“You are the sum total of the people you meet and interact with in the world. Whether it’s your family, peers, or co-workers, the opportunities you have and the things that you learn all come through doors that other people open for you.”
― Tanner Colby
The Impact of Social Capital
During my trip to Vietnam in January 2018, I met a local economics professor at a bus station in Sapa, northern Vietnam.
Because of his background as a college teacher, he spoke fluent English. Hence we were able to communicate by having meaningful conversations. After we connected, he gladly gave me his contact information and invited me to visit him in southern Vietnam area where he lives.
After a month of slowly traveling from northern Vietnam to southern Vietnam, I finally arrived at my last destination in Vietnam, Saigon, also known as Ho Chi Minh City.
As promised, I reached out to my friend and he happily met up with me.
Among the numerous activities, one of them was having the pleasant opportunity to attend a traditional Vietnamese wedding. It was an excellent way to experience the country’s culture.
Amidst of our interactions, one stood out the most.
We were riding in a taxi and were talking about trends in the world. As an economics lecturer, he studies intensively about the way society operates.
Looking back in history, he mentioned the first capital was physical. Examples include farms, infrastructures, and machines. But to utilize them, they introduced the second capital, which is human capital, the workforce. They encompass farmers, engineers, and factory workers.
And now, the current capital is social capital. These are the relationships you have. They comprise anyone who you have a tangible connection with, such as your parents, friends or colleagues.
This was a fascinating conversation as he described the progression of the world from a commercial standpoint.
During my stay in Saigon, he demonstrated the importance of his connections with others. No matter where we went, he was able to leverage his network of friends for mutual benefits. Whether it was having friends to go fishing and having lunch with or savoring a free delicious meal at a local restaurant, these were all rewards of having strong connections with others.
His relationships with others made his experiences (and mine) more enjoyable and memorable.
Invest In Relationships
Having people who you like and trust are important to a healthy and successful life.
When you feel loved and connected, you don’t experience loneliness knowing there are people who care about you.
This applies to both platonic and romantic relationships.
Knowing you have others’ support, you feel more confident about your direction in life.
Be able to share your victories and achievements with those you treasure brings more happiness into your life.
And in times of darkness, having someone to help you carry your burden is immensely impactful because it allows you to feel united knowing another person can relate or understand your unique situation.
Having a strong network of friends, you can experience more joy by spending time with those you value. You can all partake in performing your favorite activities or celebrating special occasions.
Many new opportunities will open up when you have a vibrant social circle. That’s because great people tend to have likable friends. And when hosting events, your friends will invite their charming friends.
The law of “like attracts like” applies here.
Good fortunes don’t just apply to your personal life, it’s also relevant to your professional life.
When you have built a strong foundation of work contacts, your next job search becomes easier. By reaching out to your network, you can quickly know if there are suitable employment for you.
And if they happen to be working for the organization with the new role, they can expedite the interview process by sending your resume directly to the hiring manager. In addition, they can recommend you for the position because of your professionalism.
As for business benefits, your clients can help you spread your message through word-of-mouth. If you have helped your customers solve their problem with your products or services, then you can kindly ask them for referrals. They will gladly aid you after having received value from you.
Ways to Deepen Your Connections
The only way to strengthen any relationship is to add value to the other person.
This may mean different things based on the individual. That’s because everyone feels loved and liked in unique ways. For example, some people like receiving gifts while others value words of affirmation.
Therefore, understanding their distinctive love language is important. Despite everyone’s various form of appreciation, real tangible relationships can only be built by having in-person face-to-face interactions.
This means you must spend quality time with others.
Simply being physically there isn’t enough, you must be fully present and engaged in the encounter.
By actively listening and giving them your undivided attention is what genuinely matters. It’s not a matter of saying the perfect things, but rather you want to make the other person feel heard and understood. This may include nodding, speaking short phrases such as “tell me more,” or paraphrase what he or she has just said.
If you can truly comprehend what they are saying, then you will have added value to the conversation.
That’s because most people won’t remember what exactly you said in the interaction, but they won’t forget about how you made them feel.
It’s those favorable emotions that allow them to like you when they think of you. Because of your enjoyable previous experience with them, they feel inclined to help or spend time with you again.
Relationships are essential for living a vibrant and loving life.
They can open up many doors to a successful life, however you define it.
Building a strong network takes time and effort, but you must be proactive and take the lead.
It’s a continuous practice.
Despite your sincere kindness, not everyone will reciprocate.
That’s completely fine.
You can choose to continue constructing your connection base by focusing your time on those who value and appreciate you.
By persistently investing in relationships, you will eventually build a large social capital.
Please share this article with anyone who you think may find it useful.
If you have any questions and/or comments on social capital, please leave a comment below or send me an email.
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