A new year opens the path for so many things. Through the holiday “break” we step outside of the daily grind to celebrate, reflect and resolve, take stock, to add or subtract according to what we find.
I’m thankful that my basic needs are met so I can focus on what may be getting in the way of things outside of survival. At this time, those things involve figuring out how to move forward in a true mode of self-expression. So what’s getting in the way of that?
Where I’ve always been lacking is feeling comfortable in social situations. I’m an unmistakable introvert and feel like there’s a big mark on my forehead saying so. I gain energy being at home, and unless it’s a kind of necessity, I choose to stay home or in a homelike environment. But humans are social creatures which means it’s in everyone’s interest to become better communicators.
In reading Robert Greene’s Mastery about the habits and processes of historic and contemporary masters, we learn none of these individuals at the top of their fields could have made it to such a high level of discovery without interacting with the world in a certain way.
Overall, a good read, here are a few notes gleaned from Mastery on social intelligence/rationality:
- Look through others’ eyes to get a sense of their needs
- See foolishness in yourself to accept it in others
- Detach and reflect; disengage emotions especially those based on insecurities
- Understand counterforces and conformities that are present
- Direct desire, patience, persistence, and confidence
- Notice nonverbal cues in others’ decisions and actions
- Read and decode the signs
- Completely and radically accept human nature
- Pay attention to (patterns in) your past battles, mistakes, tensions, disappointments
- Base ideas on what you’ve seen then analyze
- Like Charles Darwin, become an astute observer in order to navigate and avoid costly mistakes
- Like Benjamin Franklin, still your ego and look outward in order to view people through the lens of their emotional needs
I will be sure to refer to these points throughout 2016. As for closing the gate on 2015: Did I arrive at any personal benchmarks? I say yes.
Looking even further back: Years ago, having a job, car, and financial independence appeared to be a distant dream. Now when I realize I’m in a situation that I used to want so very much, I need to remind myself to acknowledge the personal work and other forces that contributed to getting here. That way, I can allow myself to be more daring – in what is possible within each coming year.
Greene, R. (2012). Mastery. London, England: Viking Penguin.