How is this person just like me?

Everyone is the same everywhere.

We’re all on the same side of the fence, for better and for worse. Wherever we go, we end up with the same beauty and craziness of humanity, no matter who we meet.

People are people. They generally act the same.

Now, if this sounds like a gross overgeneralization to you, let me invite you to not be so ethnocentric. Because it’s a philosophy that makes interacting and understanding others much easier. Once we accept that all people are seeking the same things as we are, being seen, heard, felt, loved, useful, proud, connected and fulfilled, then their behavior will make much more sense to us.

Here’s a question you might ask yourself next time somebody behaves in a way that is baffling to you. It’s a good tool to help you make the empathetic leap when it otherwise seems too difficult.

What universal human need are they trying to satisfy?

The mere act of posing this question helps us more fully participate in the other person’s experience. We can start to figure out how it’s possible that they could think or behave in a certain way, and under what circumstances would it make perfect sense to do so.

Here’s an example from my own life.

When my startup got acquired by a large agency, their buyout team informed our founders that they would be keeping every one of our employees on staff, except me. Turns out, that organization didn’t have a business need for a brand and content specialist like myself. Our company was going to be nonexistent in a matter of days, and so, all the assets my job revolves around would ultimately be absorbed or eliminated by the acquisition.

Despite my significant talent and positive reputation, my role was simply phased out.

Damn, talk about terminal uniqueness. I love being special and everything, but this is ridiculous.

Hearing that news made me feel unwanted, rejected and sad. As it would anybody. But over the next week, here’s what ran through my mind.

We live in a capitalistic system. Commerce has a cruel bite. Sometimes a company has an asset, and they need to ring the register, and that day finally came. Any smart business person would have done the same. Shit, if you had the opportunity to sell out for millions and cash in on the brand you spent years building, wouldn’t you take the money?

Absolutely. America would not exist if it weren’t for opportunists like that. Selling out sounds amazing. Good for them.

That’s empathy. Reminding yourself that this person, or in this case, these people are just like you. Under the circumstances, it made perfect sense that they would think and behave in that way.

Doesn’t make it fair or right, but then again, what do we know about what’s fair or right?

Wolfram, the renowned scientist who developed many highly influential computational systems, recently released a detailed report based on what people reveal about themselves on social media.

His data proves everyone is the same everywhere. His team is made up of experimental particle physicists. These are people who are used to doing experiments on neutrinos, where they would get data at some rate and make plots on the behavior of particles.

Believe it or not, the data rate in their web analytics system is the same as what they got in their particle physics experiments. The number of clicks is about the same as the number of particles going through a detector.

Crazy part is, the curves in web analytics are actually smoother than those they were used to in particle physics. According to the scientists, people are, in a sense, more predictable than the quantum mechanics of particles.

And all this time, we thought we were so different from each other.

What universal human needs are the people in your life trying to satisfy? 


Daily updates straight to your inbox.


Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
Sign up for daily updates


Daily updates straight to your inbox.

Copyright ©2020 HELLO, my name is Blog!