Every Successful Relationship Has One Thing In Common
No matter if it’s romantic, professional, friendly or relational, each and every one of us has a relationship in our life and actively works to cultivate additional throughout the course of our existence. Some relationships might be considered less beneficial than others; however, each and every one has the potential for success. How is this the case? Because every failed relationship can be traced back to one area of disconnect — decision making.
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How does the ability to make decisions impact your relationships?
While there are several aspects that cater to a successful and fulfilling relationship, many of the areas of strife are rooted in disagreement. A practice I recently came across introduced a new perspective to the way we should approach decision making and how our ability to make decisions offers a significant impact to the people surrounding us in life. The practice consists of just two steps:
- Each and every time you make a decision, write it down.
- Then, you are to write a reason why the decision makes sense.
This is to be repeated each and every time you are presented with a decision throughout the course of your life. The impact? Uncovering the root principles of the way you navigate life as an individual.
Tying it back to relationships
Billionaire Ray Dalio offers his insight into the reason why so many arguments ensue. His philosophy? Because the individuals involved see the decision as an arguing point, rather than an opportunity to learn about the other person.
An argumentative response signifies a focus on the decision itself, rather than the process of how they got there.
Dalio goes on to say that as we continue to track our decisions and reasons for each, we uncover the things that matter most to us and essentially, whether or not we should make the same decision in the future. After all, history has a tendency to repeat itself so it is likely you or someone you know will meet that same fork in the road at some point.
On the contrary, when we take argumentative triggers as opportunities to engage in “thoughtful disagreement,” we are welcoming changes to the way we see things and cultivating a new perspective.
If you think about why most relationships fail, it is often due to a disagreement somewhere along the line. Perhaps a boss didn’t see eye-to-eye with your strategy of performing the job functions; therefore, rather than speaking about the reasons why decisions were made, one of you decided it wasn’t working out. You are faced with a disagreement on whether or not something should be the case in your romantic relationship and rather than seeking to understand how that person reached that decision or perspective, you throw in the towel and walk away. Consider relational circumstances where family members negate their loved ones because they don’t live their life in a certain manner or make decisions they agree with. I recently shared a personal experience where this was the case for me.
The point being that no matter the dynamic of the relationship, if we can understand our personal principles as they relate to decision making, we can solidify whether or not the decision is true. Take for instance a person’s belief that you are inapt for a certain job — they have made the decision that you are not a good fit. In this scenario, you have two options: either disagree and combat the decision or ask additional questions like “How did you come to that decision?” or “What was it that led you to that decision?”
As you can see one option is likely to reap more graciously impactful results than the other. Now that’s not to say that everything will go back to as it was, you’ll get the job, and everything will be peachy, but it’s gaining the understanding of a perspective different than yours and can allow you to better decide where your efforts are best spent going forward.
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Maybe their response runs along the lines of: “Because you didn’t ever follow up” or “We didn’t feel like your personality would mesh with the others here” — both are reasons you can do nothing about at this point in time, but can lead to different actions in the future. Furthermore, you are gaining a clear understanding on what matters most to that person, because we, as humans, tend to only make decisions that cater to our own bigger picture. So with this particular feedback, you could gather that persistence and diligence are important traits to this particular person and that workplace culture and the ability to get along with coworkers is necessary for hire.
Now let’s consider a relationship of the romantic sort: Your partner makes the abrupt decision to leave and rather than asking what led up to the decision, you toss a few profane words and insults their way, and they remove themselves from the picture indefinitely. What you could have potentially learned in that scenario is what truly matters to that person as it relates to their partner. It could be that you seemed distracted and they want to be with someone who notices them or perhaps it was a lack of support shown for their creative art.
This feedback would provide tremendous insight into the things that are non-negotiable for them. He or she looks to their partner for attention and interest in their work. You may find you are not that person, but you can learn from the decision that these are things that matter to people and can help you to contribute effectively to the next relationship.
If we can understand what drives a person’s decisions (yourself included), then we can respond mindfully and potentially foresee circumstances before they arise. If we know what matters to ourselves, then we will inevitably make decisions that are thought out, rather than hastily made. All in all, each of us has the power to make or break a relationship, but it is a two-way street. But it begins with one of you initiating the desire for understanding, rather than argument.