In his book, “Mastery,” Robert Greene talks about ways for a person to master social intelligence.
In it, he gives us example case studies of how some great masters of our time and throughout history were able to make use of this skill set to help them further ascend to their recognized higher perceived status.
He also gives us clear cut examples of those that didn’t quite make it because they failed to adopt this premise and make use of this tenant, which I am about to re-paraphrase and summarize for you here.
At it’s basis, even though you might have all of the skill, wit, intuition, and smarts to understand a subject matter deeply, even if its greater than anyone else before you, and EVEN if you have evidence to support your assertions…
If the work you produce, the insights you bring forth and the lessons you have to impart are contrarian, you might not be well received and may even find a great deal of resistance of acceptance to your claims, if you don’t understand, navigate and make use of the lessons of the concepts provided by his “7 Deadly Realities” to make note of in being socially intelligent.
Being able to detect their presence and also being able to avoid triggering them will serve you well in the advancement of your life’s work.
Here they are, along with my summarized interpretation of all 7.
Envy – We have natural tendencies to compare ourselves to others, whether its with regards to how much money we make, how popular we are, how smart we are, and a number of other things that I’m sure you might be able to come up.
- Ways to spot signs of envy from others might be those that praise you too much or who become overly friendly at the initial stages of knowing you. These are possible signs that they are trying to get closer to you in order to hurt you.
- Ways to avoid triggering it, especially if you have a gifted knack or skill is by making a point of occasionally showing signs of deficiency in other areas, which helps keep you from seeming to perfect.
- Another strategy to employ would be to display interest, sincerely, in the work of others around you, especially those that might be a bit more skiddish or insecure.
Conformism – Organized groups of any kind generally develop a certain dominant cultural mindset, complete with unwritten standards of correctness, that, of course, may shift with the times. Often times members will, perhaps subconsciously, adopt the views and ideals of the person heading the organization.
- Ways to spot this trend is by watching for how much people feel the need to display certain opinions or ideas that conform to the standards, and spotting the overzealous few that become sort of overseers of correctness.
- Ways to avoid triggering the wrath of conformists in a group are to be “under the radar” in displaying contrarian or eccentric behaviors that are counter to the organization, especially if you have to work within the confines of that group in order to get ahead.
- Try allowing your work to speak for you, but make a show of adhering to the accepted standards of the group for the time being. Later on, when you’ve ascended you can let your individuality shine through. Get ahead first.
Rigidity – Humans are generally creatures of habit and routine, which is what we look for in order to maintain some semblance, however artificial, of control. People hold on to these norms, simply because they’ve become accustomed to them, even if a new way, a better way, has been proven. It’s human nature, especially as we age, to want to adhere to these customs and resist new ways of thinking or doing things.
- Best way to avoid triggering resentment from those that are rigid is to accept it in them, and perhaps deferring to their need for order, while maintaining your own spirit.
- Continue to be you, and continue growth for yourself, but understand and don’t try to fight or reason with those that are hyper rigid.
Self-Obsessiveness – It is human nature, especially in today’s work environments to think first and foremost of ourselves and our own self interests. Since it isn’t a very noble trait to display, most folks, especially the most self absorbed will surround their actions with a veil of moral or saintly righteousness.
- You can’t really avoid triggering this, but instead, realizing that this exists you should instead try to empathize with their wants and needs so that if you were to request a favor, you could present your offer by appealing to their self interests.
- Try to “stand in their shoes” and by doing so you can sense what they’re really after and can appeal to those wants, needs and desires when asking for their aid in your cause.
Laziness – Most people want to take the quickest, easiest path of least resistance in order to reach our goals. This is more true than ever, especially in today’s day and age of instant gratification, and instant feedback. Most lazy folks are always looking for shortcuts, and the most insidious will try to attain those shortcuts by any means possible, even if it means by theft, dishonesty or another form of cheating.
- Ways to avoid becoming a victim to someone that is lazy and insidious is to safeguard your best ideas and apply general cautiousness…don’t give away too many details that can make it easy for someone else to swoop in and take your ideas for themselves.
- Be cautious of those that are looking to collaborate – generally they’re looking to not only looking to lighten their work load but they’re also looking for someone else to do the majority, if not all, of the work.
Flightiness – Most people’s decisions are largely governed by our emotions, even though most would not like to admit it. Since this is the case most decisions can change by the day, hour or minute depending on the mood we’re in.
- Ways to avoid falling victim to getting emotionally entangled in someone else’s decision making is to detach yourself. Don’t take it personal, and don’t let yourself get caught up…also accept that this is reality.
Take other people’s promises with a grain of salt, and if they come through that’s great, but don’t let their failure to follow through get you down. Realize this is part of life and instead rely on your own efforts, to avoid disappointment, and maintain control.
Passive Aggression – Most passive aggression stems from the fear or unpleasantry associated with direct confrontation, which generally implies the possible loss of control. Passive aggressive tactics involve indirect means for people to get their way, which is usually subtle,hard to detect, and a subversive way to control the dynamic.
- Ways to detect folks that are passive aggressive warriors is through their reputation, their peers assessments of them and through your own dealings with these folks. generally they confuse you with their seemingly benign or friendly exterior, however, if you suspect sabotage…consider this reality in action.
- Ways to handle this are to return the action, in an indirect manner, of course, which suggests in a subtle way, you are not to be messed with
- Or try avoidance if at all possible. If you don’t have to deal with these folks much see if there are ways to circumvent them entirely.
If you want to learn more, I highly suggest you read the book, and of course, Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Tags: social intelligence