THINK LIKE A WINNER!
Communication Skills | Relationship Advice

"OPERATE FROM AN ENLIGHTENED MINDSET"

think: 1. to reason about, ponder, or formulate in the mind. 2. to mentally process information, ideas, or concepts in order to effectively reach sought outcomes and internal desires. 3. as it applies to this book, the first level at which you need to organize in order to achieve everyday communication success and the ultimate goal of establishing and developing outstanding interpersonal relationships.

You're One Step Closer To Unleashing The Winner Within! We all have a natural tendency to treat our daily conversations with a great degree of casualness. One of your main objectives as a master communicator is to take a more serious look at both the positive and negative consequences of the way we interact with others. That way, you can empower yourself with the right kind of thinking that will guide you naturally towards building better personal and professional relationships through smarter and more effective communication habits.

Many of today's top Lexus and Acura luxury car models come factory-equipped with sophisticated voice-activated navigation systems. After prompting the system with a voice command, the input of an address, or in some cases even a telephone number, a driver of one of these vehicles can be guided with precise accuracy throughout most of the United States and major Canadian cities.

This means that you no longer have to be a skilled mapreader in order to arrive at your desired destinations even when you're in unfamiliar cities. With these modern navigation systems, you dramatically reduce the risk of getting lost and wasting precious time during personal trips around your hometown or when on your way to important business appointments.

Whether you're driving a new Lexus or Acura automobile or trying to achieve something of value in your life, it's important to have a reliable guidance system to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. Wandering around aimlessly without direction can be a frustrating and wasteful use of your time and energy in any field of endeavor.

THINKING STEERS YOUR VEHICLE IN LIFE

Things that are produced inside the human brain, such as thoughts, ideas, and information forms, make up our personal mindset. This mindset influences our habits and behaviors, and it's the major determining factor in how our lives turn out.

"Thinking is a soundless dialogue, it is the weaving of patterns, it is a search for meaning. The activity of thought contributes to and shapes all that is specifically human."

Vera John-Steiner Author of Notebooks of the Mind (1985)

Our mindset comes from our references in life. These references are usually formed through our personal experiences, but are also influenced by our role models, peer groups, and media biases, as well as our formal and informal education. But sometimes we unwisely operate from outdated, distorted, or destructive references.
For example, most --- if not all --- of the things that happened to us while we were in elementary school are no longer relevant today. I remember having crooked teeth and a bad haircut in 2nd grade. Some of my obnoxious classmates poked fun at me by nicknaming me "White Fang" after a cartoon puppet that was popular at the time. Their hurtful act caused me to retaliate by calling other people unflattering nicknames as well. This destructive behavior on my part persisted well into my adult life until someone brought to my attention how these unflattering (but hilarious as heck!) nicknames were upsetting other people. Naturally, this was hurting my chances for developing better relationships with the friends and colleagues who I was making fun of behind their backs.

William James, the prominent American philosopher and psychologist (1842-1910) wrote, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." In our own lives, the smart way to achieve goals and desires is to start first by using this insight from James and looking at possible changes in our mental attitudes.

If one of your goals is to establish or improve relationships through better everyday communication, then there are certain ways of thinking that will make this possible. The first step is to get rid of destructive habits like giving people unflattering nicknames! The second step is to install empowering habits that will naturally guide your actions towards building better relationships with others.

PEOPLE ARE YOUR GREATEST ASSET

A good starting place for acquiring the right mindset for communication success is to fully appreciate the value that other people can provide to you in terms of their examples of excellence or warnings of ineffectiveness. If we use our sense of awareness properly, we can emulate all of the effective communication habits that people in our lives have and at the same time avoid doing what doesn't appear to work well for them or others as well.

If you choose to do this, the finest examples of communication excellence can become your role models for more accelerated learning. These role models represent living, breathing 3-dimensional examples of people who can inspire you with real images of what great communication looks, sounds, and feels like in action.

For instance, an enlightened woman may choose to emulate people like actress Angelina Jolie, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Senator Hillary Clinton, comedian/talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, news anchor Katie Couric, and/or actress Julia Roberts as real live role models in the area of effective communication. With increased awareness, a smart woman can pick up a lot of helpful pointers that she can implement into her own manner of interacting with others.

As for men, good male role models for effective communication might include people like late-night talk show hosts Jay Leno and David Letterman, ex-President Bill Clinton, television sports broadcaster Bob Costas, stock market advisor Jim "Mad Money" Cramer, television psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw, Senator Barack Obama, or millionaire tycoon Donald Trump to name a few. These are men who communicate effectively with clarity and passion, conveying messages that impact listeners in a powerful way.

When you realize the gift that other people provide you through their examples of excellence or their warnings of ineffectiveness, you'll begin embracing the opportunity to interact with more anticipation. In the end, it is your burning desire to interact well with a wide variety of people that will become one of your most important assets in accelerating your learning curve relating to mastering your communications and building outstanding relationships that last.

COMMUNICATION RULE #1: OPERATE FROM AN ENLIGHTENED MINDSET

Let's take a look at some constructive ways to think that will help you in your quest for successful everyday communications and improved relationships. Some of these ideas may already be a part of your personal mindset and will serve as a confirmation of wise thinking. But other items here may be something for you to seriously consider adopting into your new enlightened mindset.

