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Four Rules to Understand What Makes People Tick

Four Rules to Understand What Makes People Tick
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    Breaking down human behavior into rules might seem like a gross simplification. But even with the complexities, it is easy to fall into the same mistakes. I’d argue that many heated fights, lost sales and broken hearts are caused by a few critical errors. If you make the wrong assumptions, you’ve lost before you begin.

    By keeping in mind these rules, you can avoid repeating the same mistakes.

    Rule One: People Mostly Care About Themselves

    People aren’t thinking about you. A damaging myth to buy into is believing the amount of time you think of yourself compares to the amount of time others think of you. In reality they are nowhere close. Take a look at this chart:

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      I’ve used this example before but I believe it deserves repeating. Take a look at the different slices of this chart. The biggest is the time you spend thinking about yourself. The second is the time spent thinking about relationships, but how they affect you. What does Julie think of me? Will my boss give me a raise or fire me? Do my friends respect me or just tolerate me?

      Only a tiny sliver is devoted to empathy. Empathy is the rare occasion where you think through the perspective of another person. When I’ve discussed these ideas previously, many people argue I’m being far too generous with my chart. In reality that sliver is probably even smaller.

      This means that you occupy only a tiny percentage of a persons thoughts. Waiting for people to invite you, becoming embarrassed at a minor faux-pas or emphasizing what others think of you come from failing to use this rule. Almost all people are far too self-absorbed to notice.

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      Rule Two: People are Motivated by Selfish Altruism

      To say all behavior is strictly selfish would be misleading. It fails to account for acts of charity, ethics and why people don’t just cheat, swindle and lie all the time. Selfish altruism is a broader category that covers why people do nice things as a way to get what they want.

      By studying primates, researchers noticed four main categories of selfish altruism. I believe they are the same categories we use, even if slightly more sophisticated:

      1. Dominance – Some primates will give help as a way of asserting dominance in the group. It is as if they are saying, “Look at how powerful I am that I can give some of my resources to help you.”
      2. Reciprocity – You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. The idea is that I do a favor for you with the assumption it will be returned one day. If the cost to me is less than the benefit towards you, I might help you even if I can’t predict an immediate payback.
      3. Trade – If we both have something the other person wants, we have a reason to interact. While reciprocity is vague on the details of a payback, trade is direct.
      4. Familial – It makes sense, from an evolutionary perspective, to help those who might share your genes.

      By looking through this lens of selfish altruism, you can better make decisions. Viewing people as completely uncaring or selfish is incomplete. But expecting people to think of you constantly and do nice things for free is dangerous.

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      Rule Three: People Don’t Think Much

      I believe we drastically overestimate what we do intentionally. Subconscious patterns, environmental stimulus and programmed reflexes occur frequently, even if we later take credit for them.

      The conscious mind is a relatively new addition to the human operating system. And it’s been designed to cleverly take credit for a lot of decisions it doesn’t really make. If someone asks you to be unbiased in making a decision, it is probably best to just laugh.

      The implication of this is that appealing entirely to thoughts won’t work. Since a bulk of decision making is made in the background, you need to target that background if you want to be influential. You don’t need to be manipulative, just smart enough to recognize that snap judgments mean a lot and your communication is more than just words.

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      Rule Four: Conformity is the Norm

      You become your environment. Uniqueness and individuality tend to warp to fit the people around you. This is true of other people as it is for yourself. It means you should be careful who you pick as friends, partners and colleagues.

      This is why I believe it is important to keep a varied social group. When you interact with people from completely different backgrounds, beliefs and behaviors on a regular basis you are more likely to see different perspectives. This also means you have more control in picking who you want to be.

      Applying the Four Rules

      Here are some applications of these rules you might want to consider:

      • What layers are you communicating with? If people are selfish, self-absorbed and fail to think much, just working on the words you use isn’t enough. Everything about you is communicating something, and unless you get that message straight, the most persuasive argument won’t win anyone over.
      • Give reminders. Although some people are meticulously organized, most aren’t. Give people the reminders they need so you don’t get left out unintentionally.
      • What’s your social value? This isn’t your worth as a person, but what you have to offer in terms of other peoples needs and wants. It is easy to get depressed about human issues, if you don’t see the calculations behind it. Improve the value you offer and you can access the selfish altruism in us all.

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      Scott H Young

      Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

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      Last Updated on October 17, 2019

      How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

      How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

      You see your partner every single day. They are the first person you talk to in the morning and the last person you kiss goodnight.

      But does seeing each other day in and day out equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.

