The most important and highly paid form of intelligence in America is social intelligence, the ability to get along well with other people. A full 85 percent of your success in life is going to be determined by your social skills, by your ability to interact positively and effectively with others and get them to cooperate with you in helping you to achieve your goals.

The down side to this statistic is that the inability to get along with others is the primary reason for failure, frustration and unhappiness in life and work. According to one study, more than 95 percent of men and women let go from their jobs over a ten-year period were fired because of poor social skills rather than the lack of competence or technical ability.

According to psychologist Sydney Jourard, most of your joy in life comes from your happy relationships with other people, and most of your problems come from unhappy relationships with others. Most of our problems in life are relationship problems.

Fortunately, you can become extremely skilled at getting along with others. In this article, you will learn a variety of proven methods to immediately improve your relationships with virtually anyone, under almost any circumstances.

The Law of Indirect Effort

Did you know you can get almost everything in your relationships with others more easily by approaching them indirectly rather than directly? This is called the Law of Indirect Effort.

For example, if you want to impress people, the direct way of going about it is to try to convince them of your admirable qualities and accomplishments. But trying to impress another person by talking about yourself can make you look and feel a little foolish, and sometimes embarrassed.

The indirect way of impressing someone is simply to be impressed by the other person. The more you are impressed by who he or she is, or by what he or she has accomplished, the more likely it is that the other person will be impressed by you.

If you want to get someone interested in you, the direct way is to tell him or her all about yourself. But the indirect way works better: it is simply to become interested in that person. The more interested you become in another person, the more likely it is that he or she will become interested in you.

If you want to be happy, the direct way is to do whatever you can think of that will make you happy. However, the most enjoyable and lasting form of happiness comes from making someone else happy. According to the Law of Indirect Effort, whenever you do or say anything that makes someone else happy, you feel happy yourself. You boost your own spirits and self-esteem.

How do you get another person to respect you? The best way is to respect that person. When you express respect or admiration for another person, he or she feels respect and admiration for you. We also call this the Principle of Reciprocity: whenever you do something good for someone else, the other person will want to reciprocate by doing something good for you. Most of our romances and friendships are based on this principle: you get what you give; what you send out, you get back.

Applying the Law to Your Personality

The most important applications of the Law of Indirect Effort have to do with developing a healthy personality within yourself. Human beings are structured in such a way that everything we do to another person has a reciprocal effect on ourselves. Everything you do to raise the self-esteem of another person raises your own self-esteem at the same time, and in the same measure. Since self-esteem is the hallmark of a healthy personality, you can actually improve the health of your own personality by taking every opportunity to improve the health of the personalities of others. What you sow in the lives of others, you reap in your own life.

Everyone you meet is carrying baggage, and most people are carrying a heavy load. This is most true in the area of self-esteem and self-confidence: most of us grow up with a feeling of inferiority, and we continuously need to be praised and recognized by others throughout our lives. No matter how successful or how elevated people may become, they still need their self-images reinforced.

There is a saying, “I like you because of the way I feel about myself when I am with you.” This expression contains the key to excellent human relations. The happiest men and women are those who make others feel good about themselves in their presence. When you go through life raising the self-esteem of others, opportunities for success will open up before you and people will help you in ways you cannot now imagine.

Practice the Law of Indirect Effort: each time you express a kindness toward another person, your own self-esteem improves. Your own personality becomes more positive and healthy. You impress into your own mind whatever you express toward someone else. As without, so within.

Make Others Feel Important

The key to raising the self-esteem of others, using the Law of Indirect Effort, is simply to make others feel important. Everything you do or say that makes another feel more important boosts your own self-esteem at the same time.

When you go through your day looking for ways to make others feel important, you will be popular and welcome everywhere. You will be healthier and happier and get deeper satisfaction from life than most people do. You will have lower levels of stress and higher levels of energy. Above all, you will genuinely like and respect yourself more, and you will experience greater peace of mind.

BRIAN TRACY is one of the world’s foremost
thought leaders on personal and business success.
He’s the top selling author of over fifty books that have
been translated into dozens of languages. He has written
and produced more than 300 audio and video learning
programs, including the worldwide, bestselling
Psychology of Achievement.