An Italian billionaire was once interviewed and asked what he would do differently if he had to start over. His answer was that he would get any job to earn his first 500 dollars, then buy a nice suit and attend as many parties as possible to meet and connect with successful people.
Healthy relationships between your co-workers, family members, friends and other ancillary networks are vital for growth and effectiveness. A study cited in the book, "How To Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie revealed that: "even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one's financial success is due to one's technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering to personality and the ability to lead people."
It's all about connecting with the right people in the right way.
Successful people do not apply for jobs. They move from opportunities to opportunities, utilising their relationships and professional connections.
Successful people understand the art of human relationships, and they are able to effectively change people's attitudes and behaviours.
To achieve financial freedom, you must learn to make money work for you, not you working for money. The same principle applies; successful people make people work for you, both happily and willingly.
Below are the four key principles of healthy relationships that will make you more successful.
1. Begin with Praise and honest appreciation
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, people don't criticize themselves for anything, at best they find excuses and rationalise their actions to justify themselves. Criticism is almost always the most dangerous thing to do in any relationships -- it hurts their pride, makes them defensive and conjures resentment. In the book "How To Win Friends and Influence People", Dale Carnegie shares an experiment performed by B.F. Skinner, the world-famous psychologist and it follows:
"B.F. Skinner proved through his experiments that an animal rewarded for good behavior will learn much more rapidly and retain what it learns far more effectively than an animal punished for bad behavior. Later studies have shown that the same applies to humans. By criticizing, we do not make lasting changes and often incur resentment."
The most fundamental principle of building successful relationships is to begin with praise and honest appreciation. If you want someone to change, you must change yourself first. Learn to appreciate. However there is a clear difference between an honest appreciation and flattery. Flattery is insincere and universally condemned, while honest appreciation comes from the heart and is universally admired. For example, Charles Schwab was able to become an effective leader and create productivity in his company through encouraging his co-workers through hearty appreciations.
"I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people, the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticism from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my appreciation and lavish in my praise." - Charles Schwab.
2. Give What They Want
Forcing your ways and ideas will not make you an effective leader. In order to influence people the right way, you must promote and build healthy relationships first. If you expect someone to change the way they live their lives based on what you think, you're just being selfish. It's like complaining about the snow on your neighbour's roof when you're own doorstep is not clean. To build relationships and effectively influence people, you must first give them what they want.
Which brings up the next questions, what do most people want?
Dr. Dewey once said that the deepest urge in human nature is "the desire to be important". We are creatures of vanity and pride, and when it comes to human relationships, every one likes the idea of being important.
"Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefers worms. So when I went fishing, I didn't think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn't bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or a grasshopper in front of the fish and said: "Wouldn't you like to have that?" Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?"
You may think the phrase "fishing people" to be derogative. But in fact, human relationships are meant to be tactful, diplomatic and most importantly sincere. You can never build a relationship without a proper foundation of trust and sincerity.
3. You can Never win an Argument
Getting into an argument is one of the worst things you can do to jeopardize your relationships. Relationships that may have taken you months to build will be ruined in a matter of seconds. What most people don't know is that arguments have been and always will be a loser's game. You can never win an argument.
You might be thinking,
"What do you mean I can't win an argument?", reminiscing the triumphant times when you were able to school someone for their lack of knowledge.
"You can't win an argument. You can't because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lost it. Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis (Latin for "Not of sound mind"). Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph. And a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
If you argue, yes, you may come out victorious sometimes; but it's an empty victory as you will never get your opponent's good will.
The best thing you could do is avoiding it in the first place. Control your temper and always tell yourself that you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry. Buddha said, "Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love," and a misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person's viewpoint.
4. Always Think in Their Shoes
In his book "Getting Through to People", Dr. Gerald S. Nirenberg commented:
"Cooperativeeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person's ideas and feelings as important as your own. Starting your conversation by giving the other person the purpose or direction of your conversation, governing what you say by what you would want to hear if you were the listener, and accepting his or her viewpoint will encourage the listener to have an open mind to your ideas."
One of the best advice ever given about the fine art of human relationships can be summarised by a quote from Henry Ford, he says: "If there is any one secret to success, its in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own."
F. Scott Fitzgerald goes even further and says that, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
Let's recap, the ability to think in your opposition's shoes and view his or her viewpoint is regarded to be a first-rate intelligence and a secret to success. That's a powerful statement. We are so caught up with ourselves that it's common practice to overlook what others may think. A true leader who have mastered the art of human relationships are fluent in shoe-shifting. Psychology Today says "the ability to put yourself in the other guy's shoes is a fundamental skill of extraordinary power. It's almost as magical as shape-shifting fantasy in sci-fi."
So whenever you get into a conversation next, let's try to think in his or her shoes and ask yourself,
Why is he saying that?
What is he thinking?
Always remember that "a person's toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people."