How to Read Minds
The business of reading minds
What if I told you nearly everyone has the ability to read minds? It's true actually and research is starting to back it up. But before I go there, let's take a trip back to 1936 when a book written by Dale Carnegie was originally published, titled "How to Win Friends and Influence People". This book was a huge success and still is. It's one of the classics and continues to be relevant over the course of several decades thus far.
I had the chance to read the book and it was riveting from start to finish...seriously. It is basically the art of dealing with people which never goes out of style. Who doesn't deal with people everyday? That's why so many of us are intrigued with the possibility of influencing others or getting a peak into their minds. We'll take any little piece of inside info that will give us the edge.
This book was written for and about those who wanted that edge in business. The advice within the pages certainly applies to a lot of other types of relationships and people in general. I write a business blog for a company and I just finished a blog about knowing people and human nature. It gives you the greatest advantage and often we lose sight of that.
If reading minds sounds elusive or impossible and only for those born with a psychic gift (have you visited a psychic..they're not working off a gift trust me) then you're completely wrong. It is learning about human nature and people...simple. The book I mentioned was such a success because it nailed the art of people. If you follow his rules and advice in that book, people do exactly what you want and they will be putty in your hands. But there's more...
A little more about the book
The science of reading minds
I keep up with the psychology journals and any interesting studies that have been published. My area of focus while in school and assisting with research was reading, reviewing, and finding flaws in studies. Some things are a far stretch to the imagination and other things begin to pave the way to the answers we've been searching for.
In psychology everything can be studied and often is. There are topics, such as the reading minds, that are difficult to study but can be developed through finding other avenues related to it that are easier to study and get a firm grasp on. Once you begin doing this, eventually the pieces fall into place.
So let's begin here with some science. Interesting research has revealed that people who read a lot of fiction books are more empathetic and have the ability to get in to the mind of others. Why? Because they get into the mind of the character in a book, they get engrossed in the book and determine what they would do versus what the character would do in certain circumstances. The ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes (empathy) is a key to reading minds. Bet you never thought about that. Psychologists call this empathic accuracy.
The Internet has made reading body language obsolete and this is why understanding human nature in general is crucial. With all the avenues in which people utilize the Internet (dating, business, social networking) there is still a concrete way to read what's going on in another's mind...or pretty damn close. Understand human nature and people!!
For instance, an old married couple knows what the other is thinking remarkably often because they've been practicing it for a while. Mind-reading requires practice and effort. A psychic gets to know who you are and into your mind pretty fast. They have an extensive history working with people- it's their livelihood.
When I look back at my career working with people in the restaurant business, I realized I knew what type of food or menu item and why someone ordered it just based on a brief conversational greeting. There is a term in the restaurant biz called "reading a table" and it's not much different than reading minds. Another everyday occurrence is when a mother knows exactly what her baby wants by the types of cries. She instinctively gets to know what her baby needs and the baby's life depends on it.
Psychology Today magazine reported "Mind-reading of this sort is not to be confused with the infallible superhero kind of telepathy, it is a critical human skill. It's the way we make sense of other people's behavior and decide on our own next moves. Mind-reading ability is perhaps the most urgent element of social intelligence" (and yet many people suck at it- well that's my two cents). But there everyone has the ability to do it and like I said before it is a worthwhile investment of knowledge.
The direction I see society headed is less people who have empathy for others and more TV or tech gadgets rather than book-reading and engaging with or being in tune with people around us. The study I mentioned earlier reports that TV does nothing for developing empathy because it doesn't allow us to dive into another's thoughts and have to figure some things out or leave some things to the imagination. Only books can do this and more so with fiction books.
The future of reading minds
Computers are not far from scanning minds and having the ability to read minds. Neuroscience has shown us how basic human thoughts work. To me, this is just another example of how predictable human nature and people are. The distinct advantage of applying techniques and really working at understanding people and human nature is that this information will never be outdated. You learn it now and it applies to your life and people for the rest of your life....guaranteed. Nobody will come up with a new type of human nature- society and technology changes, but surprisingly people don't change all that much.
An interesting dilemma is as much desire as we have to know what others are thinking is about how much desire we have for others to not what we're personally thinking. If the ability to read minds through computer science is reliably developed then businesses, and who knows, will be paying to read your minds. In addition, criminals will be just as guilty via computer mind-reading scanners as they are today with DNA tests. We could easily say there is a future to reading minds.
And finally...HOW TO READ MINDS
Now everyone can be a street corner psychic. Joking aside there is some ways to develop a sense of mind-reading:
- Be in tune with yourself and listen to your instincts (side note: it has been said that we're the only species that feels fear and walks right into it- animals don't do this). When we gauge how we're feeling with another person or around them, we learn about what they're thinking, but this also takes knowing ourselves well.
- Mirror image. We tend to copy others without knowing it while we're around them. If they feel tense, we do too. If they fidget, we do as well. If they talk slower, we slow down too. Be aware of this while in conversations.
- Read more fiction books. Yes, it really is true that reading fiction makes you more empathetic and enables you too get inside another's mind- research is good on this.
- Body language. Tried and true, this knowledge is good to have. There are guides to this, some include reading the pupils of the eyes, facial expressions, sweating, etc. These involuntary body movements are a key factor in lie detector tests.
- Motivation. Women have been viewed at being better interpreters of feelings and thoughts, and be able to anticipate others' needs. The science reveals they have no extra advantage other than more motivation to do so.
- Open-mindedness. Along with being empathetic is the ability to see from others' viewpoint and not from the typical egocentric view we hold so dear.
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