Relationships and interactions bewtween people are core to our existance and they define so much of how we will experience this world. How much have you thought about what is the best way to create meaningful relationships with the people around you? Has individualism helped us be more efficient and productive as collective species or are we missing a key aspect to all of this ? to transform and be transformed.
I believe there are two kinds of relationships, the transactional relationships and the transformational relationships. One is out of necessity and the other is out of desire. One has a clear demand and request with an expectation of return and the other is open-ended with no expectation other than to give. One of the key catalyzers to my personal growth and development has been to limit my transactional relationships and add depth and breath to my transformational relationships.
Transactional relationships are by nature optimized around getting the most you possibly can in exchange for as little as possible on your part. They are all about you and what you can get, and not about what you can give. Although some of these transactional relationships are necessary, the relationships with people, even if the core objective is transactional, can and should be more transformational in nature. The current school of thought is that you should optimize for your self interest transactions and in such we have all optimized for our self interest objectives, and that is the most perfect state of operating such diverse species. I would argue that we are stronger as collective species if we optimize to advance each other?s goal and that would in fact lead to a much more productive and fuller life.
Of course all of this is relatively easy to say and think about but much harder to act and execute on. So how can we cultivate more transformational relationships and move away from the culture of ?transactions??
No Expectations: The most obvious characteristic of a transactional relationship is expectations. When you enter a relationship already having set your goals and agenda to recieve something in return you will unconsciously strategize and act differently than if you had no expectations what so ever. Expectations are different than clarity. It?s important to have clarity on where, how, and what of any relationship, but expectations kill depth and only add breath. Enter any relationship with only one expectation: to be present, to give when you can, and to receive with appreciation if you are given. This will immediately elevate the nature of the relationship and sets the tune for what has yet to come.
Be Real: Being real is of course very subjective. There is no good definition of real. I can?t tell you what being real actually means. But when you see someone that is ?present? and ?true? you can immediately feel it. Maybe because we are so used to seeing everyone a certain way that any difference and deviation from that norm feels refreshing. But being real and true will have unparallal consequences to the relationships that you make. This will create a natural form of trust that can be used as stepping stones of building meaningful connections.
Create Protections: When we feel protected we are much more willing to share and fail. Sharing and being comfortable to ?be real? requires feeling protected. Transactional relationships are full of rejections which ultimately forces the parties to not take risks, don?t share, and pander the connection. Creating a protective environment will make you invaluable in the relationships as that level of trust allows others to go big in their lives. What a gift you have given them and what a gift they have given you.
Get Uncomfortble : It?s hard to connect if you don?t make them uncomfortable. Ask uncomfortable questions that are geniune and makes people think, and makes you truly learn. Asking uncomfortable questions that can?t be discussed in a non-protected and transactional environment is the first step in the process of creating that safe and protected environment. When you spend time on learning what might be considered a taboo or uncomfortable topic you have created the core fabrics of a new bond.
Transformational relationships should transform you even though by nature you are not meant to be the primary focus. They should change you, make you better, create a bigger pie, create more love, more meaning, and hopefully a better world. Limit your transactional relationships and move to a new state of mind, you would be happier, and have more influence and control over what happens around you.
And at the end, I would leave you with these questions:
How many of your relationships are transformational?
How transformed are you by those relationships?
How transformed would the world be?
And what are you waiting for?