What writes the best stories? In a word: life. Life most certainly creates and writes the best conversations and the best stories. In this KEY I bring you a conversation I had with Sara around the dinner table. You will discover the secret to long-lasting and enriching relationships. We've been together for 35 years.
Please forward this KEY to friends, family and associates. Enjoy!
The Secret of Relationships
We were sitting down together to share one of Sara's special dinners when this conversation sparked quite spontaneously.
Aviv: The most misunderstood aspect about relationships is that they are another opportunity for learning. If you are in a relationship you are in a learning process.
Sara: This sounds true and interesting.
Aviv: I could probably write a book about this idea or conduct a three day workshop.
Sara: Then do it. It is of no use to say "I can do something," unless you intend to do it. It's a good thing God did not just say "I think I can create the trees and the eagles." God got busy creating.
Aviv: You're right; and remember, we are in the consulting business. We decided to put projects and opportunities outside of the consulting focus on the back burner.
Sara: Is this an excuse or a strategy?
Aviv: It's a choice.
Sara: You like to say that people make two kinds of choices. There is the choice to do certain things, and the choice to not do. Which one is this?
Aviv: Wow; I give you weapons and you use them.
Sara: My only weapon is a mirror.
Aviv: You are right again. How about if I write a Key about this?
Sara: What will the Key be about?
Aviv: Relationships as learning.
Sara: You love to formulate concepts. But people have no reason to fall in love with your concepts. They only love what these concepts can do for them. What is the practical guidance that you will offer with this?
Aviv: Agreed. People don't remember what you say. They remember what they understood and what that caused them to do and feel.
Sara: Your point?
Aviv: Reading is one dimensional. In-person conversation and experience is multi-dimensional.
Sara: Your Key? What is your key about, mister I-love-to-fly-high?
Aviv: Relationships are a form of learning. Learning is a process of inquiry. Inquiry begins with a search to understand, first, what something is unto itself. And then how it relates to you and how you can use it. This is the discovery flow.
In a relationship, you look to discover what the other person is like. What do they love? What are they interested in? What is their rhythm and how do they find their direction and ways? You discover their concerns and if their experience is compatible with you or not. And you look to understand how all these things continue to change and evolve as the other person gets to understand themselves better.
Sara: Okay, mister many-levels. You like to give seven dimensions and seven options, but for many people it's too complex and too much. What do you want people to do as a result of this Key? How will this make their lives and their relationships better?
Aviv: The operative word in learning is practice. You decided to take up painting and then you realized you needed to practice your craft. People understand the need to practice in running, skiing, or any sport. They also understand it when they want to play the guitar, the piano or any musical instrument. What you put in is what you get back. Relationships are the same. It's a practice. What you put in is what you get back. You practice conversing. You practice inquiring. You practice listening. You practice being interested. You practice understanding the other person. You practice forgiving. You practice accepting. And yes, you practice practicing.
Sara: Why do people find it difficult to practice these things?
Aviv: That's a half-day workshop, Sara.
Sara: The short version please?
Aviv: As a culture, we've lost the gratification of work. We seek gratification without work. But the work, the practice, is where sustained and gratifying nourishment is found. It's the difference between the gratification that leaves you empty and the one that fills you up.
Sara: What's the remedy? How can people rediscover what you say we've lost?
Aviv: Falling in love with learning; falling in love with the learning found inside a relationship is the remedy. You apply yourself to the practice of this learning in a way that finds the reward in the work of building relationships. It's about falling in love with the relationship work. That is the secret of relationships.
Now it's your turn. Turn the Key. Renew your relationships. Discover the process of mutual learning. Fall in love all over again in the work of relationships. Enjoy the new futures you create with your loved ones.
© Aviv Shahar