Thinking about others

Yesterday, I finished reading Ori and Rom Brafman's latest book: Click - The Magic of Instant Connections. Their new book is loaded with great stories of people feeling like they clicked when they first met. It shows the benefits to thinking differently than we are usually doing when we don't click with someone. Rather than summarize the message of this useful book, I'll extract the lessons in it for the ways we can find freedom by changing how we're thinking about others.

1. When we think we're in danger of being criticized, rejected or mocked, we get defensive. Rather than let our guard down, we put up walls of self-righteousness. If we think in the opposite way, it's likely we'll click with the others. To make ourselves vulnerable, we need to use humbled thinking which admits we might be wrong or disappointing. We show them respect by valuing their assessment or our qualifications, worth or contribution.

2. When we think we're too far apart to seem recognizable or familiar to others, we create that experience. We assume we're a stranger to them when we pass by. We fail to smile, say hi or start a conversation. When we think in the opposite way, we create the contrary experience. We think we've been close enough for others to regard us as familiar. We offer a knowing smile, friendly hello and start of conversation that can generate an instant connection.

3. When we're struggling with what to say and do, our panicked thinking makes us seem to others as aloof, insensitive and self-obsessed. We put others off with our insecurities. When we're in the zone and flowing with a inspired sense of what to say and do, we naturally click with others. We create the impression of being in a great place that includes the others without any apprehensions.

4. When we dwell on our differences, we create more evidence of how dissimilar we "really" are. We shoot down the possibilities of what we have in common. We see others as "them", not one of "us". When we think we have a lot in common, we see proof that makes us right about that. We get how similar we "really" are. We speak and act on that basis which generates lots of rapport.

5. When our struggles are private and our pain is strictly personal, others keep to themselves as well. We assume nobody cares enough to trouble them with our heavy burden. When we think we're in the same boat with others, we naturally share what we're going through amidst our common adversity. We comfort others and lend them a hand in light of our intimate familiarity with their struggles, pain and limitations.

6. When others look to us as predictable, we relate to them routinely. We go through the motions of making conversation with them and find there's nothing new to explore. We create superficial and boring conversations. When others appear mysterious, fascinating and unpredictable to us, our upgraded thinking comes true. We find there is so much to discover and connect with as we cover new ground, pose new questions and relate to new facets of their lives. We learn a lot which fuels our further explorations in follow-up conversations.

Perhaps you're recognizing a pattern here. We always have a choice between different ways to think. Some ways are better than others in giving us freedom from unwanted experiences, emotions and thinking. Every way we think creates self-confirming experiences. We get to be right in our own little worlds even if it's lonely and we're feeling misunderstood. We can get out of those enclosures of self-torment by changing our thinking.

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