After I had eaten the small portion which sufficed to fill my stomach halfway, Brother David casually mentioned his belief that it was an offense against God to leave food uneaten on the table. This was particularly the case when such a great restaurant had so clearly been placed in our path as a special grace. David was a slim man and a monk, so I found it hardly credible that he followed this precept generally. But he continued to eat so much that I felt good manners, if not actual spiritual guidance, required me to imitate his example. I filled my belly for the first time in a year.
Third parties can help disputants accurately assess their BATNAs through reality testing and costing . In reality testing, the third party helps clarify and ground each disputing party's alternatives to agreement. S/he may do this by asking hard questions about the asserted BATNA: "How could you do that? What would the outcome be? What would the other side do? How do you know?" Or the third party may simply insert new information into the discussion...illustrating that one side's assessment of its BATNA is likely incorrect. Costing is a more general approach to the same process...it is a systematic effort to determine the costs and benefits of all options. In so doing, parties will come to understand all their alternatives. If this is done together and the parties agree on the assessment, this provides a strong basis upon which to come up with a negotiated solution that is better than both sides' alternatives. But if the sides cannot come to such an agreement, then negotiations will break down, and both parties will pursue their BATNA instead of a negotiated outcome.