Every human being is right. Every person has one similar trait - that they are right.
People do what they do because they believe that what they do is the right thing to do. People don't purposely do the wrong thing. Their mind, body, and spirit are in agreement with what they are doing, even if what they are doing is inherently wrong, in the opinion of others. "My boyfriend dumped me - he is such a bad person, why would he do that?" I'll tell you why, because he knows that he did the right thing. Hitler killed many people, why? Because he believed that it was the right thing to do. In contrast, Edward Jenner saved many people by inventing the first vaccine against Smallpox. He too, believed he did what was right. Many thought that Nelson Mandela was a hero, yet, some believe that he was a terrorist. Disagreement naturally arises amongst us, but does it have to? This blog is controversial, different and most certainly, not for the soft-hearted. If you are easily offended, I recommend that you stop reading this blog, pick up a love story and read it, or even better, watch The Notebook.
For fun, let's begin by discussing government politics. It is by far, one of the most ridiculous things I have ever come across in my time here on earth. Just absurd. An entire nation believing that voting will result in the election of a president that will perfectly match the nation's needs. I hate to burst your bubble if this is you, but, this is never going to happen. Not once in history, was an entire nation thrilled by the election of a president. Everyone is right in their opinion; therefore, it is impossible for an entire nation to be happy about a president. Unless everyone has the same opinion, it will never happen. The Christians will be upset if the president supports gay marriage, the gays will not. The atheists will be excited about Christmas being called Xmas, the Christians will not. The vegans are hard to please unless the president eradicates meat and animal products from industry, and then, upon the occurrence of such a rare event, the meat eaters will soon thereafter begin their protests. It is impossible to please both the Christians and the atheists at the same time, similarly the vegans and the meat eaters. My point is this - the only solution to politics is the removal of it, and we all know this is currently a near impossibility. However, it is the only solution, and that is because everyone is right. The vegans are right - animals should not be eaten, after all, they are alive and can think for themselves and have personalities, families, and dignity just like humans, but, the meat eaters, well, that's rather self-explanatory - they eat that which should not be eaten according to vegans, yet, in their opinion, they are right. Instead of a government, a better solution is a range of communities, run by elders that share the same values as the followers within those communities. After all, no one wants to follow someone that disagrees with them. I do not follow Malcolm Turnbull, the former Prime Minister of Australia. I do not agree with any of his beliefs and values, and as a result, I do not follow him. Riots only occur when a large group of people do not have the opportunity to follow a leader that share their values and believes. Simple. Imagine if every suburb is a community, and within each community, there is a group of people that share the same values. These communities would not need to raise 40% tax like some nations. 5% would probably do it, and these communities will be run perfectly according to their own goals which will be unique and collaboratively agreed upon. This is a great model, and not as ridiculous as an entire nation following one man to represent them all.
"Man is not free unless government is limited." Ronald Reagan
Think about an atheist for example - they choose to believe that they come from nowhere. They choose to make that choice. Christians on the other hand, choose to believe that have been created for a purpose and are loved by God. Both are right. I'm a Christian, and therefore, I believe that atheists are wrong, but just because I believe that they are wrong doesn't mean that I should tell them that they are wrong. The act of telling them that they are wrong doesn't make any sense. It is similar to telling a person that drinks water to hydrate, that the act of drinking water will, in fact, dehydrate them. They will look at you like you misplaced your brain, and can't find it. They know that drinking water will hydrate them. Unless you have substantial evidence that they are wrong, it is better to keep your thoughts to yourself. Instead of telling an atheist that they are wrong, it is best to simply share your thoughts, and values with them, and to love them.
"Love is something that can be done toward someone else, not something that just happens."
Understanding that all humans are right places us on a platform from which we can view the world. Living with this "humans are right" mentality enables us to understand others. Every human in the world today longs to be understood and to feel important. Now, how can anyone be understood if they are told that they are wrong? And, how can anyone feel important if they are not listened to? Let me give you a snapshot of a recent conversation I had with a vegan at a networking event:
Tom (real name not used here): Wiehann, why do you eat meat?
Wiehann: Because meat contains ten times more protein than vegetables.
Tom: But, can't you get protein from other vegan sources such as vegan protein powders?
Wiehann: Yes I can, and they are far more expensive.
Tom: Yes, but you should because it is respectful towards the animals.
Wiehann: Tom, you are right. I guess the reason I haven't is because it is costly. I need to budget.
Tom: Are you saying that your budget is more important than the lives of animals?
Wiehann: What I am saying that you are right, and, I am also saying that, in order for us to change the behavior of the whole world, we must work to reduce the price of vegan alternatives.
