Tag: inspiration

How to better deal with people

Sartre remarked, somewhat morbidly that “Hell is other people”, but he was also angry and French, so I’ll take his words with a grain of salt.

His point however, that people can somehow be hard to deal with is very real and relatable. People are difficult to deal with sometimes, and the sooner we realize that the better.

What’s interesting though is that there are a few ways we can increase the quality of our interactions with others fairly easily, and I’m going to share one of them here. That is to say I’m going to share with you a snippet from own life, which hopefully will show you what I mean.

I have a background in telemarketing, and unlike most people, I enjoyed selling on the phone quite a bit and I made a living from it for the better part of a decade. The reason I enjoyed it, was because I figured out what made people tick. I figured out what made people from all walks of life open themselves up to strangers.

What I did was simply to ask open-ended questions which made the other person talk about themselves. This gets everyone talking, no matter how high or low their status is – if you want to engage with someone, make a point to get them to talk about themselves. People always have time for that, no matter how busy and important they are.

If you want to make someone feel warm, welcome and comfortable, ask them questions about their personal history and what brought them to the point they are at today. When you show interest in them, they will immediately reciprocate that interest and you will quickly find common ground and many a relationship has spouted from this ability to take a keen and genuine interest in others.

When you show genuine interest in others, you will find your ability to interact with people increase exponentially and your days of staring awkwardly into the ground whenever you encounter strangers will be replaced by a newfound joy of talking to people you’ve never met before.

Trust me – I’ve been there.

On improving instead of comparing

All too often I get caught up in judging others, and comparing myself favorably or otherwise to other people of all sorts. Random people I see on the street, colleagues at work who are either younger or older, and who have different backgrounds, ideas, values and priorities than I do.

Sometimes I catch myself in the act and I manage to pull myself back to reality, because the truth of the matter is that there are zillion different reasons why I am the way I am, and the same goes for everyone else. Comparing myself to others is the most fruitless waste of time, this side of trying to travel back in time and correct my faults and misdeeds (something I wish I could have done on more than one occasion) – the point is, that I am me and you are you.

The only exercise we can benefit from is comparing ourselves to our former selves. If I am better than I was yesterday, then it was a good day. Likewise if you can go to bed a tiny bit smarter, wiser, more informed, better read or in better shape than you were yesterday, then that’s a win. It doesn’t matter what the Jones’s on the other side of the street – or more realistically in the apartment next door – are doing or thinking or how skinny they are. They have their own challenges that they’re dealing with – you deal with yours. You improve yourself a little each day. Just one tiny flicker of a percent. Barely enough for it to register – that’s enough for you to make tremendous progress over the long term.

But you have to focus on making one small improvement at a time. Focus on getting a tiny bit better today than you were yesterday, and I guarantee that great things will happen for you over time.

On Kindness

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”

Mark Twain

There is something about kindness. We all have within us the ability to be kind to others. And we can all choose in any given moment to show kindness to other people. We can even choose to show kindness to people who don’t quote unquote “deserve” it. I would argue that this is when kindness is at its most powerful. This is when our true potential shines through.

If we think about it, our most base animalistic instincts are those grounded in the fight or flight instinct – we either kill or we run. If that is true, then our most human instinct must necessarily be those of compassion, kindness and inclusiveness. This might seem like some serious hippie-Mumbo Jumbo in your ears and that’s okay. My point here is simply to rephrase what Seneca said more than 2000 years ago, namely that wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.

Another point I’m aiming to get across is the fact that kindness doesn’t have to be difficult – it can be as easy as a smile to a stranger, an outstretched hand to a person in need or simply making another person smile or laugh for no other purpose than just making that person smile or laugh,

Kindness is not complicated and it is not hard but we tend to forget to show kindness to our fellow men and women. And even if you want to view kindness from an exclusively selfish angle, keep in mind that being kind to others, makes you feel better as well.

So go out there and use every opportunity you can to be kind – it will work wonders for yourself and others.