The power of the other [4,5,6–9]

[4–9] In sincere relationships, people thrive as they can be their true selves and openly admit weaknesses.

Do you have close friends or relatives with whom you can fully be yourself? People with whom you don’t have to fear letting your guard down?

When you’re with people like this, you show your true self — not the false self you often present to the world.

Your false self is like a mask you wear for protection. It makes you feel stronger, smarter or more confident than you are. We use our false selves to earn respect and guard against people who might ridicule or attack us.

Leaders, in particular, tend to hide their true selves because they’re always in the spotlight. People admire leaders and place their faith in them, so leaders often feel they can never show weakness.

Former President Bill Clinton, for instance, once told former British Prime Minister Tony Blair about the importance of putting on a “face,” or pretending to be strong and optimistic no matter what.

In a corner four relationship — a real connection — you don’t have to pretend.

You feel safe sharing everything you think and feel within your relationship. You and your partner understand and care deeply for each other. Your partner won’t take advantage of you if you show weakness.

Part of the reason leaders are successful is that they are often people who have overcome challenges and sought advice from mentors.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson nearly gave up his dream to found an airline because he was inexperienced and didn’t have enough capital to compete with giants like British Airways. Instead of quitting, however, he reached out to airline veteran Freddie Laker and admitted that he needed help.

With Laker’s help, Branson became a major player in the airline industry. Sometimes confiding in a trustworthy person about a weakness is the most powerful thing you can do.

[5–9] Meaningful, connected relationships energize us and help us thrive in everything we do.

Have you ever walked into a party, class or meeting and immediately felt good? Sometimes a space exudes positive energy, even if you can’t put your finger on the reason why.

This feel-good energy is generated from corner four relationships.

Real connections give you many kinds of energy. You might feel joy and excitement, and be extra-motivated, when you’re part of a positive team or on a good date — exactly the energy you feel when you first enter that room — but there’s something else, too: intellectual stimulation.

Intellectual stimulation comes in many forms. Maybe you and your friends like to speculate about the origins of the universe, learn new skills together or explore new places.

The author discovered the importance of intellectual stimulation when he became depressed after a golf injury. He recovered thanks to two loving people: a fraternity brother and the fraternity brother’s sister.

They fueled his intellect by giving him books, improving his diet, increasing his physical energy and offering emotional, loving care. It is these real, energized connections that we need to succeed.

Think back to that room filled with positive energy. In any successful organization, there are many such rooms. Great leaders take care of employees by encouraging and challenging them to be their best.

Positive communities are also helpful when you’re facing a personal challenge, such as overcoming an addiction.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers are successful because these organizations provide people with a space to meet, connect and cheer each other along the road to success.

[6–9] A person with whom you’re well-connected will offer you freedom and valuable feedback.

A person who respects you won’t necessarily solve your problems for you. In fact, the opposite is usually true.

Let’s look at the reasons why.

A corner four relationship offers you freedom, but it comes with responsibility, too. When people are healthy and well-connected, they respect each other’s autonomy and intelligence. They don’t fight for control; both partners are free to make both positive choices and mistakes.

And when a person respects your autonomy, that person doesn’t barge in to solve problems for you. They trust you to handle the problems yourself, which means you need to step up and do so!

Former US National Security Advisor Colin Powell once was briefing then President Ronald Reagan on global hotspots, looking for advice from the president. While Powell talked on, Reagan suddenly said, “Hey look, they’re eating them!”

The fact was that Reagan wasn’t paying attention to Powell at all. He was instead watching squirrels eating nuts in the Rose Garden.

His interruption sent a clear message to Powell, however. It was as if he said, “It’s your problem, and I trust you to solve it on your own.”

Powell had freedom in his relationship with Reagan, which meant he also had a lot of responsibility.

A person with whom you share a real connection might not solve your problems, but they’ll give you valuable feedback. These people want to see you do well, so they’ll give you extra attention.

If you’re a writer, a friend might read your new manuscript closely. That friend then will offer specific feedback — detailed enough for you to act on so that you can improve your work.

The feedback that helps you solve problems yourself is always more valuable in the long run.

Source: Blinkist app