“BEST RELATIONSHIP SUCCESS: Via Better Thinking and Better Communication”

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” ~Henry Winkler

And where do we make and express these assumptions but in our mind and with our mouths? The way to the biggest gains in best relationship success is no secret. The most happiness, contentment, meaning and fulfillment in any personal or work relationship involves practicing and applying successful thinking and successful communication principles. These are the two fundamental contexts in which all relationship interactions occur and these two things are what determine the outcomes.

Successful Thinking

Here are a few thinking principles that lead to better relationships:

• Mark Twain said it best with this first half of his definition of common sense: “The simple knack of seeing something the way it is.” A good example is avoiding the temptation of editorializing or adding your personal “opinion” about what the other person is saying or doing to you. That is usually where such an assumption negatively affects the outcome of the situation and makes you continue to expect the worst instead of the best. It is always the best you which is needed for success at anything. Expecting the worst is a learned habit that is hard to shed.

• It makes more sense to focusing on similarities rather than the annoying differences. We get nowhere by focusing on the other person’s differences and yet we continually do it. You have to catch yourself engaging in this fault-finding habit and then substitute something positive that you enjoy about the other person in your mind so that it gets effectively transferred to your mouth, without any negative assumptions in between.

• Success can only come from embracing failure lessons. Now here is a secret irony worth revealing. We don’t learn how to be more successful in anything by studying success. But, the biggest gains in success come from actually seeking out and embracing failure for the sake of what it can teach you. Although that runs completely contrary to what we are taught everywhere, you will just have to try it to see the benefits.

• Once you realizing the importance of perspective in what you think you know, it is easier to see what you don’t know that you need to know to make progress in better relationships. Learning something new to enjoy about another person is always a good thing to replace something negative which you already know about the person.

• It is always a good idea to stop and pause to think about what you are going to say before you say it. That way, you can decide what not to say and say what you need to say and how you need to say it to get the best results.

• Progress in better thinking only starts by focusing on change rather than on results. It is too tempting to set goals in what we are trying to do and then evaluate the results we get. But successful problem-solving always requires some sort or change in strategy, approach or method of resolution, which is often so obvious that you miss it. It is through changing our unsuccessful thinking about the problems other people’s behavior confronts us with that leads to better relationships.

Successful Communication

Here are a few simple communication principles that can help any relationship improve:

• It is good to learn how to communicate your likeability by demonstrating it though a likeable manner of communication. What makes a person likeable? Research connecting likeability and success identify some common denominators including honesty, agreeability, humor, positivism, empathy and realness. When you communicate these attributes non-defensively, without superiority, control, manipulation, dishonesty and insensitivity, you are on your way to becoming an expert communicator which is essential to having a successful relationship.

• Good communication always involves more listening than talking. This means listening to understand rather than to strategize your response about your own agenda. And, active listening is easier said than done, requiring physical discipline of all your communication devices including contrary non-verbal give-aways that you really aren’t interested.

• At some point you must realizing the extent of miscommunication before you can begin to make it better. Here’s another secret. We are slow to admit it but miscommunication is much more prevalent than good communication. And if you really want to strike it big in relationship success by thinking and communicating more successfully, then consider the likely reality that what you think you know may not necessarily be so. Then start thinking about how much more you can know about successful thinking, successful communication and successful relationships.

• What needs to be known about miscommunication is in knowing the complexity and the ‘on-goingness’ context of communication. The problem here is that no interaction ever starts clean or ends when it ends. Communication is perpetual. We are always thinking about what is going on, including what we want to say and what we want to listen to, given what we currently have going on in our heads. Without serious self-discipline, the carry over-contamination of this “roof chatter” changes the whole nature of the communication and interaction results.

• When you commit to getting frank feedback about your own communication and making perpetual improvement, then that is exactly what happens.

• The real challenge of successful communication is getting though conflicts about incompatibilities or at least being compatible about how you approach and how you are dealing with these differences. It takes applying all these thinking and communicating principles to be successful in overcoming this challenge.

Practice any of these dozen successful thinking and communicating tips and enjoy the big success you will have in relationships.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the mountains and rivers of North Bend, WA. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden), and A Fool In Love: Searching for True Love (coming). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or ckuretdoc@comcast.net