Much like developing a muscular, athletic, strong body, the development of our mental strength shines light on weaknesses in others. Once you focus on strengthening your legs, and developing the size of your arms, you’ll begin to notice just how weak others’ legs, and small their arms, tend to be. You’ll realize that people tend not to focus on the same aspects of personal development that you do, whether that be in body or in mind. In your attempts to improve yourself, it’ll be easy to want to point out how others are failing to do so. It’ll be easy to take advantage of someone’s lack of strength with your own developments.
This article suggests that you should not seek to verbally expose others’ weaknesses, specifically in terms of mental strength. You’ll have team members whose nerves get the best of them during important presentations. You’ll come across people who are bad at taking criticism, serving to put a cap on their own improvement. The people you meet will display a vast variety of mental weaknesses during your interactions with them. As you move toward general improvement of how you think and how much you know, you’ll realize more weaknesses being present in others’ way of being. Notice these weaknesses, but be careful communicating that you know about them.
Dealing With Emotion Is Harder Than Dealing With Ignorance
If you were to tell someone that they’re bad at taking criticism during a heated exchange at work, their likely reaction to that revelation would be to push back. Having our mental weaknesses exposed by other imperfect beings makes us feel vulnerable. It makes us feel figured out, and encourages us to prove wrong the ones who are making commentary on our weaknesses. Exposing people’s mental weaknesses will encourage them to act with emotion.
The name of the game is predicting behavior. It goes without saying that an important aspect of influencing people is predicting their reactions to your words and actions. Serving to rile emotion out of those you seek to influence muddies the waters of prediction. Emotion is erratic. Emotion is random in its outputs, and emotion is difficult to reasonably, logically suppress. Emotion can cause people to react disproportionately to the stimulus for that emotion. Emotional individuals have an increased ability to cause pain and harm.
A mental weakness that you notice, is a sign of ignorance within a specific realm by the person who you’ve noticed that about. A person who is bad at taking criticism is simply ignorant to their inability to consider criticism seriously. A person who says, “um,” or, “like,” in every sentence is likely ignorant of their tendency to use filler words as they search for the correct thing to say. Ignorance is easier to deal with than emotion, if you let go of the need to educate the one in question. If your goals simply surround getting things done, and benefiting yourself in interactions, then exposing people’s mental weaknesses does you no favors.
Take advantage of your keen eye by keeping quiet, but using their own ignorance to predict their behavior going forward. For example, perhaps being complimentary of the person who is bad at taking criticism is a better way to entice their behavior to shape itself into what you want. Perhaps the reasons that you voice for assigning someone to work on excel sheets rather than to meet with stakeholders should cite their analytical skills, rather than their inability to stop saying, “um.”
Be careful exposing your analysis of people’s mental weaknesses. Take note of them, and act in a fashion which limits the damage that their weaknesses cause to you and others around you. Simply exposing weaknesses will not make them go away, especially during moments in which the person in question isn’t ready to analyze their own behavior. As a leader, you’ll need to live with the shortcomings of those you lead, and place them in positions to succeed without constantly trying to change their way of being.
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