One aspect of achieving success in life that many people never think about or discuss is the idea of social intelligence.
In his book, Mastery, Robert Greene defines social intelligence as “the ability to see people in the most realistic light possible”.
In other words, social intelligence is all about reading other people and figuring out the reasons why they behave the way they do. Think of it as your ability to think from another person’s perspective.
When you have a “run in” with someone whether it is a heated argument or just a subtle confrontation, do you find yourself getting wrapped up in your own emotions and assuming a position of defensiveness?
Or do you separate yourself from the emotion of the situation and put yourself in the other person’s shoes trying to see the world as they see it?
Most people opt for option #1 not because they want to, but because they are unaware that there is a better, more rewarding option.
As you develop your social intelligence, you will find that you naturally become more persuasive and appealing to people of all kinds of personality types.
Instead of trying to force your ideals and opinions on someone who’s view of the world doesn’t match yours, you alter your approach to appeal to their nature. It doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your own beliefs and adopt theirs, it just means that you choose to suppress your opinion because you know it is a useless battle to enter.
For example, if someone is ranting and raving about a political or cultural issue, and you don’t agree at all, you let them sound off and hold your opinion to yourself. You can let them blow off some steam and just reply with something like, “I can see why that would be frustrating.”
Again, you don’t have to agree with them and compromise your own beliefs, but you also are not required to share your opinion.
Something very powerful happens when you choose this approach. You get to study and examine how this person thinks, what makes them tick, what makes them get emotional. You can use all of these triggers as ammo when you are dealing with them in the future.
Knowing this information, you can customize your approach when you deal with them in the future. If you need a favour or if you have to do a project with this person, you will be in a much stronger position to persuade them and speak/behave in ways that will win them over.
So the next time you come across someone who rubs you the wrong way or has a difficult personality, use it as an opportunity to enhance your social intelligence and you will gain more personal power than you had before. This power will only continue to grow the more you use it!