Saw a video yesterday where Ramit Sethi answered a question from a follower, who wanted to know whether brutal honesty is something recommendable.
Ramit explains that he himself used to be brutally honest: if someone would complain about a lack of money, he’d go “Well maybe if you start getting your finances in order!”
Next, he says: “Only assholes talk like that!”
People who talk like that may be perceived in a very negative way, but does says nothing about their intentions.
I see his point, but he’s forgetting about something: The difference between intention and perception.
Because while some brutally honest people might simply be unpleasant, but lots of people just don’t know any better.
They’re not necessarily assholes – they just learned somewhere, at some point, that this is how things are done.
They might in fact be labouring with the very best intentions.
But here’s where ‘the other person’ comes in.
See, our intentions might be made of solid gold – but they amount to nothing if we get perceived as being a bully, or arrogant, or uncaring.
What matters is that our intentions manifest in the world. That’s the value of an intention.
Just like the value of an idea lies in its implementation.
If a guy or gal thinks that spewing forth harsh truths is the best way, I’d say he’s misguided sooner than an asshole.
How do I know?
Because I too used to be too brutal. Still am, sometimes, I guess.
But I’ve always had the best intentions with it – I just needed to learn what Sufis have said for centuries:
Speak to the other person at the level of his or her understanding.
When you do that, they’ll be far more receptive to the truth or opinion or message you want to share with them.
It’s a matter of openness, of allowing the other person to be receptive to you, by virtue of your first and foremost considering them and their feelings, their situation and their state.
We’re all vulnerable.
Someone who shouts at us or is harsh with us, our lizard brain perceives that as a threat and will instantly pull up barriers.
The ‘harsh truth they need to hear’ gets discarded instantly, instead of understood.
When you recognise that the other person has doubts and fears and worries that you need to adjust your message to, they listen to you.
That’s why listening is such an important part of my LEAP marketing philosophy.
Listening to people’s doubts and worries, understanding their fears, recognising the keywords they use when talking about the problem for which you have a solution.
Get that right, and you can deliver any harsh truth you want, nicely wrapped in silky soft “I get you, I understand what you’re going through”.
And you bet people will respond when they feel you’re with them, instead of against them.
Anyway, Ramit made a good point. But by sharing his ‘harsh truth’, calling everyone who dishes out brutally honest comments an asshole – guess what? He gave me the feeling that he’s the asshole.
Interesting, no? Talk about good intentions getting lost in the message…
Ah, good ole psychology. Love it.
If you want to learn the inner workings of this type of thing, so that you can get your intentions across and be perceived without being mistaken for someone you’re not, you can get that for about $2.5 a day if you sign up for the LEAP newsletter.
Not a bad investment for someone who’s in business, in my not at all humble opinion.
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