While no person is exactly the same, human nature and our predispositions as a species are quite consistent and when understood can be a powerful tool. Like anything else, increased comprehension of human tendencies allows us to better understand specific situations, predict various outcomes, and ultimately engage with others in a way that brings our goals and objectives to fruition.
Here are two Powerful concepts that will help you navigate the social world and get what you want:
We Are Overgrown Children– An important aspect of communicating and effectively influencing another person is understanding that all humans have a basic set of needs. These originate at birth and are maintained throughout the entirety of our lives, although the way in which we satisfy them certainly changes. People want to be accepted, cared about, valued, understood, and so on. While this may seem obvious, the utilization of such understanding is often left behind.
Here is an example. Michael works as a business analyst and has created a presentation that demonstrates his department’s solution to a particular problem. However, Michael is running into an issue. Other departments within the company are expressing anger at not being involved in Michael’s process, advocating for their own solutions. This elongates the analytical process and creates unnecessary tension. Michael, understanding people’s need to feel that their opinions are valued, now hosts a short meeting prior to each release in order to garner feedback. Although input is rarely provided, Michael no longer gets pushback or has issues finalizing his analysis.
Michael’s ability to understand basic human needs allowed him to assess and implement a solution to his problem. The reasons (which are often biological and inherent within us) for finding ourselves in tense or non-ideal situations ultimately become the key to coming out victorious.
We Prioritize Social Acceptance– There is scientific evidence that now suggests many aspects of social discomfort are synonymous with physical pain (M. Lieberman). We are wired to care what people think and preconditioned to coexist with others. This is extremely important because it sheds light on the reasons we are so emotionally invested in social media, why we’re embarrassed to walk down the street singing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin at the top our lungs, and why we don’t cut to the front of the line even though it consists of complete strangers. Evolution tells us that over the years, our DNA took to the understanding that there is value in being accepted by others. Times have changed but our biological makeup in this regard has not. There is a reason you check Facebook 75 times to view the popularity of your post. It just so happens that this particular reason is outdated and substantially less beneficial now than it was when we were hunter-gatherers relying on inclusion for survival.
Being cognizant of this is important because it allows us to understand others’ behavior while providing the opportunity to recognize and adjust our own. In many modern day instances, it is the one who stands out and goes against the grain that will capture the greatest reward. Doing so requires both the recognition and avoidance of many of our natural social inclinations.
Oh and that beautiful blond at the bar presumptively far too confident and self-assured to care what anyone else thinks; she does. Everyone does. Kicking that 10,000 year old fear of rejection to the curb and saying hello only has upside. Godspeed.
By Eddie Pinero @Eddiepinero2