It was 1986, and I had just started my first big executive job at an international food company. As a young manager, I was seeking guidance on what it took to be a great leader, a successful manager and a great person.
One day, I was sitting in my boss’s office and my eyes happened to notice an unusual poster hanging on the wall. The title caught my attention: “A Short Course in Human Relations”. Here’s what the poster read:
A Short Course in Human Relations
The 6 most important words:
“I admit I made a mistake.”
The 5 most important words:
“You did a great job!”
The 4 most important words:
“What do you think?”
The 3 most important words:
“If you please …”
The 2 most important words:
The 1 most important word:
The 1 least important word:
Staring at the poster for many minutes, noticing how the word “you” appears by positive and kind traits, and the word “I” is associated with negative behavior, the intense concentration was suddenly broken by the sound of my boss’s voice. “That’s not the entire course, you know.” “Really?”, I said. “What do you mean?”
“Well, there is one more: The seven most important words— don’t know, but I’ll find out. Understanding what you don’t know and admitting it is just as essential as the rest of the character parts of a good person. “This is the complete short course in human relations”, he said.
I quickly wrote the “complete” short course down on my notepad and read it over and over again. The words sang to me and were slowly absorbed inside. The essence of this short course—the keys to being a selfless, human, caring, kind, giving, respectful, trustworthy, humble and effective leader, manager and person.
Throughout life’s journey, these lessons have never been forgotten—because of their utter simplicity, directness and total truth. Only 29 words, but one of the best human behavior lessons I ever got.
In a world of too much self-absorption and self-centeredness, people often think they are the center of the universe. They become so wrapped up in their own world and issues of mundane life, that people tend to forget about others and their struggles. The little words “me” or “I” become very important and too little attention is given to “you.” People are certain that somehow everything revolves or should revolve around themselves.
One of the ways to overcome this is by strengthening our faith, our connection with our Heavenly Father. By increasing this bond, we acquire valuable traits of goodness, care, respect, sensitivity and love to others. Life suddenly becomes more meaningful and joyful. There is nothing more miserable than living only for yourself lacking empathy and less concern for the unfortunate. We need to switch our focus from what we want, to what the Almighty wants from us. We need to think less about “me” and more about “you,” thus allowing to fill the world with plenty, unity and peace.