Adler, the progenitor of individual psychology, espoused in his tome “Comprehending the Essence of Human Nature” that the most rudimentary depths of the human psyche harbor an innate yearning for recognition and the attainment of a sense of preeminence.
A century has elapsed, and the essence of human nature remains largely unaltered. Exploiting this very facet, the Internet ingeniously employs it to incessantly promote personally favored content. When one beholds that which is desired, it engenders a fallacious presumption of superiority. Emotions, resolutely, ensnare individuals within the confines of cognition’s labyrinth.
To garner the favor of others, one must prioritize the elevation of the other person’s sense of superiority.
1. Refrain from divulging any accomplishments or elation
Franklin aptly stated: Soliciting a small favor from others is an expedient means to create a favorable impression.
Why does this hold true? Requesting a trifling favor swiftly augments an individual’s sense of superiority and elation sans exertion. When one basks in a joyous disposition, a smile graces their countenance, thus rendering it effortless for you to leave a lasting impression upon them.
Sharing any of your triumphs and jubilation is tantamount to asserting superiority over others. It engenders personal gratification while concurrently causing discontent in others, and even constitutes a grave transgression against their sense of superiority.
Should you boast about your child’s scholastic achievements to a parent whose own offspring is academically unexceptional, or expound upon your parents’ remarkable acumen in maintaining fitness to an individual whose own parents suffer from ill health, you deplete the reservoir of goodwill within others’ minds and test their patience.
Though the inclination to share accomplishments and joys may seem like a normal urge for self-expression, one must exercise discernment in choosing the recipients of such revelations. Aside from those who hold the deepest affection for you and bask in the benefits of your successes and joys, scarcely anyone truly cares about your progress.
Those who hold disdain for you will quietly distance themselves due to your progress, as it diminishes their complacent sense of superiority. Your closest confidant may outwardly extend congratulations for your achievements, yet covertly seethe with envy, for your triumphs also undermine their standing.
Among intimate companions, it is always most endearing to exchange banalities, sorrows, and tribulations. Those who possess the knack for self-deprecating humor often find it easiest to win the favor of their friends, for it fosters the perception that their friends lead more fulfilling lives than their own.
Human nature dictates that individuals invariably prioritize their own concerns over those of others. If fostering a harmonious rapport with others is your objective, it is imperative to divert the focus and attention toward the other person.
The most efficacious means of pleasing others without depleting oneself lies not in insincere flattery, but rather in assuming a supporting role, being an attentive listener, silently amplifying the other person’s sense of superiority, and refraining from disclosing any of your accomplishments and joys, for you cannot ascertain when you might inadvertently affront someone’s dignity.
2. Abstain from attempting to alter others’ perceptions
The most fatuous endeavor imaginable is to correct the perceptions of others.
In his short story “Rain,” Maugham portrays an exceedingly persistent clergyman. This zealous priest aspired to save the soul of a prostitute ensnared within a hotel’s confines, thus he employed every resource at his disposal to implore the governor and beseech the prostitute to depart on the earliest vessel back to her hometown after the deluge, thereby commencing a new existence.
At the behest of the prostitute, who teetered on the edge of a nervous breakdown, the priest doggedly insisted on visiting her room daily to offer prayers.
Just as the priest neared exhaustion, convinced of his imminent success, his lifeless body, razor in hand, was discovered strewn across the beach.
The prostitute swiftly reverted to her true nature, filling her room with music and resuming a dissolute lifestyle.
The priest would likely forever remain oblivious to the values cherished by prostitutes. Each individual possesses their own quest for personal superiority. Even if it entails debasement, within her realm, it equates to happiness.
The surest way for an individual to sabotage a relationship is by endeavoring to plant seeds in another’s mind and awaiting their blossoming.
Wang Xiaobo imparted: “Do not use others’ minds as henhouses, laying eggs without instructing them on what to do next.”
Attempting to assume the role of teacher or indiscriminately imparting truths, endeavoring to rectify others’ misguided perceptions when they are unprepared, not only fails to elicit gratitude for your benevolence but may also incite anger in others.
When confronted with another’s blatant errors, one must exercise caution before speaking. Should your emotional intelligence falter, refrain from dragging those who are poisedto leap into the fiery abyss. Furthermore, remember that the inferno is meant solely for you. It may very well be the other person’s source of happiness. A woolen shroud, indeed!
Do not become the young lad who unveils the truth about the Emperor’s New Clothes. Those who relish persuading others, who revel in their wit and outspokenness, must ponder upon the priest’s demise and Yang Xiu’s fate before uttering a word.
In solitude, we can embrace our true selves. However, within the intricate web of interpersonal connections, it is incumbent upon us to assume the role of an honest supporting character. Refrain from sharing any of your accomplishments and joys, desist from attempting to alter others’ perceptions, and place the sense of superiority of others above your own. By relinquishing the halo of the protagonist to others, by fostering their happiness, you shall cultivate goodwill, secure your own interests, and find solace of mind.