5 Ways to Have Great Relationships with People Who Matter

Below are 5 simple ways to have great relationships with people in your life who really matter.

1. Cut Out the Negative People
We all have limited time and attention which we can give to people around us. So it is very important that we choose our friends wisely. Otherwise we might end up spending more time with people who are not so important and ignoring other very important ones. We all know people who make our day brighter, and let us to be just who we are. Focus on them, and cut out anybody who is sapping our energy continuously.

2. Look Beyond First Impressions
This is one thing I have learned over the years. We all form a first expression of people whom we meet, and many times, these first impressions decide our behavior and actions with them. In the last 8 years my first impressions have been proved wrong many a times. I noticed I have a tendency (as we all do) to judge people based on some prejudices. I have been pleasantly surprised as sometimes a person whom I thought was very cold came across as very sweet and polite, and vice versa. So I tend to give everyone a fair chance these days and not judge anyone too quickly.

3. Be Good to One and All
I believe we all have limited time on this planet earth, and while we are here, we can always find enough people to love. We should thrive to act and live out our daily lives as examples of the best we can be. When you are good, it is about you and not the other person. So be good even to those people who speak rudely at us, ignore us or simple aren’t polite. That is the real test of our character. If we can’t bring ourselves to be good to someone, we should at least not be ‘bad’ and get away from that situation quietly without doing any harm.

Build Friends for Life Wherever You Go

Build Friends for Life Wherever You Go

4. Encourage and Support Others
All of us have a myriad of dreams, but we only follow a few of them. The rest of them are struck down by the world around us, or worse, by ourselves. So whenever we see somebody contemplating a new idea, we should always encourage and support that person to ‘Just Do It’ and take the first forward step. Every new step taken by an individual on a dream will brighten his day (irrespective of success and failure in that step) and make him feel the real joy of living. So the next time you see someone in a dilemma, cheer him up to take action on his dream.

5. Just be Yourself.. and Be OK with It
Many a times we change our behavior and actions depending on whom we are with. We might act different when we are with our friends, and different when we are with our colleagues from work. Even with friends, we might have different categories where we act and behave differently. Instead what we can do is just be ourself, without worrying much about how others will perceive our actions. It is OK to be the way we are, and the right people will accept you for who you are. Some people might not be OK with it, but just say “This is the real me” and leave it at that. Over time people will respect you for it.

Keeping Faith Takes Courage

Around two years ago, I wrote an article on the importance of keeping faith in life and how it is very important to have faith, especially when the times are tough. I wrote about how these tough times can be life’s tests which will only make us stronger and wiser with time. In this article I want to write about why and how having faith requires courage.

To live faithfully means to live productively, but having faith is an act of courage which must be repeated hour after hour, day after day. Faith allows us to take risks in life, to go in the direction where the paths are unknown, and that is not easy for most of us. Faith also makes us ready to accept some pain and disappointments knowing that everything will turn out the best in the end. And it requires courage to all this.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

This courage comes from deep within the soul, and not from any kind of power or knowledge. It is the courage which is accompanied by a calm attitude, and is different from the courage required to declare a war on someone. It is not required to be physically strong or have a gun to have this courage, because it comes from faith. This is the courage of Gandhi, and not of Hitler.

This courage is required to face the setbacks and pains of life as a challenge which will strengthen us rather than treat it as something which should not have happened and which is unfair. This courage begins with small daily acts of faith, when we see that things are not going our way. It begins when you get struck in a traffic jam, and it only increases in magnitude when we have an accident, or loose a loved one. To have faith means to commit oneself to an act without any guarantee that our actions will produce the desired results or not.

We all strive for safety and comfort, but whoever goes too far in this aspiration and always seeks security doesn’t have faith. If we make different systems for our defense and security, then we ourselves become a prisoner due to the lack of faith and courage. It takes courage to have belief in ourselves, certain values and life itself and to take the plunge without knowing the end result.

A famous quote by Ray Bradbury so wonderfully says – “You’ve got to jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down.”

