Mastering Human Relationships

You get more out of your relationships with others — more easily — by not approaching them directly. It’s because of something called the Law of Indirect Effort.

For example, if you want to impress someone, the direct way to do it is to point out your admirable qualities and accomplishments. But talking about yourself usually makes you feel a little foolish. (And sometimes embarrassed.)

The indirect way to impress another person is simply to be impressed by him. The more impressed you are — by who he is or what he has accomplished — the more impressed he will be by you.

If you want to get someone interested in you, the direct way is to tell him all about yourself. But the indirect way works better. Simply become interested in him. The more interested you become in him, the more interested he will become in you.

If you want to be happy, the direct way is to do things that will make you happy. However, the most enjoyable and lasting form of happiness comes from making someone else happy. It’s the Law of Indirect Effort at work again. When you do or say anything that makes someone else happy, you feel happy yourself. You boost your own spirits, your own self-esteem.

How do you get another person to respect you? The best way is to respect him. When you demonstrate respect or admiration for another person, he feels respect and admiration for you. Sociologists call this the Principle of Reciprocity. When you do something nice for someone else, that person will want to reciprocate by doing something nice for you. (Most romances and friendships are based on this principle.)

How do you get a person to believe in you? The answer is to believe in him. By showing that you have confidence in him, he will have confidence in you too.

You get what you give. What you send out, you get back.

The most important application of the Law of Indirect Effort has to do with developing a healthy personality. You are structured in such a way that everything you do to someone else has a reciprocal effect on you. Everything you do to raise the self-esteem of another person raises your own self-esteem — at the same time and in the same measure. Since self-esteem is the hallmark of a healthy personality, you can actually improve the health of your own personality by taking every opportunity to improve the health of the personalities of others.

What you sow in the lives of others, you reap in your own life.

Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. This is especially true in the area of self-esteem and self-confidence. Everyone grows up with the need to be praised and recognized. No matter how successful or how elevated people become, they still need to have their self-images reinforced.

There is a line that says, “I like you because of the way I feel about myself when I am with you.” This line contains the key to human relations. The happiest men and women are those who make other people feel good about themselves when they are with them.

When you go through life raising the self-esteem of others, opportunities will open up. And people will help you in ways you cannot now imagine. So take every opportunity to say and do things that make other people feel more valuable. Each time you express a kindness toward another person, your own self-esteem improves. Your own personality becomes more positive and healthy.

The way to raise the self-esteem of others is simply to make them feel important. Everything you do or say that makes another person feel more important boosts his self-esteem at the same time.

When you practice the Law of Indirect Effort — going through your day looking for ways to make others feel important — you will be popular and welcome everywhere. You will be healthier and happier. You will get more real satisfaction from life. You will have lower levels of stress and higher levels of energy. You will experience greater peace of mind. Above all, you will genuinely like and respect yourself.

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