Chapter 7 | Interpersonal Communication
(Part 1 out of 2)
In this chapter I'll discuss:
* Who we choose to connect with and the power of influence.
* Three questions to examine your relationships, and what you should do if you don't like the answers.
* Highlights that will enrich your communication with others.
Principles of interpersonal communication:
One key to success which is often ignored is – who we choose to connect with.
Every day, usually without being aware of it, your attitudes, decisions and the things you do are Influenced by attitudes, decisions and things people with whom
you spend most of your time do.
One of the crucial elements to a successful life, involves a careful analysis of how you're influenced by your relationships with others.
When coming to evaluate the main things that shape your personality - make sure the people you allow to come into your life, are on the top of the list.
Never underestimate the power of influence
The influence of people around us is so strong, many times we fail to notice we're influenced by them - since that influence usually stretches over a long period of time.
Peer pressure, for example, is a powerful form of influence because it is done in a subtle way.
If you associate with people who spend all their income – it's most likely you too will spend all your income, if your friends go to soccer games and not the theater, there's a good chance you'll do the same, if you hang out with people who don't read books much – most probably you too won't read as much.
People around you can turn you off course, a little at a time until after ten years you're likely to ask yourself: "How did I end up here anyway?"
We must carefully learn from these subtle influences, if we really want our life to go in the direction we planned them to.
That being said,
Here are three key questions you should ask, to help you evaluate more effectively
your current relationships:
1. Who are the people surrounding me? do a research on who are the people you socialize with mostly. You must assess the degree of influence of everyone around you.
2. What am I doing because of them? think about what they instigate you to do, what they urge you to listen to, what they prompt you to read, where they encourage you to go, what they make you think, how they make you feel.
You must estimate and learn how they influence you – being it good or a bad.
They may have a very positive influence on you, but it never hurts to ask yourself that from time to time.
3. Is it o.k? maybe the people you socialize with and their general influence is great, but maybe it isn’t - all I’m suggesting is to take a closer look, objectively.
It’s worth taking a second look, especially with the power of that influence.
Positive influence can have a strong impact on your life, but so does negative influence.
Both will get you somewhere – only one will get you to your goal / dream.
It's easy to ignore things that affect us: "I live there but I don’t think it matters", "I hang out with these people but I don’t think it hurts me"- I would take a second look and reconsider, because everything matters.
True, some things are more important than others, but they’re all important.
Everything has an impact, therefore, you must always check if your relationships aim the positive or negative direction.
Regarding this issue – ignoring or overlooking is by no means the right policy.
Remember that part of the proceeding of your journey to a successful life, is to say: "the days of deluding myself are over, I really want to know who I was and who I’ve become, I want to know my weaknesses and points of strength, what influences me and which things affected my life”.
It’s easy to get carried away by different influences. The question is how you deal with it and whether you let yourself become what you want to be.
Regarding the questions above, here are a few things worth doing:
Cut off the relationship: After giving yourself the answers to the questions: who are the people surrounding me, what am I doing because of them, is it o.k – it's possible you’ll reach the conclusion, there are some people you just have to cut off your relationship with.
I’m not saying it’s an easy step, certainly not something to do impulsively, but I do think it might be a necessary step.
You'll realize some people influence your life very badly, don’t let them - remember this can be a powerful decision on the quality of your life.
Thousands of men and women carry with them inferiority complex throughout their lives, because someone with good intentions, but ignorant, ruined their self-confidence through "opinions" or ridicule.
Restrict the relationship: It’s possible you’ll reach a conclusion, you spend too much time with a certain person or a group of people. It’s very easy to devote time and effort in the wrong place...
A person who "dedicates" five hours to watch television and only half an hour to read, is an unbalanced person – in a period of five or ten years from now, it’s not a recipe for success.
Here’s one way to make your life average and mediocre - invest most of your time in minor things.
Sophisticated people learn to evaluate things before they invest time and money in them - whether you intend to invest little time or a lot of it, evaluate things beforehand; otherwise you'll find yourself investing efficient time with inefficient people.
