Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Real Root of People Skills

Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwartz

Chapter 9 – Think Right Toward People


Here is a basic rule for success to memorize: “Success Depends on the support of other people.” (pg 151) The author gives the example of employment hierarchy and that the highest person in the job is the one accountable for the work.

The author makes the statement that “a person either supports you willingly or he doesn’t support you at all. The focus of this chapter is to learn how to get people to support you, and the basic mechanism is to “think right toward people” (pg 152)

In this section, the author tells us that people are not pulled up by others, they are lifted up by their own personability, and “being likeable makes you easy to lift” (pg 153)

  1. The author tells us that “successful people follow a plan for liking people. He points to President Lyndon Johnson, who had a 10 point formula for success. He lists that 10 points and then suggests that Johnson following those makes him easier to vote for and support in congress.
  1. Another principle is that you never try to buy friendship. Without genuine sincerity, a gift is seen as a bribe or payoff. When we try to buy a friend, we lose money and create contempt.
  1. The next point is to always take the initiative to start the friendship. Call people, be the first to introduce yourself, talk to strangers, etc. The author walks us through 6 steps to take initiative in making new friends.
  1. Next, we learn how to handle criticism by keeping a balance between what he refers to as the P (positive) channel and the N (negative) channel. Whichever channel we are in the habit of listening to will become dominant and we need to learn to use that channel. You need to be tuned into the P channel.
  1. The author adds a common theme found in many people skill books, which is the successful people tend to be the listeners and unsuccessful people tend to be the talkers. According to the author, this is not because the unsuccessful person is full of himself, but because the successful person practices “conversational generosity, that is, he encourages the other person to talk about himself, his views, his accomplishments, his family, his job, and his problems.” (pg 162) Along these lines, the author also suggests not to be a conversation hog.

Christian Response

Obviously, persons with people skills are generally going to get further in life, however, I can speak to these issues from my personal life. I was a person who totally lacked people skills when I started my time in this organization. After 3.5 years, on the outside, it appeared that I had people skills, but it was all an act. I was torn up and going crazy inside. This was a direct result of practicing suggestions like these ones. The real root of gaining people skills is to put all your hope in Jesus Christ. It was only when I put all my sins, all my shame, all my hate, all my worldliness, and all my life that was not consistent with the character of Christ on the alter before Him that I gained this ability. What is the result? I wish I could make you see, but when I walk into the church, many of the kids will seek me out and follow me. I went to a small group meeting last week and when I walked in, all four of their kids swarmed me wanting to talk and walked in line with me as I made my way in. At another persons house, when I walk in, both kids run up and give me a big hug, another house, all the kids run into the foyer calling my name. There are adults that enjoy my presence as well, but NONE of that is me, it is not my study of people skills, it is an exuding love that only can come from Jesus Christ. All that starts with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not the principles taught in the Magic of Thinking Big.

With that said, I would like to also say that the purpose of this section is using people for your desires of success. I do realize that one of the principles talked about is to be genuinely interested in other people. That seems to be a catch phrase in contacting for MLMs as well as a sales strategy. I will pose this question: How can you be genuinely interested in a person when you have a goal to sell them a product or service. I think it is possible, but is the exception, not the norm. What will usually occur is a phony sort of love that was talked about in this chapter. I will conclude with a very telling quote from this chapter: “The more we can learn about [people], their thought processes, their strong and weak points, why they do what and as they do, the better equipped we are to influence them effectively, in the way that we want” (pg 162). That sounds like using people to me, not loving them genuinely with the selfless love of Christ.


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