Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once told his daughter “You can have as many friends as you want as long as you genuinely like enough other people.” If you examine your best relationships, I bet they are characterized by the following:
* you truly like them and they truly like you
* you trust them completely and they trust you completely
* you believe they have the best intentions toward you and they believe you have the best intentions toward them
* you pull for them to be successful and they pull for you to be successful
* you gladly go out of your way to help them and they gladly go out of their way to help you
Some people have so many positive relationships and others have so few. The difference lies in how we view others and the degree to which we are willing to extend ourselves for others. Skeptics and ‘realists’ are often quick to warn the world is rampant with self-serving enthusiasts and con artists who are ready to pounce on generous, naïve souls. Living life too cautiously will likely prevent you from being cheated in some ways, but the higher cost is being cheated out of something much bigger. Let me be clear in stating we should all be observant, serious, and intelligent when putting our feelings and assets at risk. Just don’t be so cynical and paranoid in believing most people are out to take advantage of you.
Forgive but do not forget. I’ve been disappointed and burned before and I do not allow some people to return to the level of trust I previously enjoyed with them. But it doesn’t make sense to let my mistrust of one person taint the trust of another.
The majority of people in this world are good and accordingly, our systems work well. Some cheat the system but for every bad egg you will find a dozen grade AAA eggs. For every person who has hurt me I can count 25 people who have enriched my life tremendously.
We can enjoy much success in our relationships with others by starting with the assumption that others are good, honest, hardworking, generous, intelligent, and caring. In some cases, people evolve into better, more honest, more hardworking, more generous, more intelligent, and more caring individuals because of the faith and expectation we bestow on them.
As humans, we are capable of good and evil. The force that is nurtured and encouraged is the one more likely to emerge. As a colleague, a family member, or a friend, we have the power to be a positive mirror for others. Countless studies have proven that we are shaped by our environment. What is the tone of the environment you are setting? How can your behavior influence how others behave toward you and toward the world?
Success is nurturing the good in others.