The conversation continued, and by the end of it, Tom was excited about speaking on some strategies on how we can tackle the meat-eating issue. By simply understanding that he is right and that I too am right, we were able to have a deep heart to heart conversation about something that he was passionate about - animals. If I immediately disagreed with him, we most probably would never have made acquaintance with one another. I also, always, use the word 'and' instead of 'but.' One is negative and one is positive. When you fill conversations with words that are positive, the conversation naturally follows in a positive direction. Having the perspective that someone is right enables us to quickly build rapport with others. Rapport is made complicated by many so-called "gurus" in the world today, yet, it is very simple - building rapport is all about maximizing sameness and minimizing differences. But, how can we increase sameness if we tell them they are wrong? Doing so will not increase sameness, and will instead, maximize differences. If you love Rugby, you do not hang with a bunch of Tennis players, no, you hang with your Rugby friends at a pub, have a beer and speak tackles, scrummage, and broken bones. A relationship occurs when two or more people are in relation to one another. To relate is to be in connection with, in other words, to have similarity and to establish rapport. For example, a tennis player hanging with a rugby player won't be able to converse about tennis with the rugby player unless the rugby player is equally interested in tennis. There needs to be some core elements of similarity between people for rapport to occur.
"The building of rapport is the occurrence of sameness between people; differences, the flames that burn it down."
We must maximize sameness to build rapport. All humans have something in common. All! This makes it easier: By knowing that every individual with whom we converse with has some similarities to us, we can do our best to identify what those similarities are and then make them evident in the discussion. Be similar in every possible way. The Rugby player, despite his many 'manly' interests, will have certain other interests that are similar to the Tennis player, and, if these two individuals can bypass their differences and find their similarities, they can relate and establish rapport with one another. Many take it farther and imply that having the same body movements and gestures, rhythm of breath, energy level and tone of voice as the person with whom they converse, is important. I believe that every one of these has its time and place to be used. For example, you don't want to mimic anyone, and you may not want to raise your voice when someone else raises theirs. Although, the rhythm of breath and energy level is very important. A quiet and laid back person, in the moment, probably doesn't want to be contacted or visited by an overly enthusiastic and energetic salesman. Rhythm of breath works softly, yet powerfully. These are the small things that you can work on over time, however, let's start with the basics of maximizing sameness:
The reality is, that people like people like them. People are naturally infatuated by themselves. Nothing wrong with this, its human nature. Every single friend that you have had, and every single friend that you have in your life, has had and have the same mindset, mentality, interests, and likes and dislikes as you. Maybe not exactly the same but they are closely correlated. If you are passionate about manufacturing, you join groups and follow people and companies that also, are related to, or passionate about manufacturing. If you are a musician, you follow other musicians and bands in your preferred genre. If you are a singer, you follow great singers that sing songs that you like. You follow people that you like. A young lad passionate about football most probably follows a football team, perhaps Arsenal or maybe Chelsea, not a Netball team. At a minimum, you like people that like what you like, that are passionate about what you are passionate about. I love ten pin bowling - it's something I love doing. One of my friends, Matt, is also passionate about it. We even purchased our own personalized/customized bowling balls and we bowl together frequently. We have many similar interests and passions; we also have many dissimilar passions and interests. Yet, these dissimilarities are not evident in our friendship. We don't bring up our opposites - we only bring up our similarities. Ten pin bowling, gaming, paintballing to name a few. I guess you can say that my friend, Matt, is my leisure friend. I'm a Christian, he is not and many of our values are very dissimilar, however, we focus on the similarities. We have identified the similarities and we have decided to focus on that. Sometimes we discuss our differences but we discuss it as a way of understanding. We share our values with one another as a way of strengthening our friendship, understanding each other better. Is this the way you share your values with others or do you share it in a way that causes tension and distance?
"People like people like them."
The reality is that every person in the world has been raised differently. We do not have the capacity to understand fully why people say what they say and do what they do. We just know upon its occurrence, what has been said and what has been done. How can we fully understand? We can't because we are not them. I'll be honest, I completely disagree with feminism and I am a gentleman. Yet, when I meet a feminist, I work hard to understand them and maximize sameness with them. I do not, immediately, point out that I am a gentleman and disagree with their beliefs. What would such an action accomplish? Absolutely nothing! They will still have the same opinion upon hearing my thoughts. I have the same approach when speaking with an atheist; if I was an atheist, I would have experienced life differently. I would not have been raised by Christian parents, a spiritual culture or associated with friends that are spiritual, just to name a few examples. My point is that the upbringing, friendships, culture, family, surroundings, interests and life experiences, over time, cause people to have certain beliefs. These factors are different for every person, every time. As a result, how dare we question their opinions? We will have the same opinion if we were them. Many Christians wear a wristband that says, "What would Jesus do?" Great wristband for Christians, however, for Christians and non-christians, I believe that everyone should wear a wristband, physically or psychologically, that states, "What would they do?" When you converse with people, ask yourself subconsciously, "what would they do?" Doing so immediately takes you from selfishness to selflessness. In a state of selflessness, we are able to take into consideration the life of someone else, we begin to understand, and we begin to at least try, to think like them. Ever had somebody say to you, "if I was you, I would...?" We hear this many times especially when someone provides us with advice. I always find this funny because, the reality is that, they can't be me and they could not have been me, and, therefore, if they were me, they would have done exactly the same thing I did/would do because, well, they would be me. If someone else were you, they would do exactly what you are doing now, and would have done exactly what you have done because they are you. Keep this in mind when relating to others because, if you were them, you would have done what they did. Is there someone in your life that offended you or spoke lies behind your back? Or, did you recently experience an event where someone did or said something that was wrong, in your opinion? Understand that whatever it is that they said, or they did, they said/did it because they believed it was the right thing to say and/or do. If you were them, you would have done it too. So, let's ask the question, "what would they do?" so that we can try to think like others and understand them. We may just be able, by understanding them, to maximize sameness.
