Not all time spent with others is eqally valuable.
The value of your time spent with others falls on a wide spectrum. Here I'm talking about value in terms of value to each person, the value of the relationship, and the value to each person's life outside of the relationship with the other person.
At one extreme end of the spectrum are activities which are detrimental to both people, and which the people encourage or support each other to engage in (see: codependency). An extreme example would be two alcoholics who drink together, each of whom helps the other one justify his self-destructive habit. A less extreme example would be two people who like to complain to one another and make excuses about their failures in different areas, each one absolving the other one of responsibility for problems in his or her life.
On the low end of the spectrum of value are activities which are not harmful, but are generally a waste of a time. Watching TV, playing video games, or engaging in other time-wasting activities might strengthen a relationship to some degree by virtue of the rapport and trust built by enjoying the activity together, but nothing of value to anyone else comes of it.
Higher up in the spectrum is conversation. Getting to know another person on a level deeper than the superficial is valuable to both people. Conversations like this usually involve people’s plans, their ideas, their motivations, and their values. This is valuable to both people because a) each participant is exposed to ideas and concepts they weren't previously aware of, b) each person can more fully develop and examine their own thoughts when they expose them to another person’s perspective, c) trust and understanding are built in great strides when people connect on this level, and d) when discussing plans or dreams, each person can try to find ways to help the other person achieve their goals or bring their plans to fruition.
At the highest end of the spectrum are when two or more people work together towards an explicit goal, generally over an extended period of time. The coordination of combined effort with a singular focus results in a tangible change in the world, an effect felt by others, or the creation of something that didn't exist before. These activities greatly enrich both people, build their skills, give them something to be proud of, and leave behind evidence of their time spent together which a lifelong relationship can be built upon.
Think about your interactions with others.
Are there things you do alone which could be made better if done with someone else? Exercise? Work? Hobbies? Even sitting quietly and reading or working, I’ll often invite someone else to join me and bring their own activity. Invariably, because both people are working, reading, or engaging their minds, a conversation is sparked or a problem is solved with the help of a friend.
When you spend time with others, is the time wasted, or is it put to good use? I think it’s better to play video games with a friend than to play alone, but I also think it’s better to plant a garden with a friend than to watch reruns with him.
You can get more out of your time by involving others, and you can get more out of your time with others by choosing carefully what you spend your time on. This will also help guide you when choosing with whom to spend your time. If one person encourages you to spend your time in wasteful or self-destructive activities, and another is excited to create something with you, everyone will be better off when you make the better choice.
In this article I will be sharing my techniques to save you time and enable you to be more spontaneous.
Setting yourself up initially will require an investment of several hours, but the rewards make it well worth it. These rewards include greater freedom to do what you want when you want to do it, adding hours to your life each week by eliminating the time and effort that you'd otherwise spend preparing on the spot, a sense of security knowing that you will rarely be caught unprepared, and a sense of gratification and pride when you have the tools you need on hand for an array of opportunities.
During a call with Sebastian Marshall, we discussed negotiation skills and other similar issues. I came up with a basic one-page document with the 101 about negotiation. Find it below:
Negotiation is a method by which people settle differences. It is a process by which compromise or agreement is reached while avoiding an argument. In any disagreement, individuals understandably aim to achieve the best possible outcome for their position (or perhaps for the organization or team they represent.) However, the principles of fairness, seeking mutual benefit, and maintaining a relationship are the keys to a successful outcome.