A man is never astonished that he doesn’t know what another does, but he is surprised at the gross ignorance of the other in not knowing what he does.
—Richard Halliburton (Public Domain)
…The importance of the human connection—our personal interaction with others—cannot be overstated, especially if we run a small business or are in any kind of sales positions (which most of us are, whether we realize it or not). And for those of us who struggle with creating that human bond with others, the divide between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us, via our actions or our tone, is often enormous.
When we deal with someone who seems aloof or standoffish, we typically react in kind. Yet, in the other person’s mind, they saw their perfectly friendly approach met with coldness; perhaps even disdain. Even benign emails can be misconstrued in the mind of the reader. “What did they mean by that?”
If you struggle with the human connection, don’t worry—you are far from alone. The first step (after admitting that you truly do want to improve your life in this area) is to become outer-directed every time you deal with others, whether one-on-one or in a group setting. Turn your focus 180 degrees, from you to them. Truly be interested in what they might be going through. More often than not, a perceived slight is, in reality, simply the result of the other person thinking about something going on in their own life. In other words, it has nothing to do with you.
Make a habit out of focusing on others. Make if fun, like a game. If you don’t know what they do, ask them. Try to put yourselves in their shoes and consider what a typical day might be like for them. Even if you were right, and they do have a problem with you, who cares?! The best revenge would be your own personal success, undaunted by the opinions of others. The less baggage we carry through life, the happier our life will be.
—MSH, Penn Wealth