn’t have any rounds left to make my move and wasn’t even close to winning when tallying points. In hindsight I should’ve went for the Purple Card that boosted other Purple Cards since I had so many Purple Cards built and the owner of the card didn’t have any other Purple Card built, which meant that the Purple Card wasn’t important enough to retaliate and swap back with.

I was lucky that this was a game and not a life threatening situation. Things would go so badly if it were.

So what three lessons did I learn?

Be direct in asking what you want before delivering how this can help the other person. I focus too much on the latter and forget about my own key objectives.

When in a rushed situation, take 30 seconds to calm down and process. Others can wait and would prefer that if it means better decision making that works out much better for everyone.

When on the offense, only attack / seize areas that your opponent doesn’t view as life / death if they lost the battle. That way you don’t over-spend time / resources which could’ve been put to use in grabbing low hanging fruits that don’t put up a strong fight.

*P.S. I see a downward trend in my sleeping time, which is worrying me. I seem unable to sleep long hours (Yesterday slept at ~21:00 in anticipation of at least a 9 hour sleep, but woke up at ~03:00. I also wanted to sleep in on Saturday night but could only sleep for ~8 hours). I will continue to monitor the situation, but one solution I will implement is to enforce better sleeping discipline since it’s easy for me to cut sleep but hard for me to sleep longer to repay my sleep debt. I will aim to sleep 8.5 hours every day until my average sleeping hours / day equals or exceeds 7.5 hours.


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