Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why People Act the Way They Do

me: Why do you dress up as a scary clown? him: Why do you find me scary?
We're all guilty of it...At some point or another, we've questioned/analyzed/scrutinized someone else's behavior. Probably because that person's behavior seemed (at the time), well...totally irrational.

So we ask ourselves, "What were they thinking?" or “Why did they do that?" or "How could they have done that?"

The reality is...we'll never reeeally know, because those questions are unanswerable. How could we possibly ever understand another human's motivations when so few of us even understand our own?

To even begin to scratch the surface, there are so many factors at play:

  • Upbringing
  • Handling change 
  • Conflict resolution
  • Cultural background 
  • Neurons firing (or misfiring) 
  • Levels of advertising/media consumption 

To make things even more complicated, there are pieces of our identities that lie deep within, maybe even hidden away from the conscious self.

Someone recently told me a good example of how this plays out. He said, “If you ask me why I bought a Mercedes Benz, I won't say it's because my ego demanded it. I won't say it because I'm probably not even aware that my ego is driving me. The logical part of my brain will step in and make me buy a used one, and that will make me feel better about the decision and distract me.”

There's also the rich tapestry of personal experience, from which springs varying interpretations of reality.  It all comes down to that fact that human experience greatly differs from person to person.

Man, are we complicated! Fully figuring each other out doesn't seem possible anytime soon (unless we learn the Vulcan Mind Meld).

But depsite all of these intricate innerworkings, what blows my mind most is how well humans get along.

We live in cities and work in corporations. We communicate, live in harmony, and create masterpieces. Humans come together for mastery and fulfillment. It seems like achieving harmonic balance in relationships enables people to do more, whereas misalignment holds us back.

I guess, in the end, we don't really need answers to those unanswerable “why” questions, because that's just the way things are. What's more important is valuing healthy relationships and working toward healthier interactions between people.

That's the sweet spot because that's where inspiration lives.

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