When someone falls down in life, there is probably something that pushed them down. Whether it’s a prevailing negative attitude about everything and everyone, or a good, bad or indifferent personality that led them to the place they are today, Nido Qubein, the author of How to Get Anything You Want, has observed and labeled 5 of the common causes of failure in personal relationships, whether in business or at home.
Nobody likes to deal with the person who is afflicted with the “Big I.” People who are preoccupied with themselves monopolize the conversation and always turn the subject back to their opinions, their abilities, their accomplishments and their agenda. They are so concerned about the interests of the “Big I” that they have no time to consider the interests of others.
The word success does not contain an “I.” The first vowel is the “U,” and until we learn to think of “you” instead of “I,” our batting average in business and in human relations will be close to nothing. The surest route to success today is to find out what others want and look for ways to provide it. This applies whether you’re trying to maintain a healthy and harmonious home atmosphere, sell goods and services in the global market or align a work force behind an ambitious vision. Being other-person oriented is a learnable trait, and it often comes naturally with maturity.
2. Hasty assumptions.
People who jump to conclusions rarely land in the middle of success. We often prejudge people and circumstances by surface appearances without investigating what lies underneath.
A middle-aged man in shabby work clothes walked into the showroom of a Chrysler dealership in Virginia. The salespeople studiously ignored him. Finally, the owner of the dealership walked over and asked if he could help.
“How much is that car?” asked the man, pointing to the most expensive model Chrysler offered. The dealer told him.
“I’ll take one,” said the customer. “Very good,” said the dealer. “And how would you like to finance it?”
“I’ll write you a check,” said the man.
And so he did. And as he took delivery of his new car, he turned to the dealer once more.
“By the way,” he said. “Do you sell dump trucks?” The dealer proceeded to sell four Dodge dump trucks to this man, who was the owner of a local construction business.
Looks can be deceiving. Success doesn’t always wear Brooks Brothers suits and Gucci ties. It can also wear jeans and flannel shirts, coveralls and work gloves, or skirts and blouses.
3. Negative attitudes.
Some people are expert rainmakers. They bring on their bad luck through negative attitudes. They know things are going to go wrong, and this faith becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
4. The desire to be liked.
It’s natural to want people to like you. We draw strength and inspiration from our friends. The warm glow of friendship is a great morale booster. But when you try to buy friendship at any price, you cheapen the product. You end up not respecting yourself, and others don’t respect you either. You win respect by setting high standards and living up to them.
5. Disregard for courtesy.
Some people go to the opposite extreme. They interrupt people at will, and they say what’s on their minds without regard for the other person’s feelings. They think the world should run on their schedule, so they show up for appointments when it’s convenient, and if they keep others waiting, that’s tough. To them, concessions are for weaklings and diplomacy is useful only as a manipulative tool.
Such people may be able to bulldoze their way to success for a while. But when they encounter reverses and they find themselves in need of supporters, they’ll find more gloaters than sympathizers. Courtesy is the oil that lubricates the machinery of commerce. It smooths the path to success in sales, in management and in personal relationships.
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