How to resolve conflict? – a story
Posted December 26, 2010on:
I recently made a speech on the attitude required to resolve any conflict. After my speech, one of my friends came to me asking to share the stories which I quoted during my speech. Here is one of the stories which bring out the attitude which is required for effective conflict resolution:
There was a father who left 17 camels as an asset for his three sons. When the father passed away, his sons opened up the will.
Will of the father stated that the eldest son should get half of 17 camels while the middle son should be given 1/3rd (one-third). The youngest son should be given 1/9th (one-ninth) of the 17 camels.
As it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, three sons started to fight with each other. How can they divide their father’s inheritance?
Do you have any thoughts about how to divide 17 camels among three sons as prescribed in their father’s will?
You may take your time to think before reading further…..
So, three sons decided to go to a wise man.
The wise man listened patiently about the whole matter i.e. dividing 17 camels as follows:
½ to the eldest son, 1/3rd to the middle son and 1//9th to the youngest – How is it possible?
So, the wise man, after giving this thought, brought one camel of his own and added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 camels.
Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will.
Half of 18 = 9. So he gave the eldest son 9 camels
1/3rd of 18 = 6. So he gave the middle son 6 camels
1/9th of 18 = 2. So he gave the youngest son 2 camels.
Now add this up: 9 plus 6 plus 2 is 17 and this leaves one camel, which the wise man took away.
So, the attitude of conflict resolution is to find the 18th camel i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the 18th ground by using his or her intellect, the issue is resolved. It is difficult and at times, it is not easy at all. However, to reach a solution, first step is to believe that there is a solution. If we think that there is no solution, we won’t be able to reach any!