So many are scared... to make a move... a real move... in the right direction...
Many of us could benefit from being reminded that we can be our greatest ally and our own worst enemy simultaneously.
There are endeavors, ventures, undertakings, projects, and situations that demand a new perspective and approach if we hope to affect different outcomes.
Many folks long to live more fully, feel more fulfilled, and contribute more profoundly. We've shyed away from opportunities, and recoiled from challenges and wonder why we feel like we're in an infinite funk more often than we're not.
We're always shooting ourselves in foot becoming perpetual victims of self-inflicted wounds.
"But that's just how I am." "I've always been this way."
Human beings typically follow patterns and scripts that have been instilled in us from an early age. Some serve us; some don't. It's your job to honestly assess which ones are which.
Let me be clear:
I am not advocating becoming someone or something you are not.
I am not encouraging people to be fake, articificial, or superficial.
I am not urging people to be actors or inauthentic versions of themselves.
I am endorsing that people embrace those parts of their personalities that are already there, but are lying dormant.
I am asking people to move out of their comfort zones and take action in areas that they have historically side-stepped or overlooked.
I am prompting people to get honest and objectively decide to make changes for the best interest of themselves and others.
Anything less is fear-based and the ultimate selfishness. To do less is to deny others the ultimate greatness and uniqueness of you.
I dare you to move.
If the fear of moving into the unknown is the illness, then action is the antidote.
This stuff is live-giving IF embraced.
Hello? Is anyone home?
The call to action begins by making a decision to answer the call.
A decision to begin doing things differently that can benefit all involved.
You're staring down the barrel of a new beginning.
But nothing changes until you change.
Start today. Start now...
Ricky Midway: You know what your problem is?
Tom Leu: Please enlighten me.
You think you're better than everyone else.
You're self-absorbed. You think you're smarter and on some grander mission than the rest of us.
Is that right?
Yeah, that's right. And that explains why you're sometimes so judgmental of others. It explains why you're often so short with the shortcomings of others.
Harsh. Interesting. And what makes you such an expert?
I'm very observant, just like you.
Is it possible that I just think about myself more than I think about you? Is it possible that I don't think I'm better than... just that I am? Is it possible that YOU are the exact same way, and that's why you recognize these things in me?
Hmmm... I never thought of it that way, but you may be on to something Mr. Psychology guy...
Now we're talking. So what might I be onto in your view Mr. Interview guy?
Well, don't most people, whether overtly or covertly, believe they are better than, or smarter than most others? Don't most people believe that they have some keen insights into human nature? Don't most people feel that they can see where others are off-track and misinformed? Don't most people believe they've got better ways of doing things than others do? Maybe they don't speak it out loud... but don't most really and truly feel this way? Isn't everyone ultimately most concerned with themselves and theirs?
I believe you're right, and I believe your description of most people is accurate.
Why do you think this is so?
You just said it: Everyone is ultimately most concerned with themselves and theirs.
I often ask my classess and audiences to tell me what their favorite subject is. I get a varitety of responses from Science to Social Studies; Math to Marketing. I then go on to tell them that while those are all fine answers, they're all incorrect.
That must go over well (he says sarcastically)...
I get some strange looks for a few seconds, but then I go on to explain that THEY are their favorite subject. Our favorite subject is what we think about the most. People think about themselves, and their situations and circumstances more than anything else... if they're being honest. You know: my stuff, my time, my money, my food, my schedule, my needs, etc.
It sounds sooo bad when you say it like that.
It's not bad; it's reality. And knowing this and applying this carries with it an extreme advantage when interacting with others.
When I know that you think about you more than you don't, I have an advantage in our interactions together because I'm now in a position to influence these interactions much more successfully by how I communicate with you. I know that the odds of getting what I want are greater if I can provide you with what you want (first). And what you want, is the majority of what you are thinking about the majority of the time. I call this concept selfless-selfishness. It's the proverbial "win-win" scenario.
Presented this way, I feel kinda bad about how I began this conversation.
Don't feel bad about sharing how you see things from your perspective. The lesson here is to understand that there may be more to consider. There may more to see than simply the way any one of us "sees" things. In short, there's often more at play than meets the eye.
So it's not that I think I'm better than anyone else; I, like you and everyone else, just think about I, me, and mine much better, and more often than I think about you and yours. It's different.
I see now.
This insight is at the core of the themes of communication and psychology that run throughout my messages and presentations when I speak publicly.
Is this, at least in part, how your speaking engagements and presentations differ from many others?
I think so... but again, it's not about what I think... it's about what YOU think...
We like to watch... and to read... and to hear about...
