Mastering Human Relationships

Written By | Personal Success | August 19th, 2009 | 34 Comments »

Mastering Human RelationshipsThe most important and the most highly paid form of intelligence in America is social intelligence, the ability to get along well with other people.  Fully 85 percent of your success in life is going to be determined by your social skills, by your ability to interact positively and effectively with others and to get them to cooperate with you in helping you to achieve your goals.

Learning how to develop and maintain superior human relationships can do more for your career and for your personal life than perhaps anything else you can accomplish.

The bad news is that the inability to get along with others is the primary reason for failure, frustration and unhappiness in life and work.  According to one study, more the 95 percent of men and women let go from their jobs over a ten year period were fired because of poor social skills rather than lack of competence or technical ability.

According to psychologist Sydney Jourard, most of your joy in life comes from your happy relationships with other people, and most of your problems in life come from unhappy relationships with them.  Most of your problems in life are people problems.

Fortunately, you can become extremely skilled at getting along with others, and in this chapter, you will learn how.  You’ll learn a variety of proven methods to immediately improve your relationships with virtually anyone, under almost any circumstances.

The Law of Indirect Efforts

The Law of Indirect Effort states that you get almost everything in your relationships with others more easily by approaching them indirectly rather than directly.

For example, if you want to impress people, the direct way of going about it is to try to convince them of your admirable qualities and accomplishments.  But trying to impress another person by talking about yourself usually makes you feel a little foolish, and sometimes embarrassed.

The indirect way of impressing another person; however, is simply to be impressed by the other person.  The more you are impressed by the other person, by who he or she is, or what he or she has accomplished, the more likely it is that the other person will be impressed by you.

If you want to get someone interested in you, the direct way is to tell him or her all about yourself.  But the indirect way works better.  It is simply to become interested in him or her.   The more interested you become in another person, the more likely it is that the other person will become interested in you.

If you want to be happy, the direct way is to do whatever you can think of that will make you happy.  However, the most enjoyable and lasting form of happiness comes from making someone else happy.  By the Law of Indirect Effort, whenever you do or say anything that makes someone else happy, you feel happy yourself.  You boost your own spirits, your own self-esteem.

How do you get another person to respect you?  The best way is to respect him or her.   When you express respect or admiration for another person, he or she feels respect and admiration for you.  In human relations, we call this the Principle of Reciprocity.  Whenever you do something nice for someone else, the other person will want to reciprocate by doing something nice for you.  Most of our romances and friendships are based on this principle.

How do you get a person to believe in you, given the Law of Indirect Effort?  The answer is to believe in him or her.  Whenever you show that you believe or have confidence in another person, he or she will tend to believe in and have confidence in you.  You get what you give.  What you send out, you get back.

Applying the Law of Indirect Effort

The most important applications of the Law of Indirect Effort have to do with developing a healthy personality in yourself.  You are structured in such a way that everything you do to another person has a reciprocal effect on yourself.  Everything you do to raise the self-esteem of another person raises your own self-esteem at the same time, and in the same measure.  Since self-esteem is the hallmark of the healthy personality, you can actually improve the health of your own personality by taking every opportunity to improve the health of the personalities of others.  What you sow in the lives of others, you reap in your own life.

Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load.  This is most true in the area of self-esteem and self-confidence.  Everyone grows up with a feeling of inferiority and throughout most of our lives we need to be praised and recognized by others.  No matter how successful or how elevated people may become, they still need their self-images reinforced.

There is a line that says, “I like you because of the way I feel about myself when I am with you.”  This line contains the key to excellent human relations.  The most happy men and women are those who make other people feel good about themselves when they are with them.  When you go through life raising the self-esteem of others, opportunities will open up successful and before you, and people will help you in ways you cannot now imagine.  Practice the Law of Indirect Effort.  Take every opportunity to say and do things that make people feel more valuable.  Each time you express a kindness toward another person, your own self-esteem improves.  Your own personality becomes more positive and healthy.  You impress into your own mind whatever you express toward someone else.

Make Others Feel Important

The key to raising the self-esteem of others, using the Law of Indirect Effort, is simply to make others feel important.  Everything you do or say that makes another feel more important boosts his or her self-esteem at the same time.

When you go throughout your day looking for ways to make others feel important you will be popular and welcome everywhere.  You will be healthier and happier and get more real satisfaction from life than others do.  You will have lower levels of stress and higher levels of energy.  Above all, you will genuinely like and respect yourself more and experience greater peace of mind.

About Brian Tracy – Brian Tracy is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on google+, facebook, and twitter.


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  1. says on July 3, 2013 at 2:42 am:

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  2. Efe says on September 28, 2011 at 3:04 am:

    A big thanks to you Brian for this inspiring and educative post.I applied the law of indirect effort and it is working greatly in my life.Thanks a million

  3. Celia says on September 6, 2011 at 11:02 am:

    I could really use the help of all of you. I’m having deep feelings of depression and though I will not kill myself, I feel the desire to die on most days. I made someone I respected as a colleague into my mentor. We had a very strong attraction from the beginning and against our will the feelings turned romantic. I feel so rejected by him, yet I know he was in a relationship to begin with. This is where my goal-setting came into the picture. As my mentor, I taped into what he felt were good goals for me. Now, that he’s not part of my life (or at least not willingly) I have no direction. I fear choosing a world that will not bring me happiness. I love him so much and I respect his wishes, but it hurts so much that he didn’t wish for me. I have make old plans to choose from, but I feel so unlucky because of what I lost. I’m in pain and it won’t go away. I wish him all the happiness in the world and so I try to show him that I’m fine so he won’t worry about me, but it’s obvious sometimes that I don’t move on as he wants me to, but I don’t really want to, even if I don’t know where moving on leads to, just away from him. He once suggested I find a way to have a future, but that is philosophically puzzling to me, especially because in my dreams he is the happy future I want. I don’t want to manipulate him, but he thinks I am able to. We don’t trust each other, perhaps, but I know the best of him and I greatly admire him inspite of his problems and our difficulties. Can you suggest reading something about getting out of this barrier to be positive?

  4. Martins Iyukhun says on July 21, 2011 at 5:02 am:

    thank you for your inspiring thought,It will definitely change my perception of people

  5. Richard says on January 19, 2011 at 6:53 am:

    What else can I say Brian, you are one of my favorite author. Everything you said in this article is so true in all aspects of life. Thank you for sharing this brilliant thought. As always, I admire your expertise in this field of humanity.

  6. T. Grant says on November 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm:


    You said “According to one study, more the 95 percent of men and women let go from their jobs over a ten year period were fired because of poor social skills rather than lack of competence or technical ability.”

    Can you please elaborate on the source of that study? Are there other studies that are similar? I have been looking all over the web, and find similar claims (about the connection of communication to job retention) but I can not find a reputable source for the statistic.

    Thank you in advance,
    T. Grant

  7. Zaway says on November 7, 2009 at 3:22 am:

    Brian, you are everything one needs to succeed. Your bare and down to earth indirect effort made us to rediscover ourselves and feel better informed in the art of mastering human relationship and interaction. Keep doing the good work. I have just bought many of your CDs fo rmy study at my private time. You are what you are. The best human motivator

  8. Jelena says on October 7, 2009 at 1:31 am:

    Dear Brian,

    As Khalid stated above- where would have been I by now if I had discovered you earlier, I’ll say: I discovered you at the right moment! Even though my way of communicating with others is on really high level and I know how many people think that how I do it is great, but still I know I can improve it and become even better.

    Looking forward to your seminar in Belgrade in 8 days!!!



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