Have time to build your people skills? No, you say? Too busy, don’t see the need? Here’s why I’m certain you’re mistaken and paying heavily for it every day, based on much research and experience, my own but mostly many others’:
1) You’re human, so you’re not perfect, by definition. Psych folks have a small dictionary of clinical terms for those who disagree on this point, from”grandiose” to “delusional” and so on. Until you’re perfect – never gonna happen! – there remain profitable self-improvements to work on.
2) Simply playing the odds a bit, I guess you’re not completely satisfied with your job, your wealth, your life, or yourself. Are you? Be honest, no one’s watching. And you’re rather busy, right? Me too on all counts! Welcome to the club: it’s the modern human condition.
3) Again playing the odds, I guess you’re neither so complacent nor so delusional as to think everything in your life is perfect. That obviously sounds like bad news, and it sure feels that way sometimes, but it can also be good news, very good news indeed, if you know to play your cards right. Turns out, the worse things are for you today, the easier it is to find possible ways to make it better: more targets! The only question for you on this one? It’s really rather crucial and will shape your entire future. Ready?
4) Here it is, folks: Will you ignore the above facts that life offers you, or will act on them? You have all the power on this issue, all the responsibility, and you will have to live with the results, inevitable as death and gravity. No detour available on this road.
5) In the great game of life, YOUR life – you only get one – wouldn’t you rather win than lose? What are you DOING about it? It may all sound pretty trite and obvious, but unless you’re acting on it, living it, then you haven’t really learned a thing about it yet. You’re wasting away the short time you have left, throwing a bounty away every passing day.
6) Ironically, even from a completely selfish perspective, which I’ve learned to speak to as it’s a rather common thread in the human cloth, even then one STILL has every reason to learn and practice sound people skills. A large Harvard study, for instance, found that patients’ like/dislike for a physician exerted a stronger effect on the odds of malpractice litigation than did presence/absence of any real malpractice deserving litigation. When it comes to legal liability, being a nice doc is more important than being competent! (I’ve met some docs over the years who, sadly, took this point to the bank, relying far more on niceness than competence or ethics. I strongly disapprove, yet they did inspire me to build those people skills. You can learn something valuable from anyone, it’s been truly said, even from really bad apples.)
7) People skills: extraordinary, powerful stuff, pointing to painless & often easy ways to improve as a clinician, AND as human being AND in terms of wealth. Yet folks still “don’t have time for that soft stuff”! No time to save tons of cash, your reputation, your happiness, and your soul? Really? What ever happened to evidence-based practice?
8) As always since the beginning of time, some folks will learn and thrive. Most will muddle along on instinct and luck, and their lives won’t improve. They will usually get worse: bitterness, failure, shorter and less healthy lives, lots of time & money spent with attorneys, etc., etc. So it goes. I have no illusions, but people are worth my effort.
9) You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t give it a clue – unless it agrees! I’m not calling anyone a horse, just turning a hopefully witty phrase, but my point is sound, because far wiser folks that me came up with it. Many hear the news and it bounces off; a few run with it and earn priceless rewards. Which are you?
10) Keep on plugging and growing, my friends: you’re worth it. And share with others, myself included. Everyone – everyone! – has something to offer. Most keep it to themselves for one reason or another. What will you do? No decisions you ever make will have as high stakes as the ones we’ve just pondering: act accordingly, please.