WHAT IS OTHERMINDEDNESS?
Othermindedness (yes, it’s a made up word) is thinking of others before yourself. It is, to paraphrase St. Paul, doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility considering others better than yourself. It’s looking not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Statistics show that people think about themselves 95 percent of the time. This isn’t necessarily wrong. We do everything with ourselves. We eat, sleep, shower, shave, and work with ourselves. It would be easy to look at the statistics and think this is negative, but when you look at the facts we can’t help but think of ourselves. Othermindedness is not about ridding yourself of all thoughts of you. It’s about channeling your thoughts and actions towards the benefit of others.
People who struggle with a negative self-image typically focus on themselves and don’t think how their actions affect others. People with a negative self-image can become extremely self-conscious and selfish. They think every joke is an attack against them; they believe others focus on their mistakes or are worried about how they dress, perform, talk, walk, and chew their food. But the reality is people don’t think about us an iota of the time we think about ourselves. Why? Because they are too busy thinking about themselves. When I learned this it freed me in ways I never thought possible. I realized when I make mistakes people think about it for a brief moment, they may even comment on it, but unless it directly affects their life, they forget it and move on. The following facts I am about to share with you I want you to never forget.
People rarely remember what you say
I know this especially well from being a teacher, speaker, and consultant. You can tell someone something you believe to be of vital importance. You can ask them to write it down and repeat it. You could have them etch it in stone, then the following week you can ask them to repeat back what you spoke about and unless it was important to them they probably won’t remember. This is the big difference between communication and connection. To connect with people, you must be otherminded. You must ask yourself, “How can I make this message relevant to the person I’m speaking with?” If you don’t, people will rarely remember what you say.
People sometimes remember what you do
Again, unless you do something which directly affects the other person, they scarcely remember although people will remember your actions more than words. Now, if you do something epic like go streaking down the middle of a football field during a playoff game, people will remember that. But even in cases like that, over time people will forget who did it, the location, and more. But if they were the one who went streaking they would remember every detail and would probably tell the story for the rest of their lives and I’m certain it would become more and more epic every time they tell it.
People always remember how you make them feel
This is when your words and actions are rarely forgotten. Ask yourself this question: When is the last time someone made you feel foolish? Chances are you can remember the time, date, and location. How about this question: When is the last time someone made you feel really good about yourself? Chances are you can remember that as well. When directed towards the feelings of others words have tremendous power. Words in the mouth of a hurtful person can be like flaming arrows which can pierce a heart, but words in the mouth of an otherminded person can bring healing, love, and life. Your actions, like your words, can also bring healing, love, and life when you intentionally use your gifts toward the betterment of others.
Never forget these three facts; they are essential to the foundation of othermindedness and ultimately, your connection with others.
(This article is a subscript from my book A Clear View: Unleashing the power of a positive self-image)