A negotiator walks into a bar: a joke teaches a lesson on problem solving

Are your best ideas going down the drain?

A friend recently sent me the following joke:

During a visit to a mental asylum, a visitor asked the director how to determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalised. “Well,” said the director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient, and ask him to empty the bathtub.” “

Oh, I see,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use the bucket because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No,” said the director, “a normal person would pull out the plug. Do you want the bed near the window?”

What I love about the joke — apart from the fact that it’s actually clean and therefore suitable to repeat in the presence of clients — is how neatly it illustrates an all too common problem: sometimes, when we are presented with several options, they may blind us to other choices — including the simplest and most sensible one.

When you’re looking for solutions or preparing to negotiate, are good ideas going down the drain?

4 responses to “A negotiator walks into a bar: a joke teaches a lesson on problem solving

  1. Mediator joke:

    How many mediators does it take to rehang a picture?
    come on take a guess,
    how many mediators deos it take to rehang a picture?
    Give up?
    Mediators don’t rehang pictures, we reframe them!
    There are so few people I can tell that one to who will appreciate it.
    Kevin Brown, Kingston Ontario, Canada

  2. Yeah, and we’re also the only ones who’ll get it, too! Thanks, Kevin, for the mediator humor!

  3. Tazewell Hubard

    True Story: A wife in a co-mediation stated, “I get so frustrated trying to work out visitation because John will not make any decisions. He will do whatever his new girlfriend tells him. He hasn’t any balls!”

    The co-mediator from a medical background reframed the statement by responding, “so you’re saying John is missing certain anatomical parts?”

  4. Ouch!