The Subtle Art of Dealing with People
“A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall”
I don´t remember who said that brilliant phrase, but I have treasured it in my mind for more years that I can remember.
Many people believe that to be successful in life, especially on the business arena, you have to be assertive, aggressive and intimidating, to get people do what you want. You have to raise your voice, command things and make pressure to make things go your way…
A person that is nice, friendly and soft, is considered as weak, as if there is no value of possessing those qualities. What really matters, is to “get results”; so, the more you push, the more you throw commands to others, the more you will succeed…Right?
Maybe you will get people do what you want on the surface, but if they felt under pressure to do it, or against their will, well, do not expect that this agreement will be sustainable.
The number one human nature´s law that most people forget with dealing with others is the following: No one likes to feel ignored or unimportant. Human nature law number two: Most people do not care about you. Most people care about themselves.
No one will follow anybody’s advice or opinion, if it does not resonate with them. A leader, a politician or a person of power can exert all the pressure he or she wants, and most likely a civilized individual will follow, but not by heart, but by convenience or obligation. At the end, whatever was imposed will not succeed in the long term, because for something to really change it has to touch the deepest layers of people’s hearts, to the point that they themselves think that the proposed idea is their own, and so they will embrace it with all the willpower and determination that only the aggressive forces can dream of.
In my still short but intense experience in business and life, I have observed what makes projects succeed and what makes them fail. I have seen how promising relationships start and how some end up in wonderful marriages, and how others crash quite spectacularly.
It seemed like a mystery to me to understand, to really understand this: What makes a project, any life project, succeed or fail?
I spent far too much time in the mechanics of it; maybe projects fail because it was the wrong strategy; the wrong customer; the wrong people; the wrong circumstances; the wrong partner; the bad weather; the financial crisis; lack of money or too much of it; the wrong politicians; the wrong systems…nearly anything can go wrong, but what makes something really go wrong?
That’s right, people.
People´s attitude is what really makes something succeed or fail.
All the life and business projects that went wrong in my life, had to do with one person: Me.
How I approached things and treated people were the differences between my success or my failure in any particular endeavor.
Galileo once said: “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself”.
When we try to impose our views, ideas, ways of working, or whatever, to somebody else, it only will lead to opposition and conflict.
In the subtle art of dealing with people, most people forget that the only way to get people´s attention and buy-in is when you listen to them first, make them feel important and praise them sincerely for their contribution.
You will master the art of relationships when you understand that most people are hundred times more interested about themselves, of their wants and problems, than they will ever be about yours. When you understand this, you will immediately shift the attention away from you to place it in the others. People will notice when you pay attention to them and listened sincerely. They will praise this with following at the end your wishes, as it will feel it came from their own good will, rather than as a direct demand from you.
“If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get the opponent´s good will”- Benjamin Franklin
The little piece of honey, has thousand times better effects on people, than all the gall they can receive. We all receive our fair share of negativity everyday; it is as abundant as the air we breathe. But rarely we meet a person who sincerely and empathetically cares. Is rare to meet someone whose energy, enthusiasm, charisma and love shines so brightly than even the sun feels at competition.
Be that bright spot, by any means, be the star that shine our brightest nights. We need more people like you.