Do you ever feel misunderstood by others? Maybe you feel that people at work don’t get you. Or that your friends are not on the same page.
Maybe others truly don’t get you. But that’s not because of them, it’s most likely because of your own behavior. I’ll tell you why.
When I started working for a major IT research firm in London several years ago, it was the first time I worked in an organization with thousands of people.
On my floor alone, there were probably two hundred people at work. For me, it was the first time that I was a part of such a big team.
One of the most important lessons I have learned from my mentor about working in large teams is this: People can only judge their perception of you. And often, there’s a difference between perception and reality, right?
If you think that you have to compete for better jobs or more market share, you’re as wrong as I was.
The idea of competition is engraved in our minds. We believe that we have to compete for the same jobs with others. If someone has a job, that means you can’t have the same job. And if a company has a certain market share, that means you have to compete with that company to “win” a piece of their share.
At least, that’s what conventional advice says. It’s also what I learned in business school. My entire education was based on competing with other businesses. And almost every business book that I’ve read, also assumes that business is competition.
They couldn’t be more wrong. When you assume that you have to compete with other businesses or people for money, jobs or attention, you’re engaged in limited thinking.
Some say life is like chess, running a marathon, or playing a video game. I like those simplified looks on life because it’s already complicated enough.
But even though those ideas are fun, they don’t provide a practical strategy to base your life on. Sure, you must be smart, strategic, try to accelerate your learning, get results, and be consistent at the same time. We get it.
But what do you do when things don’t work out?
About three years ago, I wasn’t satisfied with my life and career. It’s difficult to explain why. To be honest, I didn’t understand why at the time. I just didn’t know what I was doing.
I just did what others expected me to do. Or, things that conventional wisdom tell you to do. I went to college, got two degrees, started a business, but I thought I also needed to work for a multinational firm, live in a big city, buy expensive stuff, and drive a cool car.
Do you ever feel that business as a whole can be hostile? Maybe you have a boss that doesn’t appreciate you. Or a client that treats you like dirt.
No matter what your place is on the career ladder, I bet you’ve felt misunderstood somewhere in your career. Every day people feel left out, unappreciated, and mistreated at work. And consequently, they suffer.
Let’s face it. Business is not always fun. And sure, it’s business.
But I think we can easily improve the business landscape by getting better at one thing: Emotional Intelligence.
Everyone has heard of it. But what is it? How do you get better at it? And how can you use it to get better at business?
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a term that’s been popularized by John Mayer, from the University of New Hampshire, and Yale’s Peter Salovey.
Have you ever worked with a person so nasty that you hated going to work? It’s sad, but some people can spoil everything.
In an ideal world, people would treat others with respect, patience, and kindness. I think that’s what we’re meant to do as humans beings.
Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 til 180, and once the most powerful man on earth, said it best:
“In a sense, people are our proper occupation. Our job is to do them good and put up with them.”
But in real nkfe, things are a bit different. Most of us face bullies, backstabbers, and arses who don’t respect others on a daily basis. In other words: Assholes are everywhere.
But Robert Sutton, author of The Asshole Survival Guide, is committed to change that.
I always thought that the best wins at anything. That might be true for sports. But not for life and business.
If you’re trying to build a profitable business or stable career, you might be approaching it all wrong. At least, I was. And I think that the common belief about success is also totally wrong.
I get it when it comes to sports. There’s only one place at the top. And to get to the top, you have to be the best. I only applaud that. In fact, I’m inspired by athletes like LeBron James, Christiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams, and others.
But business is different. Instead of being the best, you must strive for becoming the first. Al Ries and Jack Trout put it best in their classic marketing book, The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing:
Do you have a long list of goals, desires, and wants for your life? Do you want to learn more? Earn more? Improve your skills? Get the most out of your relationships? Live better?
All those things are good. Life is about moving forward and making consistent progress.
However, there’s one important thing about all this working, hustling, striving, and achieving more: You can’t do everything at the same time.