You might think financially successful people would rank superior intelligence as a key for others to succeed likewise. It did show up on the list—but #21 on the list. Far below the top five.
What did show up—actually #3—in that list of 733 first generation millionaires polled was social skills. More specifically, the ability to get along with other people.
There Is No Success Without The Help Of Others
I once read of another survey that had been conducted among engineers. Those who had achieved positions in the upper levels of corporate business leadership were not the most brilliant engineers; they were the ones who got along with people the best.
John D. Rockefeller—the world’s first billionaire and perhaps our nation’s greatest businessman—once said that he would pay more for a person with the ability to get along with others than any other skill.
Andrew Carnegie—the great steel industrialist—said the same thing.
A former pastor of mine used to jokingly say that ministry would be wonderful—if it weren’t for people! Jerry Seinfeld says, “People—they’re the worst!”
But ministry IS people. LIFE is people!
No person is an island to themselves.
To get where you want to be in life will ultimately require the help of someone else.
In The Millionaire Mind, author Thomas Stanley uses Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama as an example. The first thing Coach Bryant would do when scholarship athletes would arrive on campus was to ask them, “Have you called your folks yet to thank them?” After receiving looks of shock and disbelief, he would follow up with, “No one ever got to this level without the help of others. Call your folks. Thank them.”
That’s good advice for all of us. If it’s been a while, place that call today.
Very seldom will anyone attain any success at all without the help of other people. Today we often talk about the importance of networking. Essentially it’s starts with knowing how to get along with other people.
What The Bible Says
There are so many Bible passages dealing with interpersonal skills and their importance. It is the essence of loving your neighbor as yourself; of “doing all to remain at peace with all men”.
But the key verse comes from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount.
Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
Notice, Jesus said all of the Old Testament law and the writings of the prophets boil down to this fundamental of interpersonal relationships—what we refer to as The Golden Rule.
It simply says to treat others the way you want to be treated.
What is essential to note is that He doesn’t say “the way others treat you.” If that were the case, the human race would have self-destructed by now!
We are to treat others they way WE would LIKE to be treated, whether or not we ever are.
That’s the difference between acting responsibly and retaliating. One is a response based on your values; the other is a reaction based on what others do.
It begins with things like basic courtesy, giving the benefit of the doubt, listening more, looking at a person when they’re talking; etc.
The bottom line of the Golden Rule is being others-minded—responding to others and their needs as if you were them. That shows tremendous maturity.
There’s No Place Like Home
Getting along with people is best learned in the home.
It starts with little things like never allowing fighting between siblings. Never allow conflict to go unresolved. We respect one another, get along, apologize, and forgive.
This isn’t to just make things less stressed around the house. It’s to set your kids up with one of the most important life skills. If we can’t get along with people, we won’t succeed—no matter how smart or gifted.
Question: How do you train your child in the art of getting along with others? Share your answer in the comments below.