Reading People

Every day we interact with people. We instinctively trust some and distrust others. Sometimes we make the wrong choice. We trust someone we should have distrusted. We get our fingers burned and once bitten twice shy, so we decline into a competition of screw them before they screw me. And the world is in a sorry state because of this.

I can speak of experience. The amount of school fees I needed to pay for trusting people still runs interest. And while I pay this interest, I often envy people like my wife who sense people’s true intent within seconds. What do they have that makes them read people like they do?

Maybe we can explore together. We know trusting people will move us forward, but how to know who to trust and who not.

The ability to read people is to have the character strength of humanity, our ability to befriend (trust) others. We all have it; we just need to develop it.

The ability to read people correctly, links directly with our social intelligence. As you know there are different types of intelligence. So before you deduct that because I incorrectly trusted someone I should not have trusted, therefore I do not have social or emotional intelligence, first understand intelligence.

Intelligence is the ability to make finer distinctions. Someone that has financial intelligence will know were and when to invest money, and as with any personal intelligence it can be developed and learned. So the question is: What do I need to do to be able to make finer distinctions?

I think there are two important actions:

1. Make mistakes. Yes make them and learn from them. Go back to those events in your life you trusted unwisely. Dissect the situation. Identify what was your responsibility in the situation. Write down the lesson you learned and then write down next to it, what this lesson cost you. Don’t forget this last part. The price tag will keep you from repeating it.

2. Expose your weakness to someone that has it as a strength and make them part of your team. Yes I know. You have to trust someone to do this. I had to lose a lot of my own ego to expose myself to my wife’s strength. The question I would like to ask you is: Which is more important? An intact ego and repetitive mistakes, or a downsized ego and moving forward with a stronger team?

I suppose there are more things one can do to increase our people reading ability aka social intelligence. If you know of something that worked for you, please feel free to share. Why? You might ask – Because there is a bigger cause to this than our own protection. The need for human kind to stop destroying itself in fear, but be inspired to build up humanity in love.

A well developed humanity gives us the ability to “walk boldly into men’s hearts” (in Akira Kurosawa’s words from his film Kagemusha) and rev them up.

And who wouldn’t like to be this inspiring?

With trust