... the bad news.
We slow down to get a closer look at the car wreck.
We watch the addicts and delinquents on TV.
We listen to the blowhards and ranters on the radio.
We're attracted to those behaving badly.
Those on the fringes... the freaks, the felons, and the misfits.
We're drawn to the break-ups, debacles, and scandals.
We prefer to skip over the good news and reviews and get right to the bad ones.
We want to know what the "haters" are thinking and saying... though we outwardly despise them, we secretly admire them for chucking their politically correct persona.
We may pretend not to notice, but we see it.
We may feel bad about it, but...
We want... the dirty laundry.
Is it more interesting and exciting than the humdrum drone of daily life?
Does it make us feel better about ourselves in some ways on some days?
Do we quietly cringe within the safety of our own voyeuristic caves?
Are we thinking "better them than me," while possibly feeling a bit guilty for thinking that way?
Does misery love company?
I say, yes to all...
Advertisers and businesses bank on bad news.
They say: "Feeling bad? We've got what you need to feel better!"
They also say: "Feeling good? We've got what you need to keep feeling good and avoid feeling bad!"
Some studies have shown that human beings will go to greater lengths to avoid pain than to seek pleasure.
To some, avoiding pain IS their "pleasure."
The point of this preamble?
We're all much more alike than different at the core. None of us are terribly unique... not really.
We humans can be a twisted bunch. We're frighteningly similar along these lines. Accept it for what it is and be OK with it.
Just be aware of this condition... this human nature to be attracted to the negative; the down-and-out; the dark side at times. But just be sure to leave others out of it.
"Communichology™" = Where communication and psychology collide. A discipline studying the artistic and scientific intersection of influential communication skills and persuasive psychology strategies.
Communichologists teach how compelling communication skills married with provocative psychological insights produce relevant real-world results.
As a college instructor, I've always told my students: "Everyone is in sales."
Whether you're selling a product, a service, or yourself as a product or a service - we're all in the sales business - selling something to somebody somewhere.
It flows in the following order: Communication → Influence → Persuasion → Sales
1) It starts with effective communication that's compelling and influential.
2) The art of influence then turns into...
3) The science of persuasion that moves people to do what you want them to do.
4) "Sales" happens.
Kevin Hogan, a leader in the fields of influence and persuasion, reports the following:
Frederick Douglass said, "If I can persuade, I can move the universe."
What is persuasion? Persuasion is the purpose and intention of communication.
Everyone communicates with intentions (desiring a certain outcome). But not all communicate particularly well verbally, nonverbally, or written - to bring their intentions to fruition.
Communication must be influential and persuasive to be great. And great communication also requires a keen understanding of human psychology and behavioral tendencies for it to be the most effective and allow a person to excel personally and professionally.
Can you be influential and not persuasive? Yes. (i.e. the lame-duck president of the company who has authority to make decisions, but inspires no one to greatness). Can you be persuasive and not influential? No. To persuade, by definition, is exerting influence - to move one in a direction; into action.
Unfortunately, little communication is truly influential → (having the potential power to convince or induce belief) - Influence is an art that has many forms, styles, and methods of delivery. Influence is the "what" of communication.
Influential communication has to build into persuasion → (cogent communication intended to move one to action) - Persuasion is a science with proven techniques and strategies. Persuasion is the "how" of influence.
Not all persuasive people can actually sell their ideas, close a deal, or influence outcomes effectively. Sales is the "product" of persuasive influence. "Communichology" studies and presents the most effective strategies and techniques to be both influential and persuasive within your interactions, circumstances, and situations.
THE WAY I SEE IT: Part of being great is recognizing what you're [not] great at...
No one is good at everything they attempt. Not everyone is cut out for everything they believe they are cut out for.
Everyone has weaknesses and achillies heels that affect their "performance" at home and on-the-job.
Awareness of this fact is essential for greatness.
The key is to lean into the reality of our real (not imagined) strenghts, and our real (not denied) weaknessess, and face their truth.
"Facing their truth" means to honestly and humbly consider the real-world implications of what we bring, and don't bring to the table in any given situation we find ourselves in.
This affords us the opportunity to NOT waste time. Not our time, nor anyone else's time.
Denying, rationalizing, and justifying weaknessess only serves to weaken an opportunity to grow.
Assets are born from embracing deficits.
Caretaking is enabling, sugar-coating, and telling people what they want to hear.
Caring for is confronting, challenging, and telling people what they need to hear.
Short term: caretaking helps; caring for hurts.
Long term: caretaking hurts; caring for helps.
I choose caring for... right here... right now.
©2011 Tom Leu