Nowadays many aim high and are willing to go over dead bodies to achieve their goals. I was guilty as charged. One fact became clear to me very recently though: The road to heaven is called altruism, whilst egoism leads you south. Why’s that? Well, here’s another ExperienceZone shot of wisdom.

What makes our world turn?

Humans are social beings. You can neither be successful nor contented without others. Trust me. I learned it the hard way. In addition to supporting each other on the way to success, being in company seems to be closely related to our collective mission. Let’s take a step back: We all want to be happy. That requires control over inner processes. These comprise thoughts, emotions and feelings. Thoughts are controllable to a certain extent by engaging in exercises, such as meditation. More powerful emotions and therewith resulting feelings are almost impossible to steer. They’re closely related to relationships we’ve with other people. If we feel physically or emotionally attracted to others, love emerges and subordinate positive feelings. If others scare us, fear creeps up and negative feelings. Bottom line: Love and fear are emotions others cause in us.

What do you need to do?

We all want to be love and be loved. This requires you to focus on two activity areas:

  1. Learn to love yourself. Folks only trust and love you as much as you trust and love your self. Essentially, others see you exactly as you see yourself – at least on a subconscious level. Your self-image represents the sum of your experiences until this moment. Latter are actually subjective perceptions filtered by your beliefs and tend to reproduce themselves. We strive for consistency. If you and your social network – especially your parents during childhood (mind other people) – tell you that you suck in math, you’ll most likely never become reasonably good in it (and maybe in no other natural science). If you learn to break this belief system though, sky is the limit if at all (mind Elon Musk). The first step is to know who you were, are and want to be. Run a personality analysis, check your attitudes and define your mission. Most importantly: Embrace the concept of self-determination.
  2. Care about other people. Today, someone who means a lot to me complained about not listening carefully. In fact, listening is a key skill in human interactions. We invented language to express our feelings, build up rapport and strengthen relationships. Give before you take. Listen before you talk. In conversations with others, I used to let my mind drift, since it was so busy with other unimportant stuff (mind the sand in the famous vase). Also, I would talk a lot instead of asking questions and really listening (rather than thinking about my response). This behavior is a recipe for social isolation. What do I need to change? Spend time with people – best case face-to-face quality time. Be sincerely interested in them. Reduce my air-time and let them share their views. Respect their opinions and focus on their strengths instead of calling out their weaknesses. Besides, if you talk, you only repeat what you already know. If you listen though, you can actually learn something. I’m on my way to become a better person. Are you?