Congruent Joy

Sorting Out What You Want

When you’re in a situation, whether it’s a personal relationship… or a job search… or hiring an employee… sometimes, when there are too many aspects to the situation, it can be hard to sort out what you want and what’s important to you.

So here’s a framework to help with that.


First, what are your requirements?

The things you must have… to be in a personal relationship at all? To even consider accepting a job offer? To hire anyone?

These are your deal breakers. It doesn’t matter how else the offer or situation might be wonderful, if you don’t have these, you can’t do it.


What do you want?

We generally don’t expect to get everything we want… they’re not requirements… but of course we’re not going to stay in a situation where we aren’t getting anything we want either.

This is where you can compare offers. To look at tradeoffs.

One option might give you more of A and another option more of B… now you get to decide. Which do you want more? A or B?


There can be many things that you’re willing to do as part of the overall package… even if you don’t intrinsicly care about them one way or the other.

If you ask me, “Would you please pass me the salt?”, sure, I’m willing to pass you the salt. No problem.

You can compare what you’re willing to do with what the other party has for requirements and wants.


These are your boundaries. The flip side of your requirements, these are what you’re not willing to do. What you’re not willing to accept.

These are your deal breakers on the other side. It doesn’t matter how wonderful an option is otherwise, this is what you can’t accept.


Now you can more easily sort through the options.

Any options that don’t meet your requirements and limits can be immediately dismissed.

(And, if you then don’t have any options left… time to go looking for some new options )

Plus, you can check what the other party’s requirements and boundaries are. If you’re not willing to fulfill a requirement, or if one of your requirements would violate one of their boundaries, you can immediately dismiss that option as well.

Of the remaining options, you can see which ones provide the most of what you want.

And which ones provide the most value for the other party – which ones provide the most of what they want.


The best situation is to find an option that lies in the intersection: it provides both a lot of what you want, and also provides a lot of what the other party wants.

Then you’re both getting a lot of value.

If none of the current options fall into that category then you can consider how important it is to you to select an option now (to pick the best option available currently), versus spending more time looking for better options.

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