This past weekend I crammed in just about every activity I could including cooking, hanging out with my kids, going out with my wife, and biking with friends (OK, I did get a nap in too). There are a couple things which struck me with everything going on about those closest to me. We’re always encouraging and we all have fairly open minds. Those both seem very healthy for their own reasons.
The encouraging part probably seems fairly obvious but it’s worth thinking about. Yes, most of my biking friends are guys and guys tend to be competitive at times, particularly with sports involved. We can be irreverent and tempt each other to do dumb things in front of cameras with people watching on. However, neither this group nor my other friends fall into catty or derogatory behavior. Many of us have made some challenging decisions in our lives and careers and there’s always someone willing to lend an ear or an encouraging word. With the stress which can accompany everyday life, there’s just not enough time to deal with people who will drag you down. It’s far more healthy to know that your friends will help lift you up when you need it.
One danger we face these days is that of living in a thought bubble. Inside a thought bubble you hear the same limited viewpoints over and over again plus it can act as an echo chamber. New ideas don’t propagate and it can be easy to amplify each others’ thoughts in an unhealthy way. I wrote about many traits I look for in people in Personal Brands I’m Loyal To. One trait which underlies them is the ability to have an open mind. No agendas. No prejudging. No bigotry or bias. Yes, that’s hard to do a 100% job of, but if you’re in a group which tries to broaden ideas instead of close minds then you’re going to benefit. You’ll have healthier relationships and you’ll sleep better at night.
There’s so much written in today’s business world about integrity and the relationship era. I’ve got a family member who’s actually co-written a book about it called Can’t Buy Me Like (no, he has no idea I’m putting this in here, I’m just being supportive of a great guy). At the top of the list are transparency and honesty centered around believing and acting consistently in an honorable way. I strive to bring something something to each relationship I have. Conversely, if we communicate on a regular basis then know that I’m trying to get something out of it as well. I want your viewpoint, insights, and relevant life experiences. You’ve got perspectives and I’ll learn from them. Let’s just both work towards keeping our minds open to them.