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Monday, February 21, 2011

The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour

A few weeks back after I wrote on “When people do not respond the way that you want them to”, I got a lot of feedback. It seems that such interactions were familiar to a number of us as we interact with others on a daily basis.

Following on from that discussion is learning to identify the personal attributes of others that warrant our love and attention – the core personality traits that we all covet but perhaps far fewer achieve – generosity, loyalty, honesty, kindness, thoughtfulness, humour and hope among others, as opposed to the less attractive qualities of insincerity, dishonesty, selfishness, self absorption, unreliability, aggressiveness and intolerance. Of course at different times, on any given day we can all possess these qualities BUT it is their ongoing presence that tends to pose an issue in our regular interactions.

One thing to consider if you find yourself in a rather toxic interaction is that when it really comes down to it, the people involved will often demonstrate their undesirable traits early in the interaction. Deeply entrenched personality characteristics, will often be noticeable at some level in both personal and professional interactions. The trick for most of us to be observant to these traits, and make a conscious decision early on, before we let new people into our inner sanctum, as to the level at which we want these people to be involved in our lives. When it comes to interactions we cannot avoid, at work for example, isolating the undesirable characteristic if the person in question will help manage your response to it., again potentially limiting the contact you have with these people.

If you time and time again find yourself in less than ideal relationships, it may be time to ask yourself how good your people radar is and who are the types of people you want to spend your time with? If it is kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity you claim to prefer, perhaps it is time to start seeking it and ridding yourself of the traits dragging you down, especially in our precious, personal down time.