Human Tendencies

Uncategorized Apr 22, 2022

  I have been studying personal development for over twenty years.  Recently, I wanted to understand human behavior and how it affects success.  I have found that it’s easier to embrace natural human tendencies rather than go against them.  When you go against human nature and human tendencies you are adding one more layer of challenges.  The goal should be not to work harder than you need to.  The goal is to be as efficient as possible because you want to save your energy for bigger and bigger goals or just to ultimately enjoy life.


  1.   We are social creatures. So much of conventional wisdom is surrounded around the idea of being independent and forging our own path.  This comes from our natural pushback that we had during our childhood.  We fought for our independence from our parents or nagging teachers.  However, this does not serve success.  We are all influenced and encouraged by somebody else.  We all take social cues from people who we trust or who are in our social or professional circles.  Part of success is embracing this tendency and getting into better circles of people.  We are all in a feedback loop that tells us how to achieve success, raise our kids, treat others, how healthy we should be, and anything that goes into our lives.  But, by upgrading the people we spend time with and have our ear we can lean into our nature.
  2.   Run.  There’s a bear. We are wired for the negative.  The brain is a very defensive machine.  We are wired to scan for threats and react accordingly.  Today, many of us are not threatened by wild animals; yet, we are still wired for the negative.  The brain reacts to our environment by releasing chemicals.  So, the brain does not differentiate between a threat in the wild and someone cutting you off on the freeway or an off handed comment in a text.  Although these are very different, the chemicals released are not.  When we want to achieve our goals and start something new, it’s uncomfortable and the brain wants to protect us from that.  The brain says, “have a cocktail,” “buy something that you don’t need,” “gamble,” anything that gives us that shot of dopamine.
  3.   Habitual beings. Human beings are habitual beings.  Many habits are a subconscious habit loop.  We can drive home without thinking about it, reach for our cell phone any time it dings, grab a spoon without looking at the drawer.  This habit loop continues throughout the day.  To improve our habits, we need to improve the environment that we are in.  It’s not about doing the right thing and having will power, and it’s not about trying to quit eating chocolate while working in a chocolate factory.  If you are trying to spend less, don’t go to the mall.  If you are trying to eat healthy, get rid of all the junk in your house.  If you are trying to be positive, hang out with positive people.
  4.   Take a break. Another misnomer is that you should always grind it out.  However, rest, recovery, and reset are important to your journey of success.  You need time to reorganize.  This is the reason so many of your best ideas come in the shower or on a walk.  This is the reason the thing that you cannot remember comes to you as soon as you stop thinking about it.  Sleep not only recharges the body, but it organizes thoughts. 
  5.   We are emotional beings. There are two parts of the brain— the feeling brain and the thinking brain.  The feeling brain always acts faster because it takes the thinking brain more time to think through the details.  If we are not careful, the feeling brain can rule our lives.  The thinking brain says, “we need to save money,” while the feeling brain says, “I cannot pass up this semi-annual sale.”  The thinking of the brain says, “you have a long day tomorrow; don’t have a cocktail.”  The feeling part of the brain says, “that’s my friend, I need to drink with him.”  Understand that your emotions are strong and oftentimes override logic and reason.


Reality is undefeated and if you want to fight reality, understand you will lose.  If you fight human tendencies, you will put in more work and not be as efficient as you can be.  The goal is to be as efficient as you can be so you have time to take on bigger and bigger goals or you know… actually, enjoy the fruits of your success.




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