The lack of a consideration for others is an epidemic in our culture. The headlines are filled with examples of the battles for entitlements: Corporate greed on Wall Street puts selfish executives in the spotlight while their companies are dissolving. Unions seek concessions without consideration for the costs. An employee games his expense account.
After all, other people’s money means far less than our own. The problem is ubiquitous.
If you think that the game of business and relationships is about getting what you can (after all, you want what you want, right?), don’t scratch your head when your life is empty rather than full. If you burn enough relationships out of pure inconsideration for others, then you end up with a predictable life. People will not trust you or want to connect with you. That’s the story of a transactional mindset.
Selfishness is a peculiar disease. It does make everyone sick except the person that has it.
A Greater Reality
What if you spent a day thinking about the people you interact with and what they want? What if you helped them get what they wanted even if it cost you? You might discover a natural law, the law of reciprocity. You will build bridges rather than mistrust. And today, more than ever, you need bridges. The world is small. We need others to help us get to where we need to go. Be more than a commodity.
So here’s the opportunity. It’s simple really. Be observant, and get your eyes off yourself. Ask yourself what I teach my kids to ask themselves, “How can I delight that other person?” Then act.
Such consideration for others may be unnatural if you have spent all your think-time absorbed with only what you want.
It’s worth it, though. We are all in this together, whether we acknowledge it or not. Be a taker, and you erode the fabrics of our interconnection. Be considerate, and ironically, you will find getting what you have been wanting much easier.
If you are a taker, don’t be fooled by your abilities. Motives are pretty easy to detect. People may not say anything out of politeness or awkwardness.
If you are a giver, my hat’s off to you. Your opportunities will abound, and the world has a delightful way of giving back to you. Motives are pretty easy to detect.
What’s the last considerate thing you have done for someone? Feel free to comment below.