If you have the will, then you 'll find a way. This attitude or belief is more than just an old English saying. It's also the driving force behind your success in any new endeavor. We all have things in our lives that we'd like to have, do, or become. But in order to attract or achieve those final outcomes, a person must acquire and maintain the burning desire to attain them. In regards to your desire to achieve everyday communication success and receive all of the benefits that this ability provides, you must really want this to happen for you. If your desire is weak, then you'll probably give up at the first sign of failure. But if you have the iron will to succeed, then you must find a way to make it happen. The bottom line is that it's not your problem to know exactly how to master your communications at any point in the process. The real thing that you need to do is turn up the heat of your desire and hold the belief that if you have the will to succeed, you'll find a way. Know deep within yourself that failure cannot win in the end when it's pitted against absolute persistence.

All relationships present opportunities. We all agree that great relationships with other people have multiple benefits including a chance to share ideas freely during conversations. But even interactions involving those we hardly know or with difficult individuals can be looked at as potential learning experiences. With folks who we encounter superficially in our daily lives, it's a chance to work on developing friendlier habits. And for people who we don't especially like to be around, a conversation is a chance to become a better listener, see things from their point-of-view, or to respond in a more understanding fashion. When you realize that all interactions with people present opportunities to practice your skills and test your character, then you'll be on your way to more rapid improvement in your communications.

People can open unseen doors for you. You never know who might say good things about you and who they could be chatting with during these conversations. If you develop a reputation as a friendly person of great value, then your stock will rise through word-of-mouth. That will result in other people wanting to meet you, becoming friends, and even introducing you to others in their circle of influence. Realize that people will do this naturally without your prior knowledge or conscious efforts.

Some relationships may come back to haunt you . When we treat other people carelessly or unfairly, we can leave them with resentment towards us. And while this may only result in having nothing to do with each other, it also means that you won't likely get any favors from them in the future either. Worse yet, some people may even go out of their way to say bad things about you behind your back and as a result close the door on potential opportunities. My father always told me to be kind to other people when they need you because you never know when the tables may be turned years later and you're the one who needs a favor from that other person. Keep this idea in mind before you feel tempted to say any unkind or unflattering words to someone. It's also important to remember when considering leaving someone out of your life.

One bad exchange can destroy a relationship forever. While it may take a number of conversations to convince another person of your friendship, always remember that it only takes one bad experience to end it. I remember a time when I unwisely accused my older brother of being a liar in front of some of his business colleagues. That embarrassing moment for my brother was enough to ruin our relationship for good. It's been several years since the two of us have had any meaningful interactions. Unfortunately, I learned a painful lesson the hard way by making careless, insensitive remarks in an important situation. I have done a lot of hard work since that time to improve the way I relate to other people.

Build your relationships one conversation at a time. While we may have presumptions about people before we meet them, a relationship is more largely shaped by actual conversations and personal interactions. Or you could overhear a person's conversation with other people and develop your initial impressions from that. But after a series of constructive interactions with another person, you may naturally start to develop rapport in a variety of areas. So you can see that, like a layer of building bricks, a solid relationship can be constructed one piece or enjoyable interaction at a time.

You never know what people will remember. I went to a professional volleyball tournament last month in my hometown of Huntington Beach, California. I had a chance during a break in the action to chat with a famous retired pro player who was conducting a small clinic for spectators wanting to improve their own volleyball technique. After receiving a few pointers on how to hit the ball properly, I thanked the ex-pro player for his time and input. But what I remember most from our interaction was that he didn't reply to me by saying either "You're welcome" or "It was my pleasure." Instead, he simply turned and walked away from me. I know that the ex-pro player wasn't consciously trying to be rude to me, but I still felt a bit slighted in this memorable little incident. While it may not have mattered much to him, my guess is that this former player had no idea that he left that particular negative impression on a spectator like me.

Great relationships are the real pot of gold in life. In our quest for personal achievement, it's always good to stop and remember the importance of quality relationships in the overall scheme of things. Life is nothing but a shallow existence without having other people sharing in the joy of your journey. While unhealthy relationships can create difficult challenges in your life, it shouldn't keep you from realizing that it's the good ones that make living more enjoyable and rewarding. In the end, it's not so much the money you've earned or the awards that you've achieved that matters, it's who you got to share your moments of joy with that really counts.

Most of all, remember that everyday communication has the potential to create big results over time in your life. When you approach each conversation with respect for the other people involved and appreciation for the moment at hand, you'll be taking a major step in the right direction towards successful everyday communication and improved personal and professional relationships.

PREPARE FOR YOUR NEXT CONVERSATION NOW!

Take a moment and look over the eight ideas for improving your communication mindset. From this list, select one item which you've understood clearly and used successfully in a positive way in your own life. In a short paragraph or two, write down a specific incident that you can refer to as an example of how operating from the correct mindset was constructive in developing or improving an important relationship of yours.

Now think of another situation that will likely come up in the next few days where operating from the right mindset will keep you guided towards a successful and more enjoyable interaction with another person. What is the one key reminder that you'll promise to keep in the front of your mind before this next important conversation? Write down the answer to this last question now while it's fresh in your mind and remember to refer to it right before that next important interaction.

The important point to remember here is that the way you think and the beliefs or attitudes that you hold to be true will automatically shape your destiny in life. If you can maintain an empowering mindset throughout your life with ideas like I’ve offered you in this chapter, you will naturally guide yourself in the direction of success and happiness. In the final analysis, it's not the circumstances of your life that matter most but how you evaluate and respond to whatever is happening at any given moment.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Remember that in order to "talk like a winner" in the broadest sense, you must "think like a winner" as well. All you have to do is follow a simple and powerful rule: Operate from an enlightened mindset. Once you appreciate the significance of this essential part of successful communication, it's only a matter of practicing and testing it every day in your own life until it becomes automatic.