Primates mimic. That is how we learn. Do as I say, not as I do is not an effective parenting method because children learn by observing and imitating. If they see you smoke, they are twice as likely to take up the habit. Imitation and mimicry are a natural part of primate instinct — it saves a great deal of time.
In the first section of this article I focused on understanding ‘the other mind‘ when communicating or crafting a message. Now, I will focus on a danger of ‘the other mind‘ — the way trust works.
I first remember considering the concept of ‘the other mind’ when I was a little boy trying to manage the insanity of growing up with alcoholism and good old fashion dysfunction. I remember thinking, as a kid, that I had to find different methods for communicating my thoughts or ideas to others — methods more in line with their very different ways of thinking. It was clear to me, from a very young age, that people see the world differently from one another.
In Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw, I learned a term for this idea: ‘the problem of the other mind.‘ The problem being that people often assume, without real consideration, that other people view things roughly the same way they do. This leads to all manner of challenges and, to understand it, leads to a number of interesting opportunities.