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Taking Responsibility in Relationships

By February 3, 2017July 11th, 2022No Comments

February is already here! For those of you who set New Year’s resolutions, hopefully you’re still going strong. We’ve ended the multiple holiday hustle and bustle and now it’s back to reality.

Earlier this week I was having a pretty lengthy conversation with one of my bosses. We happened to get off topic and the conversation took a giant turn to relationships. We discussed the importance of relationships with others and how those ties affect every aspect of people’s lives whether at home or at work. The relationships we create are absolutely critical to our success. Brian Tracy goes so far to say that, “Eighty percent of life’s satisfaction comes from meaningful relationships.”  Before leaving his office, my boss handed me a book called The 100/0 Principle by Al Ritter and said he wanted to hear my thoughts on it. So here goes:

But first. Some insights compiled by the International Listening Association:

  • Most of us are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful about 75% of the time we should be listening.
  • We listen at 125-250 words per minute, but think at 1,000-3,000 words per minute.
  • Immediately after we listen to someone, we only recall about 50% of what he or she said.
  • Long-term, we only remember 20% of what we hear.

So what is the 100/0 principle you ask? “The 100/0 principle advocates for people to take 100% full responsibility for a relationship. It requires that you and I treat other people with dignity and respect even when we think they don’t deserve it, and even when people around us say they don’t deserve it. The 100/0 principle allows you to take responsibility for your relationships without being weighed down by unrealistic expectations. Having realistic expectations of others involves realizing that we’re all less than perfect.”

I find this principle to be helpful for multiple reasons:

  1. I’m getting married in June. I think we all know how easy it is to have unrealistic expectations for our significant others. When we choose to listen in order to seek understanding, we can have so much more fruit in those relationships. Instead of arguing about what I thought happened, I can take initiative to apologize first. “When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not, the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well” (Ritter).
  2. I’m working full time at an insurance company. I hold conversations with multiple clients and various co-workers every single day. COMMUNICATION IS KEY. In fact, “listening has been identified as one of the top skills employers seek in entry-level employees as well as those being promoted” (Ritter). In these situations, I can take responsibility for the miscommunication and do whatever I can to resolve the issue at hand.
  3. I live in an apartment with two roommates. The good Lord knows we don’t always see eye to eye on every situation, but this is why it is so extremely important to listen! Sure, there are times (especially at our apt.) where I want MY voice to be the loudest and MY opinion to be most important, but how much more effective would I be if I took responsibility for my actions and sought to listen and understand how my roommates are feeling as well?

As human beings, communication is part of our nature. We encounter people and relationships at all times of the day. Therefore, in order to be successful, we must strive for success in our relationships and encounters with others. Al Ritter offers some step-by-step instructions as to how you can practice the 100/0 principle:

STEP 1: Determine what you can do to make the relationship work… then do it. Demonstrate respect and kindness to the other person, whether he/she deserves it or not.

STEP 2: Do not expect anything in return. Zero, zip, nada.

STEP 3: Do not allow anything the other person says or does (no matter how annoying!) to affect you. In other words, don’t take the bait.

STEP 4: Be persistent with your graciousness and kindness. Often, we give up too soon, especially when others don’t respond in kind. Remember to expect nothing in return.

So get out there and make today a great one. Start taking responsibility in your relationships!