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Success tip: Control your desire to be liked

Most of us want to be liked, and being liked generally helps you. However sometimes other things are more important.

Presented 5 July 2020. Posted 6 July 2020.

Yesterday I delivered my 56th "Thought for the Week" broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester.

I decided to share something I have become aware of over the last 10-15 years, as I have given more thought to interpersonal relations. (Throughout my life, analytical thinking has always been my strong point, while understanding people is something I have learned only slowly over time!)

Thought for the week

Since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, BBC Radio Manchester have had their guests appear remotely. Accordingly I recorded the text of my Thought and sent it to the BBC in advance, while appearing live by telephone to discuss my newspaper review.

Accordingly, as well as reading it below, you can also hear it.

Hear my "Thought"

Read my "Thought"

Almost all of us want to be liked. I certainly do.

Being liked is good for your career. Being loved by your parents is vital for your childhood development. Having a husband or wife who loves you means that you live much longer.

However, wanting to be liked by everyone is not a good idea.

Boards of directors make terrible decisions when one director does not speak up in case he upsets the others. Many parents spoil their children because they care too much about their children liking them.

The biblical prophets had their priorities right. When the prophet Nathan called out King David for his appalling behaviour, he didn’t worry about whether King David would like him!

I don’t have any illusions about being in the same league as a biblical prophet. However, I often give pro bono mentoring advice to complete strangers. I always begin each new relationship with the same spiel.

“Please believe me, I really, really, want to help you. However, I don’t care if you walk out of this room hating me. After all, we had no relationship before we walked into the room.”

At the end of the mentoring session, the mentee is often very grateful. They thank me for pointing out serious flaws. For example, in the way that the mentee speaks with other people.

I tell them things that their friends probably knew, but were afraid to tell them, to avoid upsetting them. What makes me an effective mentor is precisely that I don’t care whether the mentee likes me.

Accordingly, I can tell them what I really think.

What happened to my 55th Thought for the Week?

Close observers of my website will see that my previous "Thought for the Week" page is number 54. What happened to 55?

My 55th broadcast took place on 3 May 2020, with a Thought plus the newspaper review. Unfortunately, while I had composed and recorded a Thought, (which is the one I used yesterday) I accidentally sent the BBC a download link pointing to my 29 March 2020 Thought, which had been transmitted a few weeks before.

The BBC did not notice it was a repeat, and I suspect few in the audience will have noticed either! I did, but since I was live on air and there was nothing that could be done to fix it, I kept quiet during the broadcast but told the BBC what had gone wrong afterwards.

While I aspire to high standards, I have always been aware of my fallibility!


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