Interpersonal competence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success. If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things. 1) Get to know yourself. Use this self knowledge to better understand others. 2) Build solid, long term, mutually beneficial relationships with the important people in your life. 3) Resolve conflict in a manner that enhances, not detracts from your relationships.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Jim Ryan. Jim is a motivational speaker and all around good guy. He sent me a copy of his great book Simple Happiness. He signed it, “To Bud, My wish for you is a life filled with joy and happiness! Keep up the good work. Jim Ryan.” See what I mean about Jim being a good guy?
I found a lot of common sense wisdom in Chapter 8 of Simple Happiness. It’s called “What is Compassion?” I hadn’t thought of it this way until reading Jim’s book, but compassion is an important component of interpersonal competence. Here’s what Jim has so say…
“Compassion is allowing others to be who they want to be. Compassion is not expecting or demanding that others be who we want them to be. Compassion is not judging the actions of others according to our standards and values. Compassion is cutting others some slack instead of criticizing them. Compassion is not a feeling of superiority. It is the realization and acknowledgement of the dignity that each one of us possesses as a human being. It is a basic understanding that every one of us is doing his or her best figure things out. We are all on our own path through life. Compassion is the conscious decision to send out love to all those who cross our path.
“What a load off our shoulders! We don’t have to get upset when people do things differently than the way we would like them to. It is extremely liberating to allow others to be who they are. When we are compassionate to others, we bring ‘simple happiness’ to ourselves.”
Very cool, right? I really like Jim’s choice of words – compassion is a great word. To me it is much more powerful than words like “sympathy” or “empathy.” It conveys a sense of positive humility, the idea that I am no better than anyone else and therefore, it is important for me to treat everyone else with dignity and respect. I also like Jim’s final point. Compassion for others can help us become more happy in our own lives.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are interpersonally competent. Interpersonally competent people are compassionate people. If you’re truly compassionate, you’ll develop a deep understanding of others as human beings. Compassion can also help you build relationships and resolve conflict positively. Give others some slack, let them be themselves, don’t judge others by your values, avoid feeling superior, respect the dignity of every person, send love out to everyone you meet, and you’ll become known as an interpersonally competent person. It’s only common sense. And common sense is the backbone of Jim Ryan’s book Simple Happiness.
That’s my take on compassion and interpersonal competence. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. As always, thanks for reading.