How to understand how people think

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How to understand how people think

Understanding the people around us is one critical skill that one must learn to communicate better. Even though in order to master it, one must read more in different fields of human psychology and behavior, body language and personality analysis, this article will give you some great tips that you can instantly apply for great results.

Why are people bad?

Are people really bad?
Believe it or not, people are psychologically wired to be good. To prove it to you very simply I will give you a small brief on how your emotional system works.

Your emotions work all day on making sure you do the right thing. When you’re not studying, your brain will send you the emotions of fear so you can stop wasting time and go back to studying.

When you’re doing something that you know is not right, your brain will send you emotions of guilt so that you stop what you are doing and do the right thing. Even when you are not helping yourself, your brain will send you sad feelings or even depression to push you to get up and fix the things that are not going right for you. (see also Understanding your emotions)

What motivates people to behave the way they do

So even the people around who seem to be absolutely fine being mean to other people or doing things that could harm other people, they are actually not feeling psychologically stable. You cannot feel internal calmness when you are not acting fair no matter how well you justify it to yourself. You won’t experience internal calm as a standard set point.

Whenever people do something that is hurtful or bad, it is done out of a certain weakness. If they steal, for example, it is out of excessive need, greed and weakness in self-discipline. When people make fun of others to make others laugh, it is a need to feel acceptance and proof of self worth. When people treat you badly even though you’ve been treating them well, then their focus is on respecting the people they fear which is a weak ideology to hold on to.

And so on, whenever you see someone behaving in a bad way, you have to be sure it is out of a certain weakness that they have. Now, I am not telling you this to conclude that you should forget about protecting yourself, not at all, I am telling you this because changing the way you feel from anger to feeling sorry for them, will make you behave much wiser. (see also Why some people act weird)

Make use of their internal focus

By nature, people are mainly focused on themselves.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, depends on how one uses this focus, but the main point is that this is something that will be of great use for you and will come in handy every time when trying to understand the people around you.

Invest time in making the people you want to understand talk about themselves. Show them that you are interested in what they are saying, their ideas and opinions and even the everyday things that many people may dread to listen to. The more you listen to them, you more you will have a very good background on the way these people think and react to different situations. (see How to keep the conversation going)

Each person has important unmet needs that feeds his values. It is especially important to learn the values that move these people; are they money oriented, are they people pleasers, are their careers the most important thing in their lives at the moment, do they gives respect to the ones they fear or to everyone in general?

This sort of information is learned by investing time in listening. Ask them questions as they talk to show you are interested in what they are saying and along with the information you are collecting put it together with how you see them act with other people. You have no idea how much you can collect and understand about people just by listening more. (see also How to know if someone is listening)

Grow your circle

Never take a small circle of people as your model of the world.
The more you deal with people, the more you’ll understand how people behave. Don’t depend on a few number of people and analyze humanity and yourself through them.
When you widen your circle, you will realize that many of the things you have analyzed were not necessarily correct and you always learn new things about how human beings react and interact. (see also How to analyze people's behaviour)

Abraham Maslow said, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” By meeting and dealing with different people, you will have many communication tools to experiment with rather than only a couple that you have gained through the people you see regularly. The more you deal with people, the more you will learn.

2knowmyself is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.

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