Monday Spark: The secret of success is to not give a damn.

don't give a damn negotiationOddly – at least I think it’s odd – I’m pretty good at negotiating.

I’m at my best when sitting across the table from someone and figuring out a price for my services. (I’m not so good when I’m alone at home and putting together an estimate.)

In one memorable one-on-one negotiation I just sat there without saying a word, while the other guy kept raising the fee.

Another time, when interviewing for a job as an employee, I totally dug in my heels and refused to budge an inch on the salary I was asking for. What was surprising about that interview was that I really, really needed the job…and if I didn’t get it, I would probably have had to wait months and months for a similar position to become available. And yes, I got the salary I asked for, even although it was a lot higher than the figure they had in mind.

How did I pull this off?

The secret is to enter into the negotiation without giving a damn about the outcome.

When you don’t care, when it’s all the same to you whether they say yes or no, you have a big advantage. When you don’t give a damn, it makes you look incredibly valuable. When you’d just as soon walk away from the table, it makes the other person feel uncomfortable and anxious to keep you there.

Keep in mind that in both occasions I mentioned, I actually did care a lot. In both cases, a huge amount depended on my getting the money I wanted.

So this isn’t about really and truly not giving a damn. It’s about getting into the right mindset. It’s about acting. It’s about living and being the character you are playing.

Yes, it’s an act. But for the duration of the negotiation you have to believe in your role absolutely. It’s a mindset thing.

You may not be able to pull this off perfectly every time. But you need to try. Because if you enter into negotiations, particularly when face to face, and appear overly anxious to get the job or project, then it’s the other guy who has the advantage.

The more anxiety and stress the other guy sees, the more he can beat you down. And if you appear too desperate, you may put him off entirely and not get the work at all.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t show enthusiasm about the job, and make it clear that you want it. You should. This is about negotiating the deal.

Apply this when negotiating projects, when negotiating terms, when establishing partnerships, when making business purchases…and in any other circumstances where this mindset could give you an advantage.

Of course, having read this post it’s up to you whether or not you follow my advice.

Whether you do or not, well, frankly… : )

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.



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6 thoughts on “Monday Spark: The secret of success is to not give a damn.

  1. Well gosh, Nick…that was a brutal way to end this Spark…

    I always enjoy reading your Monday Spark, and have grown accustomed to a sense of supportive energy… that’s sure not the feeling I got today!

    While I understand the point you were making, I did wonder if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning…

    • Judy, the ending was definitely tongue in cheek. : ) The idea was to wrap a positive message in a more in-your-face wrapping.


  2. You are sooo right. And the same goes for getting a positive response from ladies (or guys). That is (to my mind) the reason why you can never start a new romance when you are desperate, and, on the other hand, are offered any amount of chances when you are safely involved in a relationship.
    So it goes …


    • True. Ultimately it comes down to your own level of self-confidence…and the fact that prospects and clients respond well to self-confident freelancers.


  3. I couldn’t agree more, Nick.

    Not caring about the outcome makes you attractive.
    The more attractive you are, the more valuable
    you become.

    If I had to dig a bit deeper, I’d say that not caring creates the
    perception that you have options. Having options lets
    the people with whom you’re negotiating know that
    they aren’t the only game in town. If you appear desperate,
    it gives them leverage they don’t deserve.

    Thanks for the great topic, Nick. You’d make Rhett Butler proud!!!

  4. Michael, hi. I like your “options” idea. That’s a good way to express it. Believe that you have options – which you always do – and your prospect will get the same message and respect your value, your time and your fees.


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