There is a characteristic that I inherited that I have been learning for some time now to tame, and that is my ability to shut people out very quickly, and burn bridges. My patience level for people is usually pretty low; especially those who I feel are not as smart as I am (sometimes I sound snobby, I know). It is definitely an Achilles heel of mine, one that I can openly admit to.
I have been reading Robert Greene’s remarkable book, “Mastery” and aside from the countless gems it has taught me, it has shown me my strongest weakness, and that is how to deal with people on a deeper level.
It is indeed ironic that I do run a website that is fully dedicated to helping others, which is something that I truly enjoy. I love to enlighten and educate, but my level of tolerance only goes so far especially when I am dealing with a certain level of naiveté. There it is again… my snooty self!
But Mr. Greene’s book is teaching me that these viewpoints I have are potentially harmful when it comes to having healthy relationships with others, and slowly, I am beginning to understand this and internalize it.
Take the working environment, for instance. Most of us are not exactly fans of our colleagues. Depending on your personality, you can even allow someone to absolutely ruin your mood, almost every working day of the week. This is a big, big problem. You cannot possibly work effectively if you have made a vow not to get along with people at work. Of course you have your reasons!
“Sometimes I have to explain simple concepts more than once to my workmates!”
“Talking to some of them is like having a conversation with a brick wall!”
“They can be so arrogant and annoying sometimes!”
“They don’t have the same interests I have, so why even bother with them?”
This kind of attitude can really close us off to many opportunities of not only understanding people, but of our own advancement in any situation, be it corporate or social. The idea is of course, not to become a social butterfly, but to be less restrictive about the people we deal with everyday.
It is important to learn how to be socially intelligent, and for many of us, it is a learned and life-long skill, albeit an incredibly crucial one to have.
Here is some really useful advice from Robert about how to get along better with people.
1. “Allow everyone to exist according to their own character, do not force them to be like you, make use of them as they are.”
2. “The most effective attitude is supreme acceptance.”
3. “First impressions are not accurate. Take time to understand the character of a person over time.”
4. “People are in a constant state of flux. Let your understanding of them change over time and be open to new perspectives.”
Along with these very wise words, here are some added strategies from Robert’s book on acquiring social intelligence:
1. “Speak through your work, not through fighting, or politics.”
2. “Understand how others see you, and craft their perceptions into one that helps you.”
3. “See yourself as others see you.”
4. “Accept people, and work with their nature to benefit you; do not try to fight or ignore them if you are stuck with them.”