Always recognize that human individuals are ends and do not use them as means to your end.

Have you ever been leveraged by someone else? Perhaps it was a contact you had, an opportunity you were party to, a technology you created or a business idea that you had dreamed up?

Regardless of what the cause of the moment was, at the end of the engagement with that other person or company, you knew you had been used. They never cared about you or what this engagement would do in your world, it was solely a one way experience, designed by them to further their goals and theirs alone.

This is one of the most vacant experiences that we are able to transmit to another person. The message is communicated that you do not matter to them. At all. Not even a little bit.  

When it happens to you, you are usually caught off guard at the outset by a hope or a promise of something wonderful and at the end of the experience you are left with the realization that not only were you not fulfilled in your own expectation, but that the other party who had a substantial gain from the experience, knows you did not, and they just do not care. At that moment you are very aware that you have been used, and the resulting emotions that ensue are a rainbow of negativity, anger and determination to set things straight.

Conversely, there are those moments where you and another person or company are able to connect on a much more valuable level and in that moment, you generate a win/win scenario in which both parties benefit at the end of the engagement.

My father, who was one of the most kind and benevolent attorneys who walked the earth, would always tell me that the only deal worth doing is the one where both of you are equally excited at the outcome. He shared with me the proverb: Two people find a bag of marbles out in a field. One splits the marbles into two equal quantities and the other chooses which of the two groups they wish to have. The old… you split and I choose. Or vice versa.

With that adage in mind, he went further to share that if you take the time to negotiate a deal with an opposing party and you approach the negotiation as if you were negotiating to the benefit of the reciprocal party, that you will have a deal that will work, that will last and that both parties will benefit from. And… you will spend less on the attorney fees because you are not being egregious in your approach to the negotiation.

I can share that I have always negotiated my deals with that mindset and the outcomes are always positive when both parties are playing by those rules. 

And those outcomes are always so much better than the ones that end up in a lawsuit that could easily have been avoided by clarity at the outset, and by never looking at another party as a means to your end. 

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher and one of the central Enlightenment thinkers. Kant’s comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential figures in modern Western philosophy. Kant’s theory is an example of a deontological moral theory–according to these theories, the rightness or wrongness of actions does not depend on their consequences but on whether they fulfill our duty. Kant believed that there was a supreme principle of morality, and he referred to it as The Categorical Imperative.

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!