Yet I understand its role in our personal and professional lives. I wish compromise meant we did it my way. On a recent visit to Paris, France (not Paris, Texas) I saw an image that was to me the picture of compromise. We have Webster’s Dictionary as the go-to expert on how to spell and use words. The French have Dictionnaire de l’Académie française as their go-to word bible. The current Pont des Arts, one of the bridges that connects the right and left bank over the Seine, is now the poster child for what compromise looks like, if it had a look.
When you walk around the Louvre or Versailles you realize that not even kings got their way all the time . . . or there would still be kings! The Bridge of Love, Pont des Arts, has become known as the Love Lock Bridge. In 2008, tourists started attaching padlocks with their names to the railing on both sides of the bridge. This bridge became a huge tourist attraction (as if the City of Lights needed another attraction) to look at all the locks or to attach one’s own padlock to the railing on the bridge. Some tourists brought locks with them from home and others purchased a lock from a “bridge vendor” hawking cheap padlocks. By the end of 2014 it was estimated there were over 700,000 locks. Concern about the weight of the locks began to outweigh the bridge as a tourist draw. In June 2015, the new mayor of Paris had the locks cut off, and supposedly stored in warehouses.
I was curious to see the bridge. It had been quite a sight with so many locks. Never one for change, I was sad to hear of the locks being removed. What they did was to me the picture of compromise. They took off all of the locks whose weight was over the Seine. They kept locks on the railing of the bridge whose foundation is on the ground. Where the land railing meets the over-the-Seine railing, is the picture of compromise. One side has the locks still intact. The other has railing with panels painted by street artists.
It’s a compromise. It’s not a great compromise if you loved those locks. In all compromise both sides have to lose something and both sides have to win something.
The image of where these two sides converge illustrates both winning and losing. That is what makes a good compromise. When you struggle with a challenge: ask yourself, where is the middle ground? Then think of the corner where the land side and the water side of Pont des Arts meet.
Read more posts by Leslie Ungar here. Leslie blogs for JenningsWire.
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