      Spending quality time with your partner is the best way to ensure your relationship stays healthy and strong. This means going above and beyond sitting together while you watch Netflix or going out for the occasional dinner. You deserve more from your relationship – and so does your spouse!

      What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without interruption. It’s a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication will build emotional intimacy and trust.

      Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not sex, necessarily (but that’s great, too!) but through hand-holding, cuddling, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection will boost partner satisfaction.[1]

      So how do you spend quality time with your partner? Here are 13 relationship tips on making the most out of your time with your partner.

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      1. Recognize the Signs

      If you want a healthy relationship, you have to learn how to recognize the signs that you need to spend more quality time together.

      Some telltale signs include:

      • You’re always on your phones.
      • You value friendships or hobbies over quality time with your spouse.
      • You aren’t together during important events.
      • You are arguing more often or lack connection.
      • You don’t make plans or date nights.
      • You’re not happy.

      If you are experiencing any of these relationship symptoms, know that quality time together can reverse the negative effects of the signs above.

      2. Try New Things Together

      Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or speak another language? How about skydive or ballroom dance?

      Instead of viewing these as solo hobbies and interests, why not involve your partner?

      Trying new activities together builds healthy relationships because it encourages spouses to rely on one another for emotional and physical support.

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      Shared hobbies also promote marital friendship, and the Journal of Happiness Studies found that marital satisfaction was twice as high for couples who viewed each other as best friends.[2]

      3. Schedule in Tech-Free Time

      Your phone is a great way to listen to music, watch videos, and keep up-to-date with friends and family. But is your phone good for your relationship?

      Many couples phone snub, or ‘phub’, one another. Studies show that phubbing can lower relationship satisfaction and increase one’s chances of depression.[3]

      Reduce those chances by removing distractions when spending quality time together and showing your partner they have your full attention.

      4. Hit the Gym as a Couple

      One way you can spend more time together as a couple is by becoming workout partners. Studies show that couples are more likely to stay with their exercise routine if they work out together.[4] Couples also work out harder than they would solo. One study found that 95 percent of couples who work out together maintained weight loss compares to the 66 percent of singles who did.[5]

      Join a gym, do at-home couples’ workouts, try couples yoga, hit the hiking trails, or get your bikes out. No matter which way you choose to exercise, these healthy activities can promote a healthy relationship.

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      5. Cook Meals Together

      Pop open a bottle of wine or put some romantic music on while you get busy – in the kitchen, of course!

      One of the best relationship tips for spending quality time together when you both have busy schedules is to cook meals together.[6]

      Spice things up and try and prepare a four-course meal or a fancy French dish together. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time together, but it also promotes teamwork.

      If all goes well, you’ll have a romantic date night meal at home that you prepared with your four hands. And if the food didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, you are guaranteed to have a laugh and create new memories together.

      6. Have a Regular Date Night

      Couples experience a greater sense of happiness and less stress when they are spending quality time together.[7] One of the biggest relationship tips for a healthy partnership is to include a date night in your weekly routine.

      The National Marriage Project found that having a weekly date night can make your relationship seem more exciting and helps prevent relationship boredom.[8] It also lowers the probability of divorce, improves your sex life, and increases healthy communication.

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      Some great ideas for what to do on your date night include:

      • Have a movie marathon – Gather up your favorite flicks and cuddle up on the couch.
      • Play games together – Cards, board games, video games, and other creative outlets are a fun way to spend quality time together.
      • Recreate your first date – Go back to that restaurant and order the same meal you did when you first got together. You can spice up your evening by pretending you’re strangers meeting for the first time and see how sexy the night gets.
      • Plan a weekend getaway – There’s nothing better than traveling with the one you love.
      • Dinner and a movie – A classic!
      • Try a new restaurant – Make it your mission to rate and try all of the Mexican restaurants/Irish pubs/Italian trattorias in your area.
      • Have a long sex session – Intimacy promotes the release of the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for a myriad of great feelings.[9]

      Here’re even more date night ideas for your reference: 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples

      Final Thoughts

      The benefits of spending quality time together are endless. Here are just some of the ways it can contribute to a healthy relationship:

      • Improves emotional and physical intimacy
      • Lowers divorce rates
      • Improves communication
      • Reduces marital boredom
      • Bonds couples closer
      • Improves friendship
      • Boosts health
      • Reduces stress

      These are all excellent reasons to start making date night a regular part of your week.

      It’s easy to have a healthy relationship when you set aside dedicated time to share with your spouse. Try new things together, make your spouse your workout buddy, and look for innovative ways to be close and connected.

      These relationship tips will bring great benefits to your marriage.

      Featured photo credit: Allen Taylor via unsplash.com

      Reference

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