Our reference points, motives and biases form the foundation of all that we feel and do. Why we do things determines our decisions and outcomes. When it comes to accomplishing our goals, helping other people, reducing conflict, and creating successful relationships – we can choose the quality of every interaction.
Humans are naturally selfish. The need to survive has created habits and mechanisms that put our own personal needs above the needs of others. One way we deceive ourselves into being selfish is the way we view other people. We often see ourselves as the center of reality, as the most human, living-being in our world – while we see others as objects, not people. We treat objects much differently than we treat humans. By seeing other people as objects we can then justify any action that puts our needs above theirs – this is where most conflict comes from. Viewing others as objects rather than as humans allows us to justify our opinions and feelings as correct while making sure that we blind ourselves to the correctness of other people’s ideas, needs, and actions. In order to understand this idea better please read: “The Anatomy of Peace” – by The Arbinger Institute.
When we try to see other people as humans rather than objects, our actions, thoughts, and behaviors will change. We will be able to solve problems that before seemed insurmountable. We will have the ability to help others get what they want and feel good doing so.
Studying the WHY of what we do rather than the WHAT creates the foundation for effective change. If a building is built on unstable ground, the entire structure is at risk. It is the same in our lives. If our beliefs and mindset are not built with sure and true principles, then all of our relationships, success, and endeavors are at risk.
When things go wrong we give our power to others by blaming. When we blame others for events or actions, we are not taking responsibility for our own ability to create change. When we blame, we are not viewing them as humans, but rather as objects who are supposed to be perfect. To start the process of really viewing others as living beings, whenever a conflict or negative situation arises – begin by asking yourself 4 questions:
- What do I really want the outcome to be?
- What do they really want the outcome to be?
- What can I do to change the current situation?
- What can I do to help the other person get what they want?
The answers to these questions allows the possibility for deeper understanding and a reduction of selfishness. In life, the more we help other people get what they want, the byproduct is that we end up getting what we want. Adam Grant wrote a book that describes all people as either givers, takers, or matchers. While all three can achieve success – those who help others the most end up achieving the greatest success and satisfaction. Viewing others as humans helps us overcome selfishness. In taking responsibility for our own feelings, our own actions, we can then learn to navigate complex relationships and reduce conflict in all areas of our lives.