Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same again”.
If we are honest, most of us would say that we lack confidence in some areas of our lives. Sometimes we don’t feel that we are good enough to go after the job position or career that we would like. Maybe we feel that we don’t have the smarts or the ability to do so. We compare ourselves to others who seem to be much better than we are at relating to people and seem to have it together academically. Some of us may prefer to stay at home in our cocoon rather than go out and face people and have to speak with them.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one”.
Some of us dread speaking to others or socializing with them because we are afraid of what people will think of us. There are those of us who are so terrified of speaking with someone of the opposite sex for fear of looking like a fool and being rejected. Lack of confidence can hold us a prisoner of our own mind and prevent us from being all that we can be and doing all the things we would like to do.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”. – Marianne Williamson
In his book How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People. author Les Giblin deals with this very issue of confidence and explores how to go about developing the confidence we need. The first section of the book is entitled: Making human Nature Work for You and I would like to focus this post on this point.
Les Giblin states that ” one of the big reasons people lack confidence in dealing with others is that they do not understand what they are dealing with”. He adds that ” We are always unsure of ourselves when we are dealing with the unknown”. (p.xxii) The key to success with people is understanding people; not just being able to get along with them. According to the Carnegie Institute of Technology regarding success:
85 percent of success is due to personality factors, to the ability to deal with people successfully”.
More people fail in the job market for a deficit in people skills than competence. More people are fired for their inability to deal with people than for their professional (technical) skills. Most of our “personality” problems are really people problems – our skill in dealing with people. Many people will categorize themselves as shy, timid, reserved, self-conscious or uncomfortable in social situations when, in fact, the reality is a deficit in people skills. People are here to stay; they are not going away. We all have to deal with them whether we want to or not. So it is better to hone the skills and use them to our advantage.
Some Human Nature Basics
There are four “facts of life”, author Les Giblin points out, to know about people:
- People are all egoists (all of us are).
- We all care more about ourselves than anything else in the world.
- All of us want to feel important and “amount to something”.
- We all crave approval from others so that we can approve of ourselves.
So being egotistic is actually normal even though this trait was scorned in the past and people who were considered self-centered were told to just stop being “like that”. Today we know that our ego helps us to self-preserve. In fact, we cannot be altruistic or sympathetic to others if our basic ego has not been “filled”, so to speak. We must first take care of ourselves. Jesus said to his disciples:
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”
If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, then it is clear that we must first love ourselves (self-esteem, healthy ego).
We all have human relations potential and so much relational wealth to share. All around us people are starving for the need to feel important and to count. People are famished to be noticed and appreciated. So the fastest way to get better at people skills is to understand what people are looking for and share the goodness. Les Giblin highlights Three ways we can do this.
- Be Convinced that Others Are Important
It is a choice of attitude. We simply decide once and for all that everyone, no matter who they are or what they are like or what they do (or don’t do) has importance. Dr. Rhine of Duke University stated:
“Our treatment of people depends on what we think they are, as does our treatment of everything else. No other way would be intelligent. Our feelings for men depend on our ideas, our knowledge about them”.
2. Notice Other People
Generally, we tend to notice only that which is important to us and since people crave being noticed, we are actually paying them a big compliment by noticing them; it makes them feel important. The opposite is also true – when people ignore us (ie: pay more attention to their cellphone, their computer or other activities going on) we tend to feel as if we don’t matter very much to that person.
Les Giblin suggests ” Turning the spotlight on everyone” and also treating each person as an individual in a group. Even a small amount of attention will be enough to make a person feel like he is important.
3, Don’t Lord It Over People
We all have the need to feel important and this often comes through loud and clear in our conversation. Some of us, in an effort to feel important, prefer a monologue to dialogue and preaching over listening. Whether intentional or not, the fact is, we want to make a good impression. We want people to acknowledge our presence, but the best way to create a good impression is to show another that we are impressed by him.
Opinions and being right don’t really matter much and are not even the point of conversation. We don’t have to win every argument and we don’t need to let people know that they are wrong. When we focus on ourselves being right and correcting others, then we are once again putting ourselves in the limelight and not sharing the goodness.
Understanding the basic nature of people – the need to feel important, noticed, appreciated and focusing on meeting these needs helps us to take our eyes off ourselves and our insecurities. Most, if not all of our people skills insecurities come because we choose to highlight them and avoid honing the skills that would make social interactions smoother and even more enjoyable. All areas of our lives will benefit from “turning the spotlight” on others.
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Diana Lynne enjoys travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca