The Psychology of Intelligence, The “Self”, Socialization and Success!
Now we are going to bring together all of my favorite topics: Psychology, IQ, The Concept of the “Self”, Social Science, and Success! All into one comprehensive article showing you how all of these things work together!
There was a study done by a man named Gordon Gallup on the concept of “The Self”. Now generally speaking, this being an abstract theoretical concept, it seemed like a very difficult topic to actually collect qualitative data on.
However he was able to do it. Using mirrors.
So he introduced mirrors to a variety of species, including human infants, to see how they reacted to them and how their sense of self would develop.
He found that some would react to the mirror as if it were another member of their species, not realizing it was themselves, and would treat it the same way they would as if introduced to another member of their species…but then after time passed oftentimes they would get used to the image in the mirror not actually doing anything of consequence and would stop paying attention to it altogether, as I am sure you have seen your household dogs and cats do if you have ever owned any…and maybe even you do yourself sometimes.
However some test subjects would actually realize that this image was in fact a reflection of themselves!
They were, in effect, becoming self aware!
And how did this occur? Well they began using the mirror constructively as a tool for their own personal use, examining themselves in the mirror…looking at their teeth and buttocks and inspecting other parts of their self that they could not normally see! Knowing that what they are looking at is a reflection of themselves!
However, Dr Gallup wanted to test these levels of self awareness. Just to make sure that any test subjects who had not become self aware from the introduction of the mirror into their reality, could not be made self aware with a variable to the experiment, and to make sure that those who appeared self aware, actually were.
And so to test this Dr Gallup did a special trial, after they had gotten used to the mirror, he would, when the animal needed some kind of medial procedure, make a red mark on one of their eyes and ears, and then re-introduced to their environment and the mirror.
And what did they do?
Well the more intelligent animals (elephants, dolphins, apes) began examining and touching the marked areas, much more than any unmarked areas, obviously aware of the difference in their self. However the less intelligent animals (such as dogs), would continue to ignore that mirror.
And so it was proven that the more more intelligent species were able to become self aware and use mirrors as a tool for self awareness and examination of their self, while less intelligent species were not.
However, there was a third level of intelligence, this one is only held by the most intelligent subjects, namely the human children that were tested.
Now the human test subjects did go through the first stages depending on age. The youngest would not understand the mirror. Some would begin to realize the significance but not fully understand it, and seem to get creeped out by it haha. Some of the older ones about a year to a year and a half would begin to realize that it seemed to follow their own motions…and begin to become aware of their own image, which begins to give them their sense of self…
And then the older children, the ones around the age of 2 and up, would not only be able to use the mirror for their own self awareness…but the most intelligent ones would reach and display a whole new level of cognition.
A test was done to the subjects, in which an interesting object such as a toy was introduced to their environment while they were observing themselves in the mirror. This object was behind them, and they would see it in the mirror…
And those who were less intelligent would reach for it…towards the mirror…
However the most intelligent would understand the perspective of the mirror and their perception of reality through it, and know that this object was behind them, and would turn around to reach for it.
So the most intelligent minds are those who not only become subjectively self aware, but gain an objective perception of reality, understanding the opposite perspective of things outside of themselves and being able to not only interpret this different perspective, but change the way they react to meet it.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
So why am I telling you all of this?
Because this is what Personal Development, Self actualization, and my philosophy here at True Life Development is all about!
You see the first function of human psychology is to be able to perceive the “self”, and figure out who you are as a person, and form an idea of your own personal reality…that is the first concern in self actualization and the personal development practices here at True Life Development…However it is really just the beginning….
The greatest function of human psychology and intelligence is actually to be able to perceive other things that are outside of oneself, namely other sentient beings, and their personal reality…and not just to perceive others but to perceive what they perceive.
This is called the “Theory of Mind” in Psychology, and in the Theory of Mind, the ability to perceive what others perceive in an empathetic manner is known as being “Pro-Social”.
Now being “Pro-Social” does not mean that two people can both look at an object such as a chair and both perceive that it is a chair. No…
Having a “Pro-Social” mind means you have the ability to put yourself into another persons perspective and know what they would be feeling in that place. It is the ability of one person to comprehend the reality of another person. This is a very important ability for people to have in social behaviors, and those who have it are able to have productive social interactions and a positive social life and thus succeed in society (since society is made up of people and your success in it is dictated by your ability to do well interacting with others). However this is an ability that not many humans have, and those who do not have a “Pro-Social” mind are unable to succeed in society. This is of course why some humans are able to ignore the suffering of others without it having any kind of emotional effect on them, or feeling any moral urge to exert “pro-social” behaviors towards their fellow man. This is also why so many of such people will also ignore the ideas of others and do not learn from all the social information references and resources all around them in society…And so these people lack the Social Connections and Resources, also known as “Social Currency”, that it takes to succeed in life in this society.
While conversely, those who do have a “Pro-Social” mind do perceive the suffering of others and feel compelled to be of service to them. And in interpreting the realities of others they are also able to learn from the ideation that comes from their minds. And so these types of people have great epiphanies throughout their life that are always expanding their concept of reality in enlightening ways, and are always gathering knowledge and expertise to help them succeed, as well as the “Social Currency” that it takes to succeed in this society.
This is why some people are simply ignorant, small minded, and have a very limited scope of reality, because they are coming from a closed minded self absorbed place, which prevents them from developing intelligence, and succeeding in life in this society. While the other type of people are very conscious, knowledgable, have an expansive scope of reality, because they were open minded and perceptive of the world around them, and so they cultivated higher intelligence and are able to succeed in society.
In other words, it is empathy – your ability to step outside of your “box” and understand where other people are coming from and behave in accordance with that understanding that shows whether you are stupid or smart. Which is why stupid people are the most selfish, while intelligent people place importance on understanding others, which actually service a couple different purposes leading to these peoples success…
And I know you are probably wondering, what does this have to do with me and my life? And how can I use this for my own self actualization and success?
Well of course this should tell you about your mind and intelligence level, and how you can (and should) further develop it by considering other perspectives besides your own subjective one.
However, this does have more practical considerations and specific real world implications for your success in society as well:
In psychology, in light of these data, there have been delineated three levels of intelligence that you should be aware of as you are trying to develop yourself and succeed in this world.
1.) The first level is being able to think about and perceive yourself and get a real good sense of who you are and what your personal reality is, etc. This is the very least level of consciousness and intelligence that people should be able to develop in life as human beings. However those who remain at this tier are unable to perceive anything outside of them self and their own personal reality. These people are the least intelligent and have the least success, since they are always confined to their own idea of reality, when in actuality they exist in a world where their own personal reality is not actually the reality of the world…but they do not realize that, and thus remain confined to their own limited and false idea of what reality is and is not. These are the types of people who just cannot be taught or helped, as they will not generally accept ideas that have not arisen from their own mind, however due to their lack of cognitive development (from their inability to be taught), they do not often have ideas, and the ones that they do have are of a very limited scope. And so they are doomed to a vicious circle of intellectual limitations and lack of cognitive development and success in life.
And so I know that you have a good understanding of the concept of this type of mind, now lets look at how this type of mentality translates into a real world business situation:
These types of minds are often very sure about themselves and what they like and want to do in their life. So they are the types of people who would try to start a business and fail because they simply would not understand the reality of others and what their wants and needs are, which is of course what business is about, finding a way to fulfill the wants and needs of others. And so this person might think “I love ‘X’, so everyone else must love ‘X’, so I will sell ‘X’ to everyone and make good money.” When in reality they might actually be among a very small demographic of people in the world who love ‘X’, while most people love something completely opposite, ‘Y’, and whenever the person is trying to sell ‘X’ to a customer and the customer says “Oh no, I do not want ‘X’, I do not like ‘X’, I like ‘Y’, I want ‘Y’, if you have some ‘Y’ I will buy it from you…” This business person would not even believe them and think they are wrong and say “What? No! No one likes or wants ‘Y’, people want ‘X’!” And so of course he would make no sales and his business would fail.
I myself have witnessed a large number of business people in these types of scenarios fail. People who just refuse to adapt to the wants and needs of a market, only promoting the products that they themselves are passionate about rather than adopting those that would sell and make them money. But what about the second tier of intelligence?
2.) The second level of intelligence is being able to perceive and consider the thoughts, feelings, experiences, and reality of others. They can actually imagine and even sometimes feel what is going on inside the minds of others. This is the definition of “Empathy”, the ability to interpret what is happening to someone else, almost subjectively. People with minds like this are of middle intelligence, they are not the most intelligent of people, however there is nothing really wrong with their intelligence level, it is a good level to be at. These people can succeed in life, and do, for they not only can be taught by others, but can communicate very constructively with them, AND can understand the needs of others and consider their own need to meet the needs of others as productive members of society. These types of people understand the perspectives of others, and how they might be different from others.
So if a person with this level of intelligence was to start a business in a similar scenario, even though they might love ‘X’, they would know that in actuality, there isn’t a huge market for ‘X’, the market generally wants ‘Y’, and so even though they personally prefer ‘X’, they know to stock their shelves with ‘Y’ and offer it to the public so that they can meet the wants and needs of the people, make sales, and succeed in business. And they will. And people like that do. How do I know? Because I am constantly talking to business owners who say “I actually am more of a connoisseur myself, I really like (insert more rare and esoteric type of item here), but unfortunately the mainstream market wants this stuff here (points to a generally known and used brand that is actually of lesser quality), so that’s what I sell the most of and that’s where a lot of my revenue comes from.”
