The following is an excerpt from Mastery by Robert Greene. Chapter IV; see people as they are: social intelligence.
I love this book, I recommend it to anyone wanting to master their true self. And anyone who likes to read real shit.
It’s slightly edited. Peep game though.
… Let’s call this the Naive perspective. Although it is natural to have such a perspective because of the unique character of our childhood, it is also dangerous because it envelopes us in childish illusions about people, distorting our view of them. We carry this perspective with us into the adult world.
In the work environment the stakes are suddenly raised. People are no longer struggling for good grades or social approval, but for survival. Under such pressure, they reveal qualities of their characters that they normally try to conceal. They manipulate, compete, and think of themselves first. We are blindsided by this behavior and our emotions are churned up even more than before, locking us into the naive perspective.
The Naive Perspective makes us feel sensitive and vulnerable. Looking inward as to how the words and actions of others implicate us in some way, we continually misread their intentions. We project our own feelings onto them. We have no real sense of what they are thinking or what motivates them. Our attempts at influencing them are based on assumptions that they want the same things as ourselves. We think we understand people, but we are viewing them through a distorted lens. In this state, all our empathic powers at rende(red) useless.
With the inevitable mistakes we make, we become entangled in battles and dramas that consume our minds and distract us from learning. Our sense of priorities becomes warped—we end up giving far too much importance to social and political issues because we are not handling them well. If we are not careful we carry these patterns over to the next phase in life…
People who retain their childish attitudes will rarely be able to hold on to the success they may achieve through their talent.
Social intelligence is nothing more than the process of discarding the naive perspective and approaching something more realistic. It involves focusing our attention outward instead of inward, honing the observational and empathic skills that we naturally possess. It means moving past our tendency to idealize and demonize people, and seeing and accepting them as they are. It is a way of thinking that must be cultivated as early as possible.
Goddamn. That man is brilliant. It’s so relieving to read his work and just know, almost instinctually, this is truth. He relates to me in ways many won’t understand, but I’ll use his gems so maybe one day, they’ll catch on.