Never forget that people are emotional beings. All of our reasoning, and even most technical facts and logic stems from emotions. People have a never-ending desire for significance, a feeling of importance.
The desire for significance can be manifested in so many different ways:
- You’re trying to switch lanes in traffic, but another person speeds up (by being in front of you, they forced you to acknowledge their presence).
- It is the fuel behind any career. (Ambition, desire to be great fulfills this need for significance).
- It is also why people become pastors, missionaries and other types of religious workers. (they get this feeling of significance through serving God and people).
- It is also why we bother to document human history! (Historians were typically employed by wealthy people that wanted to be remembered).
- It’s the reason for crime. (By taking something valuable away from you by force, I make you acknowledge my significance in your life).
The desire to feel significant, important, to be connected to others, to be a part of something … is the drive behind reason.
People can channel this desire in a positive or negative way … but they will certainly channel it!
For example, you’re at the DMV.
You get agitated by how long the process is taking. You get to a clerks window and you’re seeing her as insignificant pawn in a government machine, instead of a fellow human being. Surely she feels it though your body language and vocal tonality. After finding that you missed some paper work, she makes you go back to the end of the line to fill it out.
Now imagine you walked up to the same clerk, smiled and asked her about an interesting necklace she is wearing (because you were sincerely interested :) … not manipulative by trying to invoke a particular reaction/outcome). After dealing all day with impatient and rude people, she finds it refreshing. She smiles back and tells you an interesting story behind it. You learn something new. She feels better. Whatever you didn’t fill out in your form, she helps you with.
Two very different approaches. Two very different outcomes. However, in both cases the clerk is telling you (between the lines) that “she is significant to your life”! In the first case she retaliates with whatever little power she has over you because you have hurt her sense of self-worth, her significance. In the second case, she expresses her significance by being helpful because you’ve provided her with an opportunity to do so. Instead of being impatient, you acknowledged her hard work and her involvement in your life without saying much. You said it all (between the lines) by expressing genuine concern. Because you’re sincere, your body language and tone of voice delivered it.
You can’t fake sincerity! Lots of people use charm and flattery to manipulate an event toward a particular result, but a discerning person will always catch on to it. Forget the outcome. Sincerely focus on expressing your genuine love to your neighbor (in how you say things, and what you say). When you’re communicating with people, even if you’re presenting cut and dry scientific facts … speak to the heart first!
Forget about arguing with people at the “mind” level, reasoning with logic and facts. Always go for the heart. If you genuinely make a friend, disagreements will vanish. Often time people continue to argue about something only because they have already stated their positions. Now the pride is involved. If they acknowledge that you’re right it means they are backing down (which hurts their pride/feeling of importance).
Most people are like zombies, they go throughout their day trapped in their world of thoughts, without really paying attention, and connecting with others. Those that can connect heart to heart are very few.
So, as you go about your day, pay attention to how many things are driven by a raw desire for significance…