Four Paths we Should Follow but Not Go Too Far and Where to Draw the Line (The Balanced Man)

There are some traits we should all have – like being helpful, confident, proud and humble, and enough has been written about them. What I want to touch upon in this article are some traits which we should aspire to have but not go too far in that aspiration either. It is very important to maintain the right balance in the extent to we have these traits. By focusing on these things in this article, the aim is only to become the best version of ourselves, and not to become better than anyone else.

Path 1 – Be Proud and Confident but not Arrogant and Cocky

The balanced man is sure, secure and certain but never has an exaggerated sense of one’s own abilities. He doesn’t need to have a victim to become victorious. He knows his strengths and weaknesses well, and knows when to seek help. If he has a good idea, he shares it with the world rather than keeping it to himself. He takes action regularly towards his objective, and these actions doesn’t need to put anybody else down. He has ‘real’ confidence, which is authentic and genuine, and doesn’t let his insecurities translate into over-confidence. The balanced man understands this difference.

There is a fine line between being confident and being an asshole. There is nothing wrong in taking pride in your achievements, but it is also equally important to have a beginner’s mind when starting new projects. You need to acknowledge your successes, but should not use it as a tool to demand certain privileges for yourself.

Life is a Balancing Act

Life is a Balancing Act

Path 2 – Be Nice but Not Let Others Take You for a Ride

Just as pride is important, humility is also a very important trait. It keeps us grounded and prevents us from flying based on past laurels. You know that you are skillful, but you also know what are your skill gaps and where you need to seek help. Apart from humility, another aspect of being nice is being patient and tolerant. We should be tolerant of the opinions and views of others, and patient with people and situations if we don’t get immediate results. The balanced man understands that his opinion is also an ‘opinion’, and other opinions are just as valid as his.

Having said that, we should never stretch ‘being nice’ too far that others start taking us for granted. There will be times when you have to put your foot down and remind people that there are lines which they should not cross. Again, this should not be done arrogantly or with a feeling of superiority but with calm and compassion towards others. The balanced man focuses on solutions to problems, and understands that sometimes a more aggressive approach might be what is required. You might need to step away from a job, stop talking to someone for a while, and so on. The balanced man is strong enough to face some short term pain and hurt but do the appropriate thing. The balanced man never loses himself to please others, or for being nice. He always knows his values and principles, and act with strength if the situation requires so.

Path 3 – Work Hard and with Dedication, but don’t let Anything Become an Obsession

We all admire the people who work with dedication, take on new challenges in life and have a great work ethic. But we also realize that these people don’t have a life outside of work and their work life balance is not that balanced. As with most things, there is a fine line here too, a line between dedication and obsession which the balanced man understands well.

The balanced man knows that life is like a wheel with many spokes, and work is only one of it. The other spokes are relationships, health, continuous learning, recreation, among others. The balanced man has goals and goes after them with planning, but doesn’t exhaust himself chasing more and more work. The balanced man knows the power of focus – they focus on work fully when they are at work, and to their family when they are at home. He doesn’t let one spill into another’s territory. He knows how to have an enriching and balanced life, and also understands that being obsessed towards any one aspect of life will have it consequences too.

Path 4 – Help Others but Don’t Patronize Others

The balanced man knows not only that helping others is a true way to give back to the world, but also that being helpful has its limits. We should know that if people need to learn and grow, they might be required to fail and learn their own lessons on their way. While one should always strive to encourage and plug any knowledge gaps, the balanced man realizes that doing the job for someone else is only going to make the other person weaker in the long run. Assistance is required sometimes, but people should have the freedom to make their own mistakes and learn from them.

By being too helpful, we start patronizing others. We start to give the message – “You are no good”. It is an insult to another human being, to his talent, and more importantly, to his ability to learn and adapt to the situation. That is making another inferior and taking false pride is our own superiority.

Having these four traits, but knowing where to draw the line is what will make you a Balanced Man.

If You Can Do These Things, You’re a Winner

How I describe a winner or success has changed tremendously in the last six to seven years. Very early in my career, I used to associate success and winning with results produced by the people involved, but the definition has changed tremendously now. Not that results and outcomes are not important, but I feel there is more than that to a person or team being called a winner.

