Predicting Success

by | Jun 8, 1998 | Success

“What’s most important? Job skills or people skills?” – Pauline T.

The number one reason for failure and unhappiness – both at home and in society

– is the inability to get along with others. According to one study, more than 95 percent of men and women let go from their jobs over a ten-year period were fired because of poor social skills rather than lack of competence or technical ability.

Our interaction with others is the glue that holds people and institutions together. Without it there is loneliness, self-pity and boredom.

Edward Hallowell, M.D., a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School, says, “To thrive, indeed just to survive, we need warmhearted contact with other people. The close-to-the-vest, standoffish life is bad for your body and your soul. Like a vitamin deficiency, a human contact deficiency weakens the body, the mind, and the spirit.”

How powerful are relationships? They can mark the difference between life and death. Dr. Lisa Berkman of the Harvard School of Public Health, headed a study that followed the lives of seven thousand people in Alameda County, California, for nine years. They inquired whether the people were married or lived alone, what kind of contact they had with friends and relatives, and whether or not they belonged to a church or other religious organizations.

When they evaluated the group’s risk of dying, “the most isolated people were three times more likely to die in that nine year period than those with stronger social ties.”

What lesson can we learn? Plug into the lives of others and build relationships that last.

Neil Eskelin


Predicting Success