When I was a young boy my mother had a very strong interest in psychology. It is not a subject that I have ever studied but I spent many nights reading her text books. I have always been enthralled by the psychology of human beings and the complexity of documenting it. As a small boy I struggled to come to grips with the concept of the eye as rods and cones, latterly joined by ganglions, and how they affect our thinking. Pavlov’s dogs were frequent evening pets.
I guess this interest is linked to my career and certainly to my love of the licensed trade. I have always had an adaptable character and it has certainly served me well. I learnt long ago that rigidity does not win negotiations. If you negotiate from a range of positions not only is your success guaranteed but the other parties failure is readily obscured, a far more important point. A flexible character allows me to play the most appropriate part according to the situation. Many are the times that people have formed an opinion of me only to discover their error too late in proceedings.
Publicans are probably the greatest psychologists albeit without certificates. We walk between different customers and adjust our attitude as needed. We can argue or sympathise over politics but the real talent is adjusting that position not just by person but by the number of drinks consumed. Judging when it is appropriate to talk to people about their problems or better to distract them. As daft as it may seem even knowing when to buy drinks is a matter of some consideration. Too many and you’re trying to hold people, too few and you’re mean.
What got me thinking about this was reading some other blogs which made me want to share an experiment. I have many experiments it’s something that I routinely, almost idly, do. A hot weekend brought about this experiment but first let me explain the theory. When a lady, or for that matter some men, takes a lot of care over their appearance why is that? Often we hear that it is ‘only for my benefit’ but my theory is that it is for validation. So yes it may be for your benefit but that benefit is that it makes you feel good to attract attention. I should point out at this stage that I have no problem with this nor am I criticising it is simply an observation.
Now the experiment. Identify somebody that is conventionally good looking, and attracting attention. Now, for obvious reasons, I have only tried this with women but girls it may well work with guys. You need to be walking for this or you will look weird. Fix your gaze just past the person that you have chosen and keep it there. It seriously unnerves them, almost like you are expected to look. As so often in life not conforming confuses. If you’re good you can see the falter in the step or the backward glance. What does this prove? Probably nothing but I think it highlights how we live by exceptions. If you’re used to attention not getting it is unnatural, it is the exception that draws your attention.
Give it a try sometime, but don’t forget to keep walking.