We are All Products of Influence – Discover the Riches in meaningful Relationships
I want to share with you an encounter I had with a very successful old man in his early seventies. He is happily married, a father and grandfather with a successful career as a trainer on communication for change with many reputable non-governmental organization and various organs of the United Nations.
In my custom of observing and asking questions when I’m with wise elders, I asked him, “Sir, what would you do differently if you were to start your life all over again.” He sighed deeply and responded, “You have asked a very hard question….but to tell you the most important of all, I will take my relationships more seriously.” He continued, “There are some people I met in my life who saw my potential and gave me access to their wealth of wisdom and connection as a young man, obviously willing to help develop me. I did not use the opportunities and that is the sad story. I allowed them to slip through my fingers.”
In what I would like to call lessons from failure, he continued “As a young man, I was very charismatic and eager to give expression to my difference and this audacious attitude drew me to the bad, the good and the ugly. I did not have the wisdom as a young man to sieve out the bad from the ugly and the good. I had superiority complex……It robbed me of the need to embrace interdependence as a gift of nature, a vehicle to help us achieve our God-ordained destiny….”
The old man concludes, “Though it is a painful discovery which cost me a lot, I have no regrets, I only have lessons. My unalloyed commitment is to communicate these lessons first to my children which I faithfully take time to do and any other wise man or woman who ask me as you have done today. My dear friend, I believe relationship is power.”
Hmmn! I have always had this thought or philosophy but I didn’t grasp its full import until my conversation with this old man and it is this – No man is self made, we are all products of influences. It is wise to understand that relationships are important to our advancement.
I think the number one business any man should be involved in is people business. It is an investment whose dividends are priceless and invaluable. It sad our world today doesn’t recognize clearly its importance in stamping our influence on the sands of time.
Accomplishments, no matter how great, are not a factor in defining meaning and fulfillment. Let me say this – if you are not in the people business, you are not in any business and you cannot give expression to the best of your potential. I’m not referring here to parasitic or careless relationships. I’m not talking about relationships of individuals who are not comfortable in their own skin or in being alone and are always seeking the validation of others in the name of relationships.
The relationships I’m talking about are those carefully cultivated in pursuit of one’s destiny. Relationships of this nature are cultivated in 3 critical categories
Relationships with people you look up to.
This may include your parents, your mentors, teachers and all. You must learn to respect, submit and reason with them, not argue with them. These people have the knowledge, experience, professionalism and spirituality to guide and to pace you. More importantly, you are able to access them and if you can’t, pursue it
These include friends and colleagues at work. You usually get support from them through mutual respect and humility but you can’t lord things over them. You are called to support one another
Those who look up to you.
These include your children, immediate family members, younger minds and younger voices in society and protégés. You enjoy this uncommon blessing by providing direction through your lifestyle and principles. You cannot afford to let them down because that is like letting many generations down.
This is the truth – some people are so poor all they have is money. The greatest poverty in life is to lack meaningful relationships. The greatest bankruptcy a man will not quickly recover from is when there is no deposit in his or her relationship banks to draw from in critical times of destiny.