The opposite is also important to consider, and that is to minimize differences. We need to minimize differences all the time. Not doing so will result in disagreement with others, which leads to separation; not agreement, which leads to sameness. It's all about minimizing differences, not maximizing it. Let's say that someone that has a different core value to yours - Christianity vs atheism, don't focus on the difference in values, but instead focus on sameness. Maybe the atheist likes soccer and watched a couple of games recently that you also saw. Speak about that. Find out what he/she loves. There is always something that they love that you also, will love. Don't forget that people like people like them.
The important lesson for leaders is the need to increase similarities and minimize differences amongst followers. In an organization, this is important to consider. That person you want to employ - do they have similar values, ideologies, believes, traits, interests, and hobbies as those currently employed in the organization? If they don't, they might not fit in that well. I have seen this happen countless times in companies. I have also seen the good side where every staff member simply fits. In these moments, it is possible to establish a family culture. Laughter, joy, and love of the job occur in organizations where followers have unique similarities they share with one another. It is even better when an organization has staff that shares the same core values, and I'm not talking about a company' missions statement here. Here are some values that I have: commitment, perseverance, reliability, and honesty, just to name a few. I commit to the task at hand; I never give up; I am reliable, and I am honest. These are some of my values so, it is very rare for me to deviate from them. Based on these values, it is clear that I will not like to be situated amongst or even be acquainted with people that are irresponsible, apathetic, unreliable and devious. People with these core values, without trying to be abrupt, are not the type of people I actively pursue as friends, associates or business partners. Here's my point - as leaders, we should ensure, as best we can, that our followers have similar values or at least the values that we want to be established in the culture of the organizations we run. When we do this, not only do we increase the likelihood of rapport amongst staff, but also the possibility of a culture that matches that which we want to build. Recently, we inducted a staff member, and we decided to induct him, based not only on his experience but his values. We asked ourselves, "Does the person we want to employ have the same values as us?" We ask this of ourselves, every time. Our latest addition to the team did possess the same values as our entire management team and company culture, and man was that a great decision. The new staff member instantly established rapport with the other staff members. Within two days, he found his feet in the company and is passionate about coming to work. Isn't that cool? A lot of times, people speak about expanding their network, however, what if I told you that you already have a big enough network? Its more about improving the quality of your network than it is about expanding it, and the way to do that, is by maximizing similarity within your network. High net worth and successful people hang with people that too, are successful.
"The only way to influence people is to talk in terms of what the other person wants." Dale Carnegie
Maximizing sameness is also imperative to the sale of a product. A salesman that fails to understand a potential client, that fails to understand that maybe, they are always right, will never be able to sell a single product to that client. The first step to selling products is flexibility within the product range. Flexibility allows a salesman to change and adapt to the needs of a client. The second step is to understand that "the customer is always right!" How many times have you heard it? Many times, right? But, not many people believe it. I certainly hope, that by now, I have convinced you that they are always right, well that is if your clients are humans. The actions of an individual are the result of their understanding that those actions lead them to a benefit. A customer will buy a product if they understand that the action of purchasing the product will be of benefit to them. This is the case with everything that has ever happened. Ever! Think of any radical historical event, and think about that event and why it occurred - somewhere in your research, you will see that it occurred because somebody in that moment knew that it was a beneficial thing to do. Think of the Berlin Wall, when it was torn down - the benefit here was the end of the communist rule and the birth of the voice of the people. The wall initially separated the communist world from everyone else. My point here is that everything is done for the benefit that it provides. A potential client only purchases a product when it provides them with a benefit. Even if your clients are not right and need to be taught about the product, which is often the case when it comes to a new product that has been released, the fact still remains that no one, including you, knows the customer more than they know themselves, and therefore, we must work hard to understand them. Only then will we know what to sell to them. They might not know the product you are selling as well as you, but they most certainly know themselves better than you know them, and isn't that what matters? After all, you are not selling the product, you are selling the benefit the product provides - a solution, and as a result, you need to know what problem the client has. Many times, people fail to understand their customer, and this is a recipe for disaster.
