Two of the greatest prime ministers in the history of the British Empire were Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone. They served Queen Victoria-great men with different personalities and different approaches to life.
A much loved and respected aristocratic lady of the time was seated next to Benjamin Disraeli at a well-attended banquet. They engaged in a lengthy and lively conversation. A few weeks later the same lady was seated next to William Gladstone at yet another banquet. As the Prime Minister he, of course, was highly renowned and respected.
Some time later this woman was asked about the difference between the two men. She responded, "After spending an evening seated by Mr. Gladstone, I became convinced that he was the most brilliant, knowledgeable man in the British Empire. After being seated by Mr. Disraeli, I was convinced that I was the brightest person in the British Empire."
Chances are pretty good, as you reflect on that, you would say that you would naturally want to be a friend of Mr. Disraeli. The point I want to make is that it's not about you-it's about others. Again I repeat my favorite quote: You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
Our relationships with others are extremely important. Dale Carnegie wrote a great book along those lines, and out of it came a lot of good, common-sense thoughts that make a difference. I'm not certain Carnegie said it, but some very wise person said that people don't really care how much you know until they know how much you care-about them.
The reality is that anybody can say virtually anything they want to say and work hard at impressing you. Unfortunately, many times that's all it is-they are trying to impress you with themselves so that perhaps you will seek a relationship with them and even do something for them. That truly is the height of hypocrisy. When people are genuinely interested in you, in short, when they truly care for and about you, their actions, their demeanor, their every step indicates they believe you are special and conveys that you are important to them.
Every person, regardless of who they are or even where they are, cherishes someone who genuinely cares for them, and when they discover that you are that person, they will want to be your friend, and in the process will listen to what you have to say as they watch what you do. Chances are excellent you will become, in a vague sense, perhaps, but nevertheless you will become a hero to them and a role model to follow.
Yes, relationships are extremely important. If we have an attitude of "What can I do for you" instead of "What can you do for me", chances are pretty good we will have a far more balanced, joyful life than those who take the opposite approach.