If we take a look at the 5 principles of health; nutrition & exercise are the obvious ones that most of us would expect to see. Once we read more about sleep & mindset, it makes sense, but relationships is the principle that most people are surprised or confused about, because it’s the one that is least spoken about. In our original post about The 5 Principles of Health, we said that all 5 principles are interconnected. Just because relationships is spoken about the least, doesn’t make it any less important than the other principles.
“If you look at centenarians, the people that live the longest and are disease free, and who are also the happiest … the number one correlate to that is the connection that they have with other people. It’s not the number of connections … it’s how deep and meaningful are those connections?” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:03:07)
Below are 10 principles that we believe will help us to form deeper and more meaningful connections:
1. Take responsibility & give credit: “Don’t point fingers, pull thumbs.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:04:22) If we don’t have to be the centre of attention when things are going well, and if we pull thumbs and take responsibility when things are not going well, it’s going to help us connect better with others.
2. Recognise that small things are big things: Small things compounded over time equal big things, therefore every little thing that we do, matters. Imagine receiving a call from a friend who you just spent the evening with to check if you got home safely. It may seem small, but that gesture shows that they care. Similarly, body language says a lot. Imagine we’re having a conversation with somebody and they’re not making eye contact, or their hand is on their mobile phone and they’re continuously glancing down at their screen. At the time, in the micro, those small things might not shift the relationship. However, those small things over time, in the macro, will negatively affect the relationship.
3. Seek to understand: “To me, seeking to understand is about empathy … I think sympathy drives people away from each other, I think it creates greater divides, I think it’s the enemy of connection … Brene Brown (2) has a great analogy that explains the difference between sympathy and empathy. Imagine someone falls to the bottom of a well. Sympathy is looking over the edge of the well and going, “That sucks, I’m really sorry you’re at the bottom of that well, I’ll come back and check tomorrow.” Empathy is, “I’m crawling down [into] the well with you.” I get down here and go, “It is scary down here, let’s try and figure out a way to get out of this together.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:06:26) Sympathy acknowledges the emotion, whereas empathy seeks to understand the emotion.
4. Resist the urge to judge & criticise: “You’re never going to get anywhere with anybody by pointing out their flaws … Positive reinforcement is more impactful and more meaningful for behavioural change than negative.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:08:32) We all have our moments, and we might be catching someone at their worst moment. Judging or criticising them would be easy, but that is not how we form better connections with people.
5. Make them feel important: “If you’ve ever [gone] away from a conversation and thought to yourself, “Wow, that person was a great conversationalist,” they probably just made you feel really important, and that’s when people feel really good about themselves.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:10:40) Imagine everyone has a sign around their neck that says, “Make me feel important.” If we have the power to do that for someone else or a group of people, we should do it. It costs us nothing.
6. Never break promises, gossip, or one-up: Imagine we have an emotional bank account. If we want to have a surplus, we need to make more ‘withdrawals’ than ‘deposits’. ‘Deposits’ are these 10 principles. ‘Withdrawals’ are things like breaking promises, talking behind people’s backs, gossiping, trying to one-up someone. It’s really simple, make more deposits than withdrawals.
7. Ask interesting questions: “What aren’t interesting questions? [They] are close-ended questions that can be answered with yes or no … or really quick [questions that can be answered with one word]. (Bergeron, 2019, 00:14:49) “Was your workout good today?” is not as interesting a question as, “What did you do in your workout today?” The words “how” and “what” are generally good for asking interesting questions. “Why” can also be used, but it can sometimes come across as challenging in certain contexts, so be mindful of this.
8. Listen completely & sincerely: “It’s basically doing the opposite of what most people are doing when they’re in a conversation, which is waiting for their turn to talk. They’re formulating their response, and essentially what you’re doing is not having a conversation … you’re in [a] debate and there’s no connection that happens in a debate … Instead, when the other person is talking, allow yourself the freedom, allow yourself the moment of not having a response.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:17:00) Once the other person has stopped talking, take time to digest what they’ve said, formulate your response, and then speak it out. The main point we’re trying to drive home here is to actively listen to what the other person is saying.
9. Compliment without hesitation: “If you have something nice to say to somebody, and you don’t say it, it’s like buying a present, wrapping it, and not giving it to them. The idea behind that is that nothing is going to make people feel better, you’re not going to get any more connection than by making people feel good and feel appreciated. (Bergeron, 2019, 00:19:06) What is key to this principle, as well as all the others, is that is has to be authentic.
10. Lead with tough love & kind truths: “When people give you the truth … and you know it’s the truth, that lets them know that you can be trusted … Leaders and people that you connect with tell you the truth.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:20:17) By “Lead with” we don’t mean this is how you should start conversations. We mean be a leader, be a role model who embodies these characteristics. Simply put, the more honest you are with people, the greater level of trust you will have, and subsequently the deeper and more meaningful your connections will be.
In our pursuit for optimal health, we know that taking intentional action toward instilling these 10 principles will undoubtedly help us to form deeper and more meaningful connections.
We hope you found this information valuable. If you’re looking for a professional coach to help you on your health & fitness journey, please do contact us
1. 10 Principles of Connection (2019) YouTube Video, added by Ben Bergeron [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AQCIJ_YVxk [Accessed: 23 December 2019].
2. Brene Brown. https://brenebrown.com/