“It’s all good,” says your friend, looking down and gritting his teeth.
“I don’t do THAT on the first date,” says the cute blonde holding your hand, smiling, and following your every lead.
“We really enjoy having you here as an employee,” mutters your boss, as he completes the next round of layoffs.
Actions speak louder than words. It’s a saying that we’re all familiar with, yet we constantly struggle to internalize. Take the above examples, for instance. Your friend is clearly not over whatever beef you started, but you’ll likely treat him like it’s all good, because he said it was. Then you’ll be confused when he remains cold towards you for the next few weeks. “I thought we were good?”
Or your date. She’s clearly into you and down for whatever, yet you heed her warning that she doesn’t usually kiss, go home with, or whatever else on the first date. So you wish her goodnight. Now when you hit her up for a second date, you’re perplexed that she doesn’t respond. She wanted more, but you listened to her words and not her actions like a beta bitch, and now the sexual tension has dispersed.
Or the last frame, for example. Your boss has been giving your warm greetings for the past month. Yet he’s laying people off left and right. And your workload has decreased to nothing. But your still shocked when he fires you. Again, actions speak louder than words.
And you do it, too. I know I do. I catch myself lying through my teeth more often than I’d like to admit. Whether it’s simply stating that I’m doing “great” when my day is shit or telling someone that not to worry about something that’s actually really bothering me. It’s natural. We project random thoughts, ideas, and questions out of our mouth that have no real bearing on how we’re actually feeling about something. Some of us more than others
The typical example of this phenomenon is the politician who gets elected based on a myriad of views and promises that, as soon as he enters office, moves forward with legislation in direct opposition to what he vocalized beforehand. His actions didn’t match his words. This is on a bigger scale than your friend, the girl, or your boss, sure, but it’s the same principle.
The implications of this principle are twofold. First, base your perception of others on how they act non-verbally. How do they carry themselves? What behaviors do they often engage in? Try and listen to their actions primarily, and their words only as a secondary measure. The challenge is of course when dealing with people on via the phone and texting. In this case you must be even more perceptive, and act on whatever information you do have.
The second implication strikes closer to home. Because of our human tendency to inaccurately verbalize, we must be careful with how we express ourselves… to ourselves. What I mean by this is that we often “overthink” things. Rather than trusting our gut, we engage in a lengthy inner dialogue in attempt to reach a “deeper” or “truer” conclusion. It could also be when reflecting on a series of events. It could be when planning something. I think it most often afflicts us, however, when facing a decision. Rather than trying to “talk” our way to a conclusion with words, it tends to be better to trust our gut feeling, our initial instinct.
This is a very shallow exploration of a deep issue that could be analyzed in a far more lengthy manner. But that would take more “words”. For now, just use this as a reminder to judge people based on their actions, and also to trust your gut.
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