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4 Reasons Why You Should Understand Human Nature

The most important skill you will ever learn

“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun” — John D Rockefeller.

Understanding human nature is the key to communicating well.Whatever you do in life, you will be dealing with people until you are dead. The better you are at dealing with people, the happier you will be and the further you will reach in life.

It is very common to think that learning to deal with people is being manipulative. Of course, there is some truth to this. But it all depends on how we use what we know and our motivations behind it. If we have good intentions and are more effective at influencing people, we do everyone a service.

Dealing effectively with people is about understanding their emotions, what they are motivated by, or even how to please someone or make them happy. Understanding others are the key to a happy life, and how well we deal with people naturally depends on our upbringing and how our parents raised us.

Some people lack people skills, and this hurts them tremendously. I used to be very bad at reading social nuances and understanding the social matrix. That hurt me in many ways. Reading people is the key to influencing others, being a good friend, or becoming popular.

If we aren’t honest with ourselves about the signs we read from different people, we will only misinterpret their behavior and create a false illusion of reality. See people for what they really are. Few things in life are certain except that you have to deal with people continually for the rest of your life.

Seeing underneath the surface and the perception others give is exceptionally important. We are all very good at giving certain impressions to fit in and be sociable, but people can hide their real selves pretty well.

You can sense a lot about people by listening to your intuition. We are taught to stop listening to it as we grow up, but getting used to that again can be very helpful. For example, if you catch someone off guard, you can sense their true feelings towards you for a split second. They won’t have time to react and mask their authentic feelings. We often give off certain microexpressions that only last fractions of a second, but hidden here, we can see the true feelings someone has.

We should strive to be students of objective reality rather than living in a fairy tale delusion. Sugarcoating things to make them easier to deal with is a tendency most of us have. It is common to see something we don’t like and pretend that it wasn’t there in some people.

Understanding others and yourself deeply and acknowledging our shortcomings will make people like you more. Moralizing and judging others comes from a lack of understanding of the flaws that all of us share.

Once you realize that no one is perfect (including you), people will sense that you are a more accepting person. This understanding starts with accepting and being open to not being perfect yourself. People don’t like to feel judged, but love to feel accepted for their flaws. Therefore, it can be wise to take a personal check-in from time to time to look at some of our flaws honestly.

Narcissism, for example, is a spectrum we all find ourselves on. Becoming less self-absorbed and more tuned into others’ perception of the world will make most people happier.

Human nature is what it is, and we are all prone to the same foibles and mistakes to varying degrees. That is why self-awareness is so important. By understanding human nature, you can avoid certain toxic types before it is too late and get closer to rare people of inner integrity and strength.

There is no way to write about human nature without using a lot of insights from Robert Greene. He has written great books about the topic, such as “The 48 Laws of Power” and “The Laws of Human Nature.”

What are people skills:

  • Communication with others, understanding and empathizing with them.

  • Building relationships with other people.

  • Being congruent and minimizing conflict.

You could look at human nature as “laws” underpinning our people skills. The better you understand human nature, the better chances you have to navigate different social situations well.

Insights from Robert Greene’s “Laws of Human Nature”

Out-of-character behaviors are just people revealing their true character. This is pretty counterintuitive, but bearing this in mind can potentially save you from a lot of pain and misery. When someone does something unexpected or acts out like a maniac when drunk, you should pay attention. Most likely, something that was boiling beneath the surface finally came forward.

- Technological advancements can easily make us believe that we have risen above human nature. We have not. Our nature is the same now as it was 1000s of years ago. The only difference is that we have access to new technology they didn’t have. Social media and the internet have only made us more prone to behave irrationally in many ways. Look at comment sections and the things we watch and do online. The most-watched TV shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Squid Game” portray death, violence, sex, and rape. We have not evolved to a higher place because of technology. We have just become a bit more reserved than our ancestors, but our nature is the same.

