Just to be perfectly clear I am not talking about romantic relationships, not exclusively. I am talking about the everyday connections that people have.
Being alone is the new smoking. It may actually be more healthful to smoke with someone you have meaningful conversations with than to be a non-smoker who is alone (please do not try that). But why is that? Come on, with everything going on in the world right now do we even really need to answer that? Many people could not stay away from other people if it literally meant their lives.
I may be an introvert, but I still value relationships. Heck, I am married, clearly I value relationships. But why are relationships important to even the most introverted people?
Relationships Provide You With Reflection
Have you ever had a conversation with someone you thought was about something that was common only to see their mouth agape? You may be wondering why they have their mouth open. The reason why their mouth is open is because they cannot believe what you just said. What you were talking about is not common.
For instance, to graduate from school early I worked very long days. I even told one of my students that it was not uncommon for me to spend more than 24 straight hours at school. Their mouth was very agape and I think if they had any thoughts of going to graduate school, I destroyed them.
This was completely unhealthful and to this day I still have a hard time separating work from other aspects of my life.
The worst part is I literally cannot blame anyone except myself. Everyone I told this to said me it was a bad idea, I just did not listen. One of the reasons why relationships are important is because people you have relationships with can help you reflect on yourself to try to improve yourself. Reflecting on your behaviors can help you improve your positive aspects, or as I illustrated, try to rid you of negative aspects.
Try To Complete Goals
I have mentioned how I have successfully hunted a buck on the first day I hunted. As good of an achievement as this was I cannot take all of the credit. It was an effort shared by me, my two brothers, and my father. We did not all shoot the deer (thankfully). But what we did was we dispersed tactically across the hunting grounds so our hunting space would not overlap and so we could cover as much ground as possible. Truth is it was just luck that the deer crossed my path first. If that happened to anyone else, they probably would have had the deer.
This applies to almost everything in life. Almost every job is easier with the help of others. Collaboration and synergy are almost hands down the most influential drivers to productivity.
Also, life happens. Sometimes you need someone to complete a task for you when you yourself cannot. Developing good relationships with people can make sure you can get help when you need it. However, these relationships like all relationships are a two-way street. No one will really feel like helping you if you straight out refuse to assist them. But showing kindness will always pay back in dividends.
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received taken word for word from one of my mentors is this. “You will be surprised how far simply not being an asshole will get you in life.” So do not be an asshole. That should be a simple starting goal in life to develop good relationships.
Relationships Build Knowledge
What is the true advantage of humans that have made us “masters of the Earth” so to speak? Some say it is the use of tools, some say we are more intelligent. The first one is false, and the last one…debatable. The main reason humans have become the masters of the Earth is because of the propagation and spread of knowledge, especially to younger generations. This would not be possible without our long life spans and means of communication which lead to the formation of many different relationships. This allows humans to progress with each generation in ways that other life forms simply cannot. Either those life forms have too short of a lifespan to learn and provide sufficient information to new generations, they lack the means of communication to “inform” new generations, or both.
This Stretches Back To Hunters And Gatherers
Every human being that ever lived has learned a vast mental library of knowledge from others, a “tradition” that still continues today. This started so humans could successfully hunt and gather resources so the humans could survive. While we do not need to hunt or gather as much anymore, hunting is still an excellent example to illustrate the passage of knowledge. In fact, one of the best pieces of advice I have received about hunting was from a relative of my wife. Since the point of this blog is to spread information I should also tell you. The secret to a good hunt is to fast yourself of meat just before the hunt.
When I first heard this it actually made sense. Animals smell other animals, frequently through pheromones. These pheromones can be triggered by many biological factors and sometimes even by nutrition. Think about it, many herbivores can smell a predator and run, but they can smell another herbivore and remain calm. What distinguishes them from herbivores? There may be many factors, I know thousands of scientists could spend lifetimes studying this, but sometimes the most obvious answer is the correct one. Predators eat meat, herbivores do not.
I do not know how true this is. All I know is I successfully hunted a deer that stayed at least somewhat in front of me for 10 minutes and the only thing I did to mask my smell was refuse to consume meat for a few days before the hunt. And it is worth mentioning my wife’s relative has had the same exact story every hunting season, he has successfully hunted a deer every year using this advice.
Propagation Of Knowledge
I highly doubt my wife’s relative learned this first hand, but I know I have not. Now you know, and everyone you tell this to or share this post with knows as well and everyone else they would tell. All from a single source. That is the power of propagated knowledge.
A few of my mentors served in a military. Each told me the same thing: they needed to trust their comrades-in-arms with their lives. And that favor needed to be returned otherwise they could not act as a unit. In many situations there is always someone in the unit who has to take point, cover flanks, and watch their back (or six). Everyone had to stick to their roles in a combat situation because in case an enemy wanted to try to out maneuver the unit. If unit members switched roles that would create an opening for an attack. By having each member of the unit watch a certain angle they left few, sometimes even no openings for an enemy to successfully attack. In other words, each member had to trust each other fully so they can each do their own job without distraction. It is very hard to cover your angle while worrying about someone else’s angle.
Do You Need That Level Of Trust?
Having someone like that in your life is one of the most liberating feelings. The reason why is because you can never see all of the angles by yourself. One of my mentors told me “you are guaranteed to fail if you go alone, when you are together with anyone, you will stand a chance.” In other words, developing trust with others is the only way to get through life. Furthermore, you can focus on your own task instead of the tasks others do, allowing you to handle your task with full effort.
How Can You Develop This Level Of Trust?
Take a leap of faith. Trust never required anything less. I know what I said was very intense, but there is no better way to illustrate trust than with combat situations. After all, if you cannot trust someone with your life, it is not really trust.
Relationships Are Healthful
Healthy relationships make healthy people. Having even one healthy relationship cuts your risk of heart failure in half. Your risk of diabetes is smaller if you have a healthy relationship. And mental health is far improved compared being alone with your thoughts. Now is this a direct effect or is it that having healthy relationships leads to more healthful behavior? You know it is both. Many aspects of a relationship positively effect health. Your heart rate changes around people you have healthy relationships with. Also, I think the stereotype of loved ones nagging about how much the other drinks, eats cheeseburgers, and/or plays video games is too strong to suggest any less than the fact that the people you are in a healthy relationship with want you to be healthy.
Relationships are a very strong bond that make us all better. Being around people you care about brings about improvement in yourself and the bond of these relationships ensure that these treasures benefit many. Life is too rich to consume by yourself. And you will be surprised at how developing relationships will help you on your path in life, even on your way to forge your wealth.