Just think about it, if you are a liquor connoisseur who really believes in the art of crafting spirits, and have a passion for selecting little known small batch spirits…are you really going to forego stocking your shelves with the mainstream brands that everyone knows? How long would a liquor store survive if you didn’t stock things like Jim Beam and Jack Daniels? Bacardi and Absolut…and even though the connoisseurs hate this stuff and know that its actually some of the worst lowest quality alcohol out there, and the money is in the marketing not the product…they UNDERSTAND that it’s what people know and trust and want, and what is going to sell the most in their store and keep their business alive. So they have the ability to put their own perspective aside to consider the perspective of others because doing so is what produces success in society.
But what about the third tier of intelligence? Even beyond that…I know you are now wondering, well if that is only the second tier of intelligence, what makes people the smartest and most successful they can possibly be?
Well the third tier goes even further in ones ability to gain objective perspective in perceiving the reality of others. This third level is being able to perceive and consider the thoughts and feelings of others who are perceiving and considering you – how they might be perceiving you and what their thoughts on you might be. They KNOW what you think they are thinking! You may remember talking to someone in life who was able to say to you at times “I know what you are probably thinking”, and could actually tell you what you were thinking about right then and there, as if they were reading your mind!
Were they psychics? NO!
They were just very intuitive. They had a high enough level of intelligence that they were able to put themselves in your place as they were talking to you, and understand what someone in your perspective would be thinking about them and what your assumptions about their reality might be as they talked to you.
These people are of the highest intelligence out there, and the most successful and resourceful in life because they are able to use this perspective to make course corrections in their behaviors and develop themselves and their lives to the fullest extent. Because they can actually imagine what others might be thinking about them and how they might react to what they do. And this is what the most successful business owners do, and this is what personal branding and marketing is about in business. It’s thinking to yourself, “When I do something, how do others perceive it? What does my audience think about me specifically when I am doing this? Do I gain credibility in their eyes or loose credibility in their eyes? Do they see this as positive or negative? Am I loosing or gaining my social status, social currency, connections, customers/clients, etc?” It is this consideration that makes people the most successful in society and any business. This is what helps you build a strong brand, and a great marketing that really buys in to you and your company. You have got to understand your audience, and how they perceive you…if you want to succeed in society to the greatest potential that is.
Because success is based upon the ability to get others to “Buy in” to your reality. You are selling yourself, who you are, and your idea of reality to people. But before they will buy, you must first have bought in to their reality, and have a very good understanding of it, enough so that you can predict how they will receive you and yours, and if they are going to buy in to your reality or not. And you need to be able to foresee if something you plan to do in your company is going to cause yourself to be discredited and rejected by those you need to be “buying in”. Because any wrong move can cost you your reputation, your audience, your company, even your career. But if you can intuit when doing something would be received badly by others, you can make the necessary course corrections necessary to prevent a negative consequence. And you can predict what actions will be received well and have positive results that will produce success for you and your career.
So a person like this in the real world is the type of person who will go into business, do the market research, figure out their best demographics, get a great understanding of the psychology of their demographics, and use specific marketing and branding strategies to make their business specifically attractive to the people in those demographics, and have success in those demographics and then just expand and elaborate upon their efforts from their. This is exactly how entrepreneurs from Henry Ford to Steve Jobs were able to go from having no social status, no real social currency, and nothing but an idea, and from that idea build the greatest businesses the world has ever seen. It is not because they were telling other people what to think and do, its because they were adapting their ideas to the psychology of the markets around them so they could succeed in it. And if you can do that, you can most certainly be a wildly successful and prominent business person just like them.
But this is not just about understanding the psychology of your market so that you can manipulate them into buying in to your business. For you see, people who have this social intelligence also have a “Pro-Social” mind, which means they understand the need for people to help one another. And so because they have always had “Pro-Social” behaviors and been of service to others, they accumulate a lot of social currency which aids them in succeeding in their life and business…and since they really enjoy being of service to others, it is easy for them to do so in their business and meet the needs of others and make people feel good, which of course produces a lot of happy customers and is very good for business.
However so many people are too focused on their own personal happiness at the expense of others, and are trapped in that self absorbed vicious circle as described earlier. And worse yet, some others are unable to even fully develop a sense of self and their own personal reality, unfortunately, let alone consider that of others, much less how people perceive them. All of these types of people who are stuck at this first tier of psychological development are the least self actualized and successful in the world, and can never be happy in life.
But luckily that is what I am here to help you do at True Life Development – Develop yourself to the highest potential. And True Life Relationships is here to help you establish “Pro-Social” practices for developing your “social currency”. So do not worry. The most important thing to keep in mind when considering psychological and social intelligence, is that they are things that are developed, not inherent and static, and so they always can be developed. So even if you are not as mentally developed, or self actualized, or successful as you wish to be, you still can improve yourself in those ways. That’s what we are here for!
So be sure to check out my Psychology Course
Image provided courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net