Your plans and schemes are most powerful when they catch others by surprise.
Unpredictability helps draw attention to the positive actions you commit. Unpredictability can mean allowing others to hear you sing beautifully for the first time, and may govern the act of solving a Rubik’s cube when someone hands you one by chance. You can take advantage of the positive attention you garner by being unpredictable and surprising others in your social interactions.
This article is about establishing unpredictability and using it to your advantage in social situations.
Why Unpredictable People Have the Upper Hand
The people you speak with anticipate the words you’re about to utter. We consistently try to predict what the reactions of those we interact with will be, and try to plan around those predictions. We send inquiries, messages, and signs to others, then, our minds wander prior to receiving a response.
If someone goes on to act in ways which we completely fail to anticipate, they have an upper hand until further analysis allows us to understand their motivations. In being unpredictable, their reaction cannot be effectively responded to until we study its mechanics.
Why did they react the way they did? What is the most appropriate response to their unpredictable reaction? Questions such as these must first be answered prior to responding to someone who acts in unpredictable ways.
Your unpredictability should preferably highlight a positive disruption from the perspective of those who analyze you. It is easy to be unpredictable to a point of hurting your social standing in the eyes of others. To be unpredictable enough to be respected however, is a trickier undertaking.
This article aims to encourage you to be unpredictable by not doing things that are easy or desirable, and keeping tabs on what you defend. Staying away from these two traits will encourage unpredictability in your words and actions and is a simple, practical, guiding principle to operate by.
What Is Easy
People have a sensitive radar for what is easy. If you are faced with picking one of two paths which differ in difficulty, those who look on will expect you to pick the easier one to travel on. If you make it a habit of picking the difficult path in life, onlookers will be surprised, and their respect will be garnered.
Our respect is commanded by those who do things we find difficult to do.
Those who acknowledge your tendency to tackle difficult tasks will respect you. They will seek advice, and they will follow your lead in the things you find interest in.
The act of taking a difficult path can be completed within social interactions too. Honestly apologizing for a mistake is more difficult than trying to find excuses for your behavior. Saying, “I’ll miss you,” is more difficult than merely saying goodbye to a friend who’s flying off to another country for a while. Practice saying what’s difficult for you to say, and placing yourself in positions which are difficult for you to be in, socially. If you practice acting and speaking in a positive manner which most would tend to shy away from, you will be memorable in the mind of your listener.
If you’re evaluating options of next steps – whether physically or cognitively – try veering toward the path which is the more difficult one once in a while. You will be unpredictable in your habit of doing so, and people will be caught pleasantly off-guard when you volunteer yourself to bear the responsibility that taking difficult paths in life entails.
What Is Desirable
On a similar note, desire is something people are unskilled in ignoring.
The cheesecake often looks too good pass by, and another drink often seems too seductive to turn down. Those who consistently fall victim to desire are not respected by the ones around them. A person who falls victim to the desires of the world around him/her is weak in spirit, and unhealthy in body.
Practice ignoring your desires for the sake of unpredictability.
Practice saying no to what most would say yes to based on its attractive properties. Practice overcoming sexual thoughts and mammalian urges, not indulging in sugary foods for mere oral pleasure, and not allowing anger to drive your being into a dark existence.
People have a good sense of when someone’s falling victim to desire. Seeing your friend keep reaching for another beer educates you on how well they cope with desire. The same goes for someone who cannot walk down the street without commenting on their desire to fondle the attractive people that they see. People who fall victim to desire, let desire control their thoughts, actions, and others’ opinions about them. They are not respected by the people who study their desires and seemingly call every next move.
Practice ignoring and overcoming the tendency to indulge in the desirable fruits of the life you live. Be respected for your ability to take commanding ownership of your actions rather than allowing desire to steer you through the life you live. People will be pleasantly surprised if you are successful in this regard, and will be naturally drawn to you for your traits of mental fortitude.
What You Defend
Tasking someone to not expose their position on a particular subject will produce predictable results. That individual will likely try their hand at being noncommittal to whatever questions you ask. They’ll provide convoluted, open-ended answers to closed-ended questions as they try to place the pressure to continue discourse back on you.
Your more astute subjects would understand that remaining unpredictable goes deeper than simply not answering direct questions and not unveiling your position. There are important nuances to keep tabs on as you attempt to remain unpredictable in your stances and your plans.
Once of the more common pitfalls people fall into is unveiling their stances, positions, and plans by defending them against others’ assumptions and observations.
Though someone may not directly unveil where they plan to apply for their next position, they will feel the need to defend their desired places to work against any demeaning dialogue that they hear. Should the go on to land a job at those organizations, their strategy would be considered to have been predictable in hindsight.
The association of your self-worth to the plans, strategies, and ideas you intend to keep under wraps entices you to defend the logistics which surround them.
For example: You might not feel like telling anyone about your new ketogenic diet in hopes of impressing them with weight-loss results down the line. You might however, be pulled into feeling the need to defend the concepts, benefits, or methodologies of ketogenic diets when a colleague of yours questions its validity by chance. In light of your defense, you’ll be pressured to expose the previously unpredictable fact of you being on a ketogenic diet.
The main reason why defending things makes you more predictable is because any effective defense relies on good reasoning and evidence. In hopes of reaching for evidence, recital of your experiences, thoughts, opinions, and stances is far too difficult to refrain from.
Being compelled to defend the positions we haven’t yet publicized is a trap which is often discovered only once we fall for it. The things you defend are just as capable of forcing you into a position of unveiling your position and plans, except the process is slower and difficult to foresee.
In the News
Read our analyses of current events by becoming a Patron.
- How People Ruin First Impressions During Small Talk
- How to Handle People Who Mask Ignorance by Taking Over the Conversation
- How to Deal With Needy Managers – A 3-Step Approach
- How to Make Authoritative / Powerful People Like You Quickly
- Why You Should Fill the Kettle With More Water Than You’ll Drink