Why you should learn about human nature:

  • People’s strength of character is more important than anything else when considering partnerships and work environments. We need to be able to read people to sense their strength of character. strength of character is more important than anything else when considering partnerships and work environments. We need to be able to read people to sense their strength of character.

  • You need to learn your true nature to develop yourself. Ruthless objectivity is the only way to improve yourself. By knowing yourself and understanding human nature, you can change your destiny. You cannot self-correct without being honest about who you really are. We have many blind spots, and people will generally not point them out to you. If you find someone who sincerely cares about you but is unafraid to point out your weaknesses in a constructive way, you should hold on to that person. Finding people that are “real” is challenging.

“A man will only become better when you make him see what he is like” — Anton Chekov.

“Character is destiny” — Heraclitus.

  • Many things in life are really about avoiding mistakes rather than doing everything perfectly. When you understand human nature, you will be less prone to psychological misjudgments of various kinds.

  • It can make you and the people around you happier, as you can better understand yourself and self-correct, and you can become less judgemental against others. In addition, you know better how to relate to them and can build deeper, more congruent relationships.

If you know how to deal with people and use your skills for a good cause, you are doing the world a service. Teamwork is the only way to achieve something truly outstanding, and behind every great product like the iPhone or Tesla, we find an entrepreneur that builds great teams and knows how to deal with others. Thinking that we can accomplish truly great things by ourselves is a joke. Doing great things requires teamwork and cooperation.

If you want to build a startup, you need to know how to motivate others and lead. If you simply want to live happily with your family, you need to understand how to deal with your spouse and children to make them happy and satisfied. In some cases, good intentions are not enough. We need to understand other people to make relationships work well. Just look at the number of divorces in recent years. Many factors contribute to this, but I would bet we find misunderstandings and failure to understand each other among the most common ones.

In a sense, you can say that we are dealing with people regardless of what we do. Even writing is about understanding other people. Other people will read what you write, and their judgment impacts how well you do. There is no way to escape this fact.

Dealing with people is the most important thing you will ever learn, and it is universal for all of us. It doesn’t matter if you work alone in an office every day. You are still dealing with people, and other people will determine your level of success. Any product or service will suffer if it is built with a flawed understanding of other people. Other people are the consumers. If you don’t understand them, there is no way to make something that compels them.

Useful insights from “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene:

  • Don’t outshine the master. If you look better than your boss, you might soon become replaced with someone less competent. This is essentially about being humble.

  • Your reputation is everything you have. Guard it with your life.

  • Speak with actions, not words. What you do speak a lot louder than what you say.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” — Warren Buffet

  • When asking for help, it is wise to appeal to people’s self-interest. Stop focusing on what you want; focus on how you can help others reach their goals. Otherwise, you are essentially a mice looking for a crumb of cheese.

Insight from “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss

People in positions of power often use the word “we.” That is because they understand that it is useful to conceal their power. People that aren’t leaders or in positions of power often use the word “I.” It can be important to understand these kinds of subtle power dynamics.


It is normal to believe that by learning psychology, you can see all the various ways other people make stupid mistakes while you are perfect. The real value from learning psychology comes with introspection, though. Nobody is cut from a different cloth. As humans, we are all prone to the same mistakes and misjudgments. We all find ourselves on the spectrum of narcissism, just to varying degrees. In the right circumstances, we are also prone to behaving terribly irrationally.

I would say that 2/3 of what you can learn pragmatically from psychology is about self-correction and realizing how you make mistakes. Then, the last third is about looking at others and analyzing them.

We should strive to understand where people are coming from. That requires stepping a bit outside ourselves and focusing on other people. Without going out of our little sphere, it is impossible to have a big impact. Letting go of ourselves and our self-importance is when things begin for real in life. That is when you can start to understand the patterns and rules that govern human behavior as well.

When we get too focused on ourselves, we should give something to others. We relieve bodily tension by doing that and it can be something as simple as doing the dishes or doing something for other people. Then, we get out of self-concern and open to the world again, free to have an impact.

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