The Power Of The Other shows you the surprisingly big influence other people have on your life, what different kinds of relationships you have with them and how you can cultivate more good ones to replace the bad, fake or unconnected and live a more fulfilled life.
How often do you think about the entirety of your relationships with other people? I mean, do you regularly take a step back, go through your phone, and think about each contact, trying to establish whether their number still deserves its place in your pocket?
Not only do all these contacts create mental baggage, depending on how often you engage with them, they shape the course of your life for the better or for worse. For example, just yesterday I deleted 20 or so numbers from my phone, bringing my contacts down to 73. It felt really good to “let go” of people I know I’ll never call anyway.
Managing the relationships in your life is exactly what this book is about. It shows you how much influence others wield over your actions and helps you make sure it’s directed well.
Here are 3 lessons from The Power Of The Other:
- Avoid corner 1-3 connections, which are bad, fake, or noreal connections at all.
- The only relationships that really matter are the ones inwhich you can truly be yourself.
- Your best relationships will give you the feedback you needto solve your own problems.
Ready to ramp up your relationships and rally in 2017? Let’s learn from Dr. Henry Cloud how you can foster connections that help you grow!
Lesson 1: Ditch all connections that are bad for you, fake or non-existent.
According to Dr. Cloud, every single relationship you have in your life falls into one of four categories, which he calls connection corners. There are corner one relationships, corner two relationships, and so on. The higher their degree, the better, but in fact, only one type of connection really matters.
The other three, you’re best off avoiding entirely. Here they are:
Corner one relationships. This basically isn’t a connection at all. For example, if you’re a manager completely out of sync with your team, and you act almost independently, that’s a corner one relationship. The same holds true if you feel your spouse doesn’t listen to or support you at all.
Corner two relationships. These relationships are actively bad for you. The classic scenario is when you settle for a partner who’s obviously a terrible fit, because for example, they always put you down and you feel worse after hanging out with them.
Corner three relationships. You can call these fake relationships. It’s this kind of relationship that’s the hardest to avoid, because it feels good in the short run, but is toxic long term. An affair or drinking buddy would be a good example.
These kinds of connections all suck and that’s important to know – but what kind of relationships do you need then?
Lesson 2: Cultivate only those relationships, in which you can truly be yourself.
Everyone has at least one or two of those people in their life, that they feel they can be completely open and honest with. Who do you feel comfortable enough around to 100% be you? These are the kinds of connections Dr. Cloud calls corner four relationships – and they’re the only ones that matter.
We all put on masks on almost a daily basis. We wear a fake self for the outside world, to seem more confident, stronger or smarter than we actually are. With our corner four, our real connections, we don’t have to do that.
No more pretending. In these relationships, you’ll feel safe to express everything you think and feel at any time.
Because you know you won’t be judged, it gets much easier to openly admit weaknesses and start working on them with some help, which is why corner four relationships are the only ones that help you grow and live a better life.
Take some time to think about which corner four relationships you already have in your life. Thank those people. Make an effort to keep them around. And then forget about all the others.
Lesson 3: Your best relationships in life won’t solve your problems for you, but will give you the feedback you need to tackle them on your own.
How exactly do corner four relationships make you better? Well, because you can openly share your weaknesses with those people, they’re the perfect way to get the feedback you need to move to the next level. However, that doesn’t mean that your best friends or your spouse will solve your problems for you.
The two words that best describe a corner four relationship are freedom and responsibility.
Your connection will give you the freedom to be who you are, do your own thing, and never judge your actions, but that also comes with the responsibility to take matters into your own hands and solve your own problems.
For example, a great mentor will always give you valuable feedback on your book’s manuscript, but she’ll never edit it for you. What makes such relationships the best is that you’ll get specific, actionable feedback, the kind that enables you to take care of your own obstacles yourself, instead of just helping you once.
My personal take-aways
After reading this, I almost feel like I should go right through my contact list again and delete some more numbers. Indeed, the connections that really matter in our life are few and far between, but once you accept that, it makes letting go of the other three kinds feel like a huge relief. The concepts in this book are surely worth ruminating regularly about!