When I want to learn how to do something, I look for a book that discusses the topic, and then I read the book and gain as much information as possible, and then I try to do it. My efforts are usually successful, but it can take a long time.
For example, if I have a leaky faucet, bring a book about doing plumbing yourself. Then I read about how faucets work, then I study the different types of faucets, I read about the causes of leaks and the most common solutions to fix them, then I make sure I have the right tools, and I start working on a faucet repair. The book is in one hand, the wrench in the other, and I’ll proceed to unscrew the tap. After each step, I’ll check the book to make sure I did it right and to see what’s next.
Then, at a later time, I met my father-in-law. When he wanted to fix something he wouldn’t read a book, he would grab some tools and start taking it apart. He was exploring it through research and experimentation, and almost every time he figured out what to do, his method took much less time than mine.
His family loved surfing, so when I married his daughter he taught me how to surf, and then he said to me, “Don’t bring a book on water skiing, I’ll hand you a rope and push you off the stern, and you better hang on,” and I quickly learned Skiing.
It has improved a lot over the years. I still love to read about things, but I also learned the value of simply embarking on something.
Relationships require the ability to do both, they are complex and random, and they don’t come ready with instructions. Books can help in understanding them, but we have to throw ourselves into the thick of it, and do the hard work of developing those relationships.
So let’s start by exploring the book’s methodology. This section explores how relationships and communication work from the ground up, and once that foundation is laid, we’ll gain the tools we need, and learn the skills to create relationships that thrive rather than just survive.