"If you can see things through their eyes, you can sell them what they want."
It is better to fully understand the customer than it is to fully understand the product you are selling. All you need to know about your product is the benefit it provides, for example, a filtering tap provides clean drinking water, a solution to a problem - the existence of dirty water. You don't need to fully understand the ins and outs of how the filtering tap works, but you need to know; that it works and solves the problem; understand the customer and their needs, and most importantly whether the customer has a dirty water problem in their lives. Recently, I listened to a conversation a colleague was having with an owner of a cinema, one of the smaller players in the local cinema market. My colleague sent an email with a link to our website. The website indicated what we do, quite clearly in fact. The first issue was the fact that the cinema owner did not click on the link, but instead, only read the inquiry email. So, clearly, the owner had no interest in understanding the needs of the client. My colleague, in order to rectify the salesmen' lack of understanding, continued on to explain what we do. Our need was to advertise in one cinema, located in an area we wanted to target. Here is where flexibility in the product range is key - the owner immediately said upon hearing our request, "we have one option available and that is our $20k per annum package, to advertise in 15 cinemas in Australia." What? I'm not joking here. My colleague immediately asked, "we want to advertise in only one of your cinemas in the Mitcham area, is this a possibility?" In response, the owner said, "we only have one option, sir." My colleague hung up the phone. I have had many experiences like this. It is imperative to be flexible and to understand anyone you converse with - what benefit do they want/need?
"Everything that has ever been said or done was for the benefit of saying or doing it."
Every human is right, and as a result, we must choose to tailor our words and actions in such a way that we can be valuable to those we speak to. Of course, we should do this without compromising our values. Our lives are similar to the sales examples mentioned above because our lives are products and we must sell ourselves, our preferences, ideas, products and more. You can avoid selling yourself if you wanted, but then you will end up being one of those stay at home without friends type people. A way in which we can sell ourselves is by maximizing similarity and minimizing differences. Parenting is another great example. Let's say that a father of a young teenage boy finds that his son always refuses to make his bed. Instead of scolding the boy, a better alternative is to communicate to the boy the benefits of doing what he believes is right, in this case, to make the bed. A young teenage boy, of course, will not make up his bed. The benefits of not making up his bed are huge: no energy required, mum will do it for him, saves time which can be used to play with toys. There are so many benefits, and therefore, in his opinion, it is the right thing to do. A parent should explain the benefits of making a bed, and these benefits must be relevant to the teenage boy. An example could be, that if he makes his bed every day during the week, he can have an extra hour of Xbox gaming per week. If the boy wants to become a successful businessman when he is older, you can share with the boy, the importance of having success habits, and how learning to make his bed every day is key to his future becoming revealed in him. Now, here is the powerful thing - recent research out of the University College London found that it only takes 21 days to form a habit and 66 days to create it. Ideally, you want your children to create the habit. So, the trick is to make it so beneficial that they do it for more than 66 days. After this time, their mind will subconsciously identify making their bed as a beneficial activity, and then, making their bed becomes the right thing to do, in contrast to not making it initially. And here we have another reason why humans are always right. They are right because they believe that the thing they are "right about" is the most beneficial thing for them to do, say or be. Whether you believe they are right or not, really, is irrelevant - what is, however, relevant to them is the benefits of being right. If you want someone to admit that they are wrong when they currently believe they are right, you must make it clear to them that the benefits of being wrong far outweighs the benefits of being right. Sounds simple right? It is when it comes to parenting young children, and even teenagers, but, it's not that easy when it comes to our relationships with adults. As they say, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." This is true in many cases when it comes to embedded values and core believes, over time. However, when it comes to daily actions, words spoken and activities, it is possible to showcase the benefits in such a way that people change their perspectives and/or make a decision. In business, we call this sales. Ever walked into a shop and purchased something you didn't need? Yes, we all have. You walk in there knowing what the right thing is to do - not to buy a pair of shoes because you have plenty and don't need any. Along comes this flashy sales guy, and explains a tonne of benefits perfectly directed at your wants and needs. In almost an instant, you buy the shoes. From one right thing to do - not buying the shoes, to another - buying the shoes. Let's adapt this 'humans are always right' mentality in our lives and begin to view people's thoughts, actions, and motives differently. You might even make more friends along the journey. I can safely say, that this mindset I have shared with you in this blog, has enabled me to grow my network 10x over the past five years, and now, I have one of two problems all the time; I either have too many friends or too little time to catch up with them all. I hope too that you can experience these two problems - they are great problems to have.
Points to ponder:
Who in your life did something that was right, but, was wrong from your perspective? Do you still have a relationship with them? If not, what are some ways in which you can rectify the relationship? In what area of your life can you apply this blog?
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