d. Electronic relationships
A few years ago this would be something that few people would know much about. Today many relationships are based solely around electronic communications. Twenty years ago Facebook did not exist now there are 500 million people who use it. It is now seen as a way of way of building relationships with customers or even finding a marriage partner. Email has become an essential means of communicating within a business. There are even TV channels that foster a sense of community by encouraging people to email them.
The problem with electronic relationships is that they can become a substitute for face to face ones. It is easier to hide behind a mask in an electronic relationship. So easy that some people hide behind false identities online to attract others into activities that could harm them. This is why there is so much concern about teaching children guidelines that will help keep them safe. This includes things like not giving personal details unnecessarily and arranging to meet people in a public place until you are sure of them.
Some people say that Facebook is where people who lack the confidence to develop relationships in the everyday world can develop relationships. Other people use Facebook, Twitter etc. it to develop a relationship with people who otherwise would be out of reach such as public figures. Some use it as a form of escapism into a world where others accept them.
The same problems of developing healthy relationships can arise with social media like Facebook. There are reports of people being bullied or harassed using social media. People have said things that they have later regretted after their employer has discovered their comments leading to them losing their job.
Electronic communication often depends on writing which means that nuances of voice tone or even use of body language cannot be used to support our understanding of the message. It can also involve cultural or geographical differences. During the run up to Y2K I read that stored food needed to be kept cool. That seemed strange to me until I realised that the climate that the writer was familiar with was very different to what I experienced. So far different that their winter temperatures were on a par with our summer temperatures and a very cool summer day for them was like the hottest day I was likely to experience. It took some time for this difference to be recognised as both parties assumed that the climate the other lived in was the same as they did. In other words there is more scope for misunderstandings to arise.
e. Find people you can learn from
Earlier it was mentioned that it was a good idea to cultivate relationships with people whose good behaviour and attitudes can rub off on us. These are often peers but there are other ways that you can learn from people.
You can seek after mentoring relationships. Mentors are people who have travelled a route before we did and that we can walk along with and learn from as we go. The idea is that as we have experience of falling into particular traps that they can help us avoid them or if we do fall into them help us climb out of them.
There are also coaching relationships. This is where people help us overcome the resistance that is preventing us going forwards. They help us review the plans that we have made and compare our actual achievements to what we say that we want to achieve. This then leads to finding ways of achieving more than we have done already.
Another way of learning from others is to look for some role models. These are people who we read about and admire from a distance. They might still be alive or they might be figures of history. They are people who you can emulate. People whose example we can copy. They are the ones who when others say that someone like you cannot achieve this that you can point to and say they did this so why can’t I. For anyone looking at developing a business people like Anita Rodderick or Richard Branson could be good role models. For anyone wanting to improve their ability to invest money wisely Warren Buffet or Donald Trump could be good choices.
When we look around, we may find people who would make a good role model who are not very well known. Part of the story behind the name Lily the Pink was the discovery that there was a real lady who developed Lily the Pink’s Vegetable Compound. I had never heard of Lydia Pinkham before. She used what she had to hand to create a product that helped others. She then developed her business skills until she became one of the first American ladies to become a successful business woman in her own right.
When you find a suitable role model you need to do some research on what they did and how they did it. Read their biographies. Look at what they achieved. We need to find out all we can about them and learn from them. We may find that they made mistakes that caused them problems that we can avoid. Alternatively, we could find out what were the things that brought them success whether these are attitudes or actions. Some people like Benjamin Franklin developed systems that we can adapt for our own purposes. He is known for his system of planning and self-improvement that are still copied and used over 220 years after he died.