In my book, a person is a winner if he/she can do the below three things –

1. Push themselves beyond their current limits, day after day, week after week and month after month. They do this despite the pain, the struggle, the discomfort that this ‘pushing‘ will create.
2. Sacrifice doing something where immediate rewards are guaranteed and continue working in an area where he/she is not even sure whether the rewards will come or not, because of some goal one is pursuing, or some ideals or values that one believes in.
3. Does whatever he does with intensity. Intensity causes performance, not duration. Can you run for 15 min instead of a 1 hr walk? Can you treat every second of your time as your most valuable resource and give nothing less than your best? And it is not just in business, can you bring the same intensity and performance whether you are gardening, coding, or having a conversation.

The excellency of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeable evaporate. John Keats

The excellency of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeable evaporate. John Keats

I rarely push myself to exhaustion. I know if I could just increase my intensity in doing certain tasks, I can cut the duration by as much as 50%. But there is a huge comfort zone where I am, and the mind’s job is to survive, and it will resist doing anything which means enduring discomfort. The mind tricks us into thinking we have hit our limits long before we actually do.

I believe there is no sure shot way to outstanding results, and it can never be guaranteed. But what we all can control is how much intensity we put in whatever we do. Intensity is when a double amputee climbs a mount everest, intensity is when a person with no arms can fly a plane (search for Jessica Cox), intensity is when a 90 year old runs a marathon, or when you see the paralympics. Everybody will give in to the temptation (to procrastinate, to give up too early) some times, but I have seen many people who have been working with intensity, and they are my real heroes, my real winners.

Letting my Poetry Take Its Own Path

It has been more than three years that I have been writing regularly on this site. I have written articles, poetry and lately short stories. How I write my articles and poetry differs greatly. Let me explain – with articles I normally research about a topic to get some real data and facts before sitting down to pen down my opinion. I normally have a list of topics at hand, which I slowly expand into bullet points and later into a full article. This is a very top to bottom process – something well thought about and planned.

However, how I write poetry is very different from what I described above. If article writing is a top to bottom process, then poetry is a bottom to top process. If article writing is planned, then writing poetry is spontaneous. The articles comes from the head and heart, while the poems originate from the soul. The articles are meant to be read, understood and analyzed, while the poems are just meant to be felt.

I don’t plan and write poetry. I don’t have a list of topics on which I have to write a poem. Instead, poetry writing feels like someone else is writing through me. It seems like I am just the medium and the words just come out automatically when I am in the ‘zone‘. After finishing a poem, sometimes I myself can’t believe I have written it. It is like I am a mirror reflecting the emotions in words which I absorb from the world as it is.

Poetry for me is just an arrangement of words such that it touches the heart and soul of the reader

Poetry for me is just an arrangement of words such that it touches the heart and soul of the reader

When I write a poem, I feel a unique connection to the world. It is like I am painting a picture, but with words instead. It takes me into a new trance of consciousness where the possibilities are endless, and life is full of joy – even if the poem is about sad and tragic state of affairs. I feel poetry puts us all in touch with the most innocent child in us, and we are always going to need it.

I have not learned or studied about poetry ever. Poetry for me is a way of expressing my mood and emotions at that point. Depending on whether I am sad, romantic or nostalgic, my poems come out as reflecting the same. Even the subjects of the poem vary. I have written poems about corruption, politics, love, society, my mother, best friends, life depending upon the prevalent topic in my life at that time.

So my poetry takes its own path, independent of what I want to write. And I want to let it be that way. With poetry, I am willing to go where the flow takes me, without offering much resistance of my own. I am going to accept and write poetry about whatever life throws at me, rather than choosing a subject(s) and try to mold my poetry about it. Poetry also helps me to see things which are serious in a lighter vein. Life may be messy, chaotic, painful, sad at times and joyful, lovely, charming and completely perfect at other times. But the world as a whole is beautiful, and there is beauty all around us, if we can look at it that way.