A few days ago I wrote about how “life comes down to the relationships you keep” and how relationships are simply an exchange of value. If the exchange of value is positive, the relationship will be healthy, allowing it to grow. With this in mind I went on to say that being able to understand someone’s perception of value will be critical in your ability to develop relationships- be it for business, friendship or pleasure.
The response I received was tremendous:
Chris wrote: “Great article Cam. This value-exchange you talk about is ground breaking for me. Seems so obvious, now and I’m excited that I have an entirely new avenue to explore here. Thx!”
“i found it fascinating”
Gerald wrote: “Love it Cam! I was thinking a little about this today while going over some of cliffs archives. Your writing is really awesome and definitely helping us guys out! Thanks!”
Anyways, enough about how awesome I am. The story I used to relate the concept involved a security guard in my condo building and how I had concerns that (due to a 3rd parties influence) the exchange of value between the two of us might begin to build negative momentum. Fortunately as I said in the post, this didn’t happen to be the case and for that I am glad. I like my relationships to be as healthy as can be.
Unfortunately I also felt like I could use a better reference to describe this concept, that relates more to your every day life.
First let me say
Everyone has a different perception of value. This is not up to you to decide whether it’s right or wrong. It is what it is.
(In the coming weeks I will begin to talk about value on a deeper level; what the different types are, and the criteria YOU should be using to guide your individual perception, but for today just understand everyone has a unique perception, and to be effective you need to play within the means they are playing.)
(This in no way means you should live your life the way someone else does, merely that the value you bring someone needs to be in a way they perceive as valuable – whether right or wrong – because it’s their perception, and not yours. If you disagree with how they perceive value, then maybe having some type of relationship with them is not what you should do. This post assumes you want to have a relationship with them. Remember, Social Dynamics is not about having a relationship with everyone; it’s about having a relationship with anyone. Now you need to pick and choose wisely.)
So why is it important to understand someone’s perception of value? Well how shitty would it be if you are trying to connect and have a healthy relationship with someone, but because you don’t understand how they perceive value, you end up trying to bring them value in a way that actually hurts the relationship, even though you have had nothing but the best intentions in mind, and were only looking to connect. That’s why it’s important.
I’ve been there, and it’s incredibly frustrating when your putting effort into something but it isn’t working out. (Not only that, but this type of situation is very easy to blame on somebody else, instead of being able to see where you fucked up.)
Ok, enough on the technical side let me share a simple example for you to understand:
My Relationship with my Mother
My Mom loves to talk. She is very social. She desires that interaction. So if I understand my moms perception of value (socializing), then I can easily use Social Dynamics to develop a better relationship with her. One way I could do this is by giving her a call here and there just to talk. I can spend 5, 10, 15 minutes on the phone and just ask her how things are going. Or I could make it a point to go for lunch with her, to spend time together. She perceives this as value.
But there’s a catch: I need to make sure I’m taking my own perception of value into consideration, because if by giving her value I end up taking value from myself, this relationship will not be healthy. So what do I perceive as value? My time. I’m a very busy guy (by choice), so my time is limited. Due to this I cut out conversations like the one I described above, simply because I value my time more then I value simple conversations on the phone. So how could I make this work? By multi-tasking. I could give her a call while driving to a friend’s house, or while walking to Starbucks. Now I maximize the use of my time, while also bringing value to my Mom in a way that she perceives as valuable. Anddddd the relationship blossoms. It’s no coincidence that as you improve in Social Dynamics, your relationship with your parents does also.
Now what would happen if I used the same strategy with my brother, calling him here and there for 5-10 minutes to talk? This depends on my brother’s perception of value. He enjoys playing video games, spends a great deal of time on the computer, and enjoys socializing. But I also know he doesn’t particularly enjoy talking on the phone. So say I didn’t understand my brother’s perception of value, and gave him a call to talk, with the only intention of this phone-call being to build our relationship and bring value to him… what would happen?
It would actually hurt our relationship. My brother doesn’t perceive talking on the phone about our lives as value. So even though my only intention is to connect and build our relationship, due to his perception of value, calling him ends up actually taking value from him, and thus, builds negative momentum within our relationship.
How shitty is that?
Instead, I could have the exact same approach but instead of using the phone I could hit him up on Facebook. We could still have a conversation about what’s going on in our lives, but within a means that he perceives as value. I have now created that win-win scenario, everybody is happy.
You need to avoid settling into one approach, one way of thinking. If one way isn’t working, be creative and try a different route. Take the time to think about the other person and what they perceive as value, and try a way that includes that. I bet you will be blown away at the results.
Hopefully this post has helped hammer this concept home, and is a bit easier to understand and relate to then the one about the security guard. When you can understand someone’s perception of value, you have the ability to connect with him or her. Remember, to connect means to be in-sync, to be on the same page. It is only when you are on the same page that you can grow together.
If you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Facebook or comment below. Here to help.