When someone cynically says: "The meaning of freedom of speech is you don’t have to tell the truth...", do you think he reached this conclusion while hanging out with people that influence him in a good way or a bad way?
Spend your quality time with quality people of positive influence, and the rest of your time with the rest of the people.
It’s very easy to do just the opposite, don’t let yourself fall into this trap.
The conclusion: it’s very likely all you need in order to change your life for the better, is not necessarily to cut off your current relationships, but to restrict them.
Remember, this is your life and you’re the one deciding how to invest your time and with whom – pay attention to your values and priorities.
You don't have extra time to waste.
Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to invest it wisely?
Say you had fifty dollars in your pocket, the practical thing to do would be to spend twenty percent in the fun and invest eighty percent in your values and liabilities.
But would you have been glad if these percentages were reversed?
Better to invest money somewhere you know you’ll get a positive reward for it, than invest it in short term pleasures yielding poor results.
Obviously, you’re the judge.
You must decide if the people or the situation require cutting off the relationship or restricting it – remember, if in five or ten years you’re not where you aspired to be, now is the time to correct it.
I strongly recommend you do the following:
Expand your relationships: seek to expand your relationship circle with the right people, such as: people with culture proficiency, people who appreciate philosophy and self-discipline, people whom the word "success" is not strange to.
If your aspiration is to be a successful person – enjoy the company of successful people and do whatever is required to achieve it.
Rohn says that on several occasions early in his journey, he parked his car a few blocks away from his destination because he feared that by seeing the vehicle he arrived with, he won’t be let in.
He continues and says that on being asked how has he'd arrived, he answered “someone dropped me off and drove on”, when in fact he dropped himself off...
Always ask yourself – whom would it be better for me to meet, whom should I make friends with, whom can I spend time with that will affect my life for the better?
Let me tell you a little secret: it turns out that for a small investment too, it's possible to meet great people - if you had the option to sit down at a restaurant with someone who could assist you to succeed and thrive, and in return you pay the bill, wouldn’t you do it?
That person could "hit" you with a concept that’ll change your life...
Build your plan to success - with the help of successful people.
Don’t build your plans, especially your economic plan, with the help of unsuccessful people.
Here's another secret: you don’t have to be rich - to prepare a plan to financial independence, you also don’t have to be healthy - to prepare a health plan, all you have to be is - smart.
Smart enough to say: "My current plan is not so good, so I’ll get in touch with someone who has a better plan and build myself a similar plan that fits my needs".
Find successful people to help you assemble your success plan, find someone to help you with your health plan, find someone who runs a special way of life to help with your plan to managing an extraordinary way of life – this is called developing connections with others for a certain purpose, to hang around with the right people in order to expand your relationships.
Ask yourself where you're going and who you're meeting in order to expand your education, where do you "eat" your “intellectual meal". Find yourself a good "restaurant".
One way to connect with influential people is through books they wrote or lectures they gave. Maybe you can’t meet them all, but you certainly can read their books.
For example Winston Churchill, although dead, left us the legacy of his books... You can’t meet Mahatma Gandhi face to face, but certainly there are documentary series about his life story.
Surround yourself with people you can meet regularly to discuss problems in life, developing your life philosophy, and talk to about values and success.
We all need relationships with people of substance \ people of quality, in order to influence and be influenced by, on issues such as: society, money, family, government, love, friendship, culture, opportunity, community, etc...
Behavior is influenced by ideas, ideas are influenced by education and education is mostly influenced by the people we relate with.
So make sure you hang out with people who are able to ask the right questions - about recent ideas you thought of, about your life philosophy, an enterprise you’re about to set up and about goals you set for yourself.
Look for places where requirements are high, expectations are high, where there is perfection, where you can grow and develop to be more than you are now.
Vincent T. Lombardi, the legendary football coach, once said: "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor".
Surround yourself with people who are committed to excellence, in areas you want to develop in and increase your value.
Continue to Chapter 7 | Interpersonal Communication - Part 2