The great philosopher Aristotle once wrote, “Man is by nature a social animal.” And while his statement, at the time, had more to do with the benefits of a civilized society than how the human brain may be wired, decades of research in the neuroscience realm has largely supported his thoughts on the matter. At Neuroscience 2019, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, researchers from around the globe came together to discuss the latest insights into the social brain – and suggest that strong social connections may be facilitated by synchronous brain activity between two or more people.
“Human beings are wired to connect – and we have the most complex and interesting social behavior out of all animals,” said Michael Platt, Ph.D., a biological anthropologist from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine who moderated a press conference on the social brain at the conference. “This social behavior is a critical part of our adaptive toolkit. It allows us to come together and do things that we wouldn’t be able to do on our own. We’re only just beginning to uncover how these mechanisms may operate in real world activities, and the findings are really exciting.”
So, let’s look at the most common relationships one encounters during the course of completing one’s Life Plan. Well typically, whether one has a Life Plan or not, on a personal level, one has parents, spouse, perhaps siblings, children and friends. On a business level, one has co-workers, boss, partners, customers, suppliers etc. If we are wired to be social and connect, then it follows that such a connection needs to be harmonious. Opposite also follows that if such relationships are not harmonious and yet are forced to continue, detrimental effects come into play. Specifically, negative stress begins to develop and continues to build into chronic stress if the strained relationship persists. The human body does not function effectively under chronic stress, in fact it becomes unhealthy, physically and mentally.
Personal Relationships - Parents
Let’s look at some of our closest relationships. Our most influential relationships come from our parents. Our social behaviour is a reflection of that of our parents, by virtue of their teaching, by our observations of their actions and their relationships. One accepts them by osmosis as the social norms and in essence these teachings and observations become imprinted in one’s brain as social norms. Later in life, when one starts to interact with people outside the home, one may start to compare the imprinted social norms to that experienced in the outside world. Social norms tend to change with each generation. Hence, one becomes confused, sometimes rebellious and non conforming to the imprinted norms. We call them “Teenagers!” How this early childhood imprinting establishes the social interaction skills will determine how easy it will be for the child, now adult, to navigate in the sea of people with their own unique social skills. Learning the skills of pliability in one’s own social behaviour is key in any successful interaction with someone.
On a personal level, a spouse is probably the closest and most intimate social interaction between two people. The next closest is probably one’s children. On a business level, your co-workers would be the next most frequent interaction. The end goal when applying a sound social interaction with co-workers is the tasks at hand as a collaborative effort. Either you are trying to work with one or more people or you are trying to task people to do the work for you.
As we said earlier, the three major elements of a life plan are the Financial Wellbeing, from where your dreams are converted to Goals and Objectives; your Spiritual Wellbeing, your plan’s rudder that navigates the plan and, your Relationships which facilitates Life Plan objectives that are not completable on your own.
The Symbiosis of the Major Elements
Spiritual Wellbeing, The Financial Wellbeing and Relationships are in a state of symbiosis and are codependent when things are going well. But how do you know this? The old barometer we talked about in the Spiritual Wellbeing; STRESS. Stress is your indicator of things going well or not.
Your own Spiritual Wellbeing will be your greatest asset in the success of your interactions. You have the power to react in any situation in a manner that will have a successful or unsuccessful outcome.
Relationship – Spouse
For most people the spouse or partner is your closest relationship. Understanding yourself or Self Awareness, is paramount in any interaction but particularly with your closest relationship. Why? You can be on your toe and watch your “ps” and “qs” for a short time with relative strangers, but that facade will not hold up with you spouse for long. So many of the Spiritual Wellbeing elements will have to come into play. Compassion, Tolerance, Integrity will all have to be applied in some measure. The more natural this comes to one the easier it will be to relate effectively over a longer period of time. Secondly, if the spousal relationship is unsatisfactory, negative STRESS kicks in triggering all kinds of unwanted reactions. Irritability, headaches, anger and so on. This makes it more problematic to deal with children, and co-workers who do not know that you have relationship issues at home. If one is contemplating a course of action that is of more risk to the family, like an investment or a new job, having a spousal support is often important. During a period of discourse may make taking that step more stressful for you and effect your self assuredness and self confidence.
Relationship – Children
Children are the most difficult with whom to have a social interaction. They are the most vulnerable, as a group. Due to the imprinting element, getting it wrong will in all likelihood cause scaring for life. They do not understand forgiveness the way an adult can. Unlike an adult, their ability to understand extraneous circumstances is limited if at all. Added to this is an adult is in a position of authority as a parent and that makes a misstep in an interaction even more consequential. Understanding a child’s viewpoint, their environment, the world they live in, the influences they are exposed to are all important to take into account in relating to a child. Sheltering to keep a child “safe” can have negative consequences. Telling a child about safety has moderate success as they are not careless but carefree and tend to forget easily. On the other hand, if they experience something unpleasant, they are more readily not forget and avoid future encounters. Letting them experience harm, physically or emotionally in a controlled setting, where life or limb are not an issue, will in the long run be more protective than sheltering. Remember, imprinting.
Relationship – Co-workers
Satisfactory social interaction among your co-workers or employees is also an important contributing factor in the success of your Life Plan. Let’s take Bob. He is an employee with ambitions of keeping his position and advancing, up the ranks so, getting along with his co-workers is important. Why? First of all, Bob’s boss expects Bob to be productive. Bob’s productivity will suffer when he is under Stress. If Bob does not get along with his co-workers, Bob is under stress. In the event Bob gets promoted, now Bob is the boss and Bob’s peers are now Bob’s employees. Bob needs the support of his employees to maintain the departments level productivity up to expectations. Under the best of circumstances Bob needs to bring his “A” game to get his new employees to get or remain productive. If his relationship with his employees when they were his co-workers was poor, he would already be behind the 8 ball in his desire to motivate his workers. Again, that creates stress making his task even more difficult.
As with his personal social interaction skills he needs to apply similar skills with his business interactions with staff and piers as well as customers and suppliers. Knowing your spiritual wellbeing and any shortcomings therein will help to modify your behaviour or approach to help complete your tasks. Knowing some of the personal characteristics and traits of your business relationships will help you to convince them to assist you in consummate any task at hand.
Relationships – as Business Owner
Business ownership brings with it the potential for huge rewards but rarely is it possible to accomplish any level of success without the help of one’s employees and all stakeholders. Let’s say Bill starts his own company with a brilliantly designed “widget” that he thinks everyone will be clamoring to acquire. This scenario makes a successful inter personal relationships extremely important. Not only do you need to task people to be productive, but to buy into your vision of success. Why? A start up business may be idea rich but cash poor. In the ideal situation that Bill needs to achieve is to have as many employees and stakeholders feel as much passion as Bill does and a commitment to its ultimate success.
This then is the second leg of the three legged stool of the Life Plan.~