2020 has been a tough year- owing to the pandemic that led to shelter in place, grieving the loss of life, and the all-time high collective tension. The world around us has changed incredibly rapidly, needing the companies to chart new courses and evolve.
At the work front, this need for rapid change opens up the door for conflicting opinions and strong viewpoints about the best way to move forward. Teams may experience friction; founders may find themselves at odds amidst the prevailing general tension.
The day-to-day conversations in our personal lives can feel like navigating a minefield as we dodge the divisive topics and disagreements. We can either make a conscious choice to grith through with as little friction as possible or learn to leverage these opportunities to deepen our understanding of the world, starting with ourselves.
The key to these challenges starts with the right mindset to understand the limiting beliefs that are pulling us down. So, let us now discuss how to deal with the top three self-limiting beliefs that are harming our life, relationships, and prosperity.
1. Conflict is damaging relationships:
Often, most of us have been socialized to avoid conflict and told to play nice, help others, and be positive. Being agreeable happens to be one of the ‘Big Five Personalities’ that psychologists have found to determine success and prosperity in a person’s life. Further, we are conditioned from childhood to avoid discomfort. As a result, most of us grow up to be optimistic people-pleasers who bury the painful truths under the disguise of artificial harmony.
As per Dr. John Gottman, a marriage expert, unhappy couples wait an average of six years before seeking help. That’s more than 2,000 days of resentment amassing before they start the important work of learning to resolve their differences effectively. So, what’s the hurdle in this? Perhaps, it’s the fear brought in by these conversations that can devolve into aggressive encounters which hurt the feelings while bringing in no results. Moreover, the forms of violent communications happening today, where mean-spirited attacks are used to shame, coerce, inhibit, and deny the needs and freedom of others, are not productive.
Healthy conflict includes acknowledging the brutal truths and facts, hard feelings, and a willingness to put them on the table. It also involves the skill to keep up with dialogue instead of debate, where everyone can speak up and be heard. A conflict is a useful part of life that’s a required catalyst to bring a transformative change. The first and critical step to facilitate a healthy conflict is to establish a common language to understand and communicate well with others. Also, there are predictable patterns and differences in how people perceive and approach each other. Some people will appear to speak your language, while others will be foreign to your motivations and instincts. These differences can be quite easily misread, leading to misunderstandings, which can degenerate into violent communication.
2. We get along with people we like:
It is easier for us to like someone with whom we find a common ground as we get drawn to people who share our interests, beliefs, and personal style. However, allowing these instincts to dictate our relationships will limit our life and prosperity. That’s because we cut off the potential growth by shrinking our world.
A change in our mindset is needed to take our judgment off auto-pilot. To achieve that, you should start by being curious about everything, especially people who are different from you. Practice suspending your judgment towards others. Instead, switch your mind to discovery mode by approaching every person as a new and interesting book to read. Dig in to understand where these people come from, what are their fears, and why they hold their beliefs. All this will need a conscious effort that is essential to build respect and genuine connection so that learning can begin.
3. I can’t help you if you don’t help me:
Our conventional wisdom may guide us to protect our self-interest. But in today’s competitive workplace and contentious political environment, we are becoming more suspicious about other people’s intentions. Also, we are becoming more protective of what information we are sharing with other people.
American Psychologist and Author, Adam Grant mentions of people in his book ‘Give and Take’ that’s based on reciprocity that there are three distinct types. They include the givers, takers, and matchers. Every time we interact with another person, we have to choose from either trying to claim as much value as we can or contribute value without worrying about what we get in return. Givers tend to offer more than they receive, regularly helping others meet their needs and requirements without any hidden agenda. Takers tend to be self-focused; they evaluate what other people can do for them while the matchers give proportionately to what they can receive in return.
In his studies, Grant concludes that of all the three styles, it is the givers who succeed the most. That’s because givers have empathy as they start with listening, and it costs them nothing to make time to understand another person.
These are many ways to help you build a foundation for healthy relationships with others by dealing with your self-limiting beliefs that affect your life. You can find a framework that works for you and see how a curious mindset combined with these simple tools can help you limit the harm to your life, relationships, and prosperity.