Here is what you do:
Dumb Yourself Down
My mother said I should stop doing this.
“You should elevate people on your level and not make yourself look stupid just so others can relate to you.”
She was serious about it. Yet I couldn’t make it work for me so far.
Sometimes you have to be on THEIR level and make yourself relatable in order to build a connection. Sometimes the gap is too big. And then they don’t take you seriously.
So more than often I make myself look more stupid than I really am.
- I share embarrassing stories.
- I make a fool out of myself.
- I brag about not knowing things.
- I show my brother how it feels to not be good at stuff.
- I admit that I failed.
- I open up.
It looks like you are dumbing yourself down by making yourself look worse than you really are.
But it does the opposite. It makes you relatable and approachable.
And since it works, it’s actually pretty smart.
But you have to…
Use Simple Words
Some people love throwing words around which everybody has to look up first.
They think they are clever.
But they are just idiots who hide behind a mask.
Lately I had a political discussion on Facebook (which is one of the worst ideas you could possibly have). And this guy argued with words I had to google and decipher first before I could even understand what he tried to say.
To some people it might give away the impression that he is so well educated and smart. Because, “look at me and all the fancy words I know!”
But how smart is he really if he can’t even explain a simple idea in also simple words? How smart is he really when he can’t even get his point across without forcing me to do some master-degree-like-research on the side?
That sounds pretty dumb to me.
But luckily there is one metric that says it all and indicates how smart you really are.
It’s called the Flesch–Kincaid grade level.
And it indicates how easy (or difficult) whatever you share with the world is for others to understand.
If your score is 5, you are writing (or talking) at a 5th grade reading level. If your score is 12, you are writing at a 12th grade level. And so on.
So you wanna aim for a low score here. Dumb yourself down and use simple words, remember?
Whatever you publish to the world or leaves your mouth should be around grade 4 to 6.
- It should be easily digestible.
- It should be broken down to the basics.
- And then presented in a way which makes it easy for the person on the other side to soak it up again.
- And to understand.
- And learn.
- And apply.
The score for this post is 6.
And here is an example of one article from The New York Times (give it a try or do what every other sane person would do and skip it):
“The stakes were more than just Nobel Prizes, bragging rights or just another quirkily named addition to the zoo of elementary particles that make up nature at its core. The Higgs boson would be the only visible manifestation of the Harry Potterish notion put forward back in 1964 (most notably by Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh) that there is a secret, invisible force field running the universe. (The other theorists were François Englert and Robert Brout, both of Université Libre de Bruxelles; and Tom Kibble of Imperial College, London, Carl R. Hagen of the University of Rochester and Gerald Guralnik of Brown University.)”
Good luck with that. I have no clue what I just read. I can’t recall shit.
“Does it mean my writing is bad if I score highly?”
I don’t know.
In the meantime I’d rather keep my score low.
Only then people are able to…
You can’t achieve anything without relating to the people that matter to you.
- As a boss you won’t make your employees work for you.
- As a teacher you won’t make your students pay attention and learn.
- As a mother you won’t connect to your child and raise it properly.
You have to relate to them first.
You have to identify common motivations.
And listen to them to find out more about THEIR needs.
Because everyone is selfish and only truly driven by his own intrinsic reasons.
So it helps to…
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
On my 5-week Yoga retreat one teacher told me that you can never judge other people’s behavior by merely what you see. There is more to it than that. And you might have done the same given the same circumstances.
So think about that the next time someone “wronged” you.
“You never know what the person is currently going through. So you might have to realize that you would have acted the same given the same past and the same level of consciousness.”
Listen and understand first.
But most of the times the judgement is no longer necessary after listening to them.
And when you truly listen to them you’ll…
Always Be One Step Ahead
You’ll learn to address arising issues within the people you care about. You learn to see things before they happen because you are the only one who is really looking for them. And therefore you begin to build better and more honest relationships with these people.
By listening to them. And understanding them. And caring about them. And then doing something about whatever is bothering these people.
And that is a super smart thing to do.