The path to success doesn't have to involve clawing your way to the top or only looking out for number one. In fact, I'd argue that the individuals who find the most success — and not fleeting, but true, lasting, long-term success — make a consistent and conscious effort to put others first and help them along the way.
While, at first glance, that sounds completely counterintuitive, it may actually be karma's greatest gift to those who take the advice to heart. Here are five ways to put this into practice and how it can influence your own journey to success.
Dive Into Details
Caring for others is, without a doubt, a noble venture, but many times we simply don't dig deep enough in our outreach. Too much of our daily interactions with others can be rushed or superficial — barely grazing the surface of each other's realities. If we don't take the time to find out what is going on in someone's life or what makes them unique, we're shortchanging our ability to truly connect.
So take the time to learn about the details of other's lives. Learn about their family, their dog's name, their hobbies and interests. Ask what their goals are, their biggest fear, and where they look for inspiration.
Then retain this information — heck, even make notes in your email or smartphone contact list if you need to. Inquire about their spouse the next time you see them or send them a link to a podcast about a topic that interests them. Lean on this information to build trust, foster deeper communication, and provide support.
Lesson learned: Consistently practicing this technique can help you build stronger relationships while also learning from the experiences of others. There are lessons to be gained from every person and interaction.
Empathize Instead of Antagonize
Remember, everyone has their own struggles. No matter how pulled together they may seem on the exterior, they could be crumbling inside.
Despite how others may act (or react) toward you — anything from angry to indifferent — choose to rise above it. Make the conscious decision to avoid engaging in an antagonistic way. Instead, be nice to those who are, at least for the moment, unable to reciprocate the same courtesy to you. They most likely could benefit from some genuine kindness and empathy.
Lesson learned: People tend to remember who had their backs when they were down on their luck. And if (or more like, when) that happens to you, they may be the first one there offering a hand up or just a listening, non-judgmental ear.