Welcome to my regular series entitled "My Light Bulb Moment". This column highlights a 'blinding flash of insight' business, cultural and sports leaders have experienced, and how this changed their lives forever.
International author and speaker Allan Pease is known worldwide as "Mr Body Language". Starting his career at age 10 selling sponges door to door, at 21 he was the youngest person ever to sell over $1 million of life insurance in his first sales year.
Allan, with co-author and wife Barbara, is one of the world's most successful non-fiction authors, writing 18 bestsellers including The Definitive Book of Body Language and Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps. His books have been translated into 54 languages and have sold over 27 million copies.
Lightbulb moment: keeping points
When both Barbara and Allan were writing their 10th book, Why Men Lie and Women Cry, they had an epiphany. "Couples in relationships unconsciously keep points," Allan remembers. "Relationships come into trouble when one party is not pulling their weight."
Constructing a concept for their new book called "point scoring", Barbara and Allan outlined a simplified approach to defining relationship conflict and success.
"Each task is worth different points to people in relationships. For example putting the garbage out is worth one point, doing the lawn is worth two points and taking my wife for a nice dinner is worth 10 points," Allan says. "However you can also lose points in the relationship when you leave a towel on the floor or leave the toilet seat up.
"The main problem is that the two partners in the relationship have a wildly different expectation of what each action is worth," Allan adds. "While I may think I'm getting some great points for buying a dozen roses on Valentine's Day, a handwritten note and a single rose is worth a lot more to my wife. A lot of the time the little things are the key things!"
Balancing the books ...
With divorce rates and partnership splits critically high, Allan and Barbara believe the key to marriage success is to discover how your partner scores their points.
"This approach dramatically helped our relationship, because I thought I was doing enough to support and care for Barbara, when in actual fact I wasn't. At the end of the day, couples split up because one person feels they are not getting a fair deal, while the other person firmly believes they are doing everything to be a great husband or wife." Allan adds, "Sadly along the way they are both missing the mark on the needs of each other, and this in turn builds a growing resentment, leading to a split when things come to a head."
Overall it's important to discover what's important to your significant other, and remember the little things are key.
If you have had a light bulb moment, please email me as I would love to hear about it.
• Tom O'Neil is an award winning business speaker and best-selling international author. Sign up to Tom's newsletter on his website or contact him at email@example.com