Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

What is Human Nature?

What is Human Nature?

What is Human Nature?

Human nature is the set of distinguishing characteristics that are common to all.

It is useful to know what is common to all, since by knowing, you can better understand, predict and influence the behaviour of others.

All humans are:

  1. Ego-centric.
  2. Purposeful.
  3. Rational.
  4. Emotional.
  5. Pattern seeking.
  6. Intelligently lazy.

If you understand the meaning of the above six points, then you will be able to more easily understand, predict and change behaviour.

1. Humans are Ego-centric.

Everyone you meet is ego-centric, meaning that they are primarily concerned with their own self-interest and that of their immediate family, (especially their children).

If you want anyone to do something for you, it is vital that you frame your request in terms of how THEY will gain, if they cooperate with you.

If you frame your request in how YOU will gain if they cooperate with you, then your message won't have much persuasive power.

Always appeal to the other person's self-interest.

2. Humans are Purposeful.

Humans are the most intelligent animals on the planet. They want to know the answer to this question, "WHAT FOR?"

If you say you want to put a robot on Mars, expect someone to ask, "what for?"

If you cannot supply a plausible answer, then you won't gain their commitment.

Everything people do, they do for a purpose, (and their purpose, as we have already noted, is usually to advance their own self-interest, or that of their kids, as they perceive it).

You must always be able to answer the question, WHAT FOR?

3. Humans are Rational.

Humans are the most intelligent animals in the known universe!

They want to know the answer to this question; "HOW?"

Before they will commit, they need to see a rational plan.

If you cannot supply a rational plan, then you won't gain their commitment.

If you want to send a robot to Mars, then expect someone to ask, HOW?

You must always be able to provide a rational plan, that seems capable of explaining how you intend to achieve your purpose.

If the other person suspects you have no rational plan, then they will quickly lose interest.

4. Humans are Emotional.

Although humans are intelligent animals, they are still at heart, ANIMALS.

We all carry inside us a million years' worth of genetic inheritance. We are still driven by the primitive emotions of fear, anger, desire.

  • The fear of failure.
  • The capacity for anger and aggression.
  • The desire for food, money and significance.

It is important to remember that humans are still APES and can act as such.

When at work, try to steer clear of the ape-man, (or woman) and try to find the rational part of the person's brain.

5. Pattern Seeking.

The human brain is a pattern seeking device. The first pattern is one of "face recognition".

The human mind is always trying to discover an underlying pattern that unifies and explains the given sensory evidence. That pattern seeking behaviour has given us the uniquely human triumphs of mathematics, music, literature, art, and science.

But our innate pattern-seeking mechanism will cause us sometimes to invent patterns that do not exist in reality. We will see faces in the clouds during the day. At night, when we gaze at the stars overhead, we see in the heavens pictures of mythical animals and ancient Gods. In the morning, some people report they can see the face of Jesus etched into their burnt toast.

You must always be cautious that your brain is not seeing things that do not exist in reality.

Your brain sees things that aren't there.

So be cautious. Measure twice, cut once.

6. Humans are Intelligently Lazy.

Your life runs on energy, of which there is always a limited supply.

So, humans have to be economical with their energy.

This economy can manifest itself in two different ways: Efficiency and laziness.

Laziness is the natural desire of all animals to do as little as possible. Why? Because every time you do anything, it has an energy cost.

Animals try to reduce the cost of living by reducing their energy expenditure to a minimum. That is why dogs, cats, tigers and bears spend most of their time sleeping.

Humans have the same urge to conserve energy. That explains why many people are lazy.

Scientists call it "The first law of thermodynamics; the conservation of energy". Then they go back to bed.

Conservation of energy can lead to the search for efficiency. The inherent desire to save energy can have a positive benefit. It makes us search for easier, more efficient ways to do things.

You should always assume that there is an easier, better, more efficient way to achieve any goal you have set.

Your task is to always find a better way.

"Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed." Abraham Lincoln.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Your Comments

Further Reading in Leadership and Management

  • Leadership: Total Commitment
    To be successful you need to achieve your goals, whether sporting, business or personal goals. Without total commitment you will not reach your goals or achieve success. All successful leaders have the quality of total commitment, do you?
    Read Article >
  • How Managers Can Gain Confidence Through Training
    Confidence comes through competence. To be a confident manager you need to know how to deal with a variety of situations successfully. You can do this by learning successful and proven formulae, on one of our popular management training courses.
    Read Article >
  • How to think logically
    Learn to solve your problems quickly. Logical thinking uses reasoning to solve a problem. It involves deconstructing the elements of a problem and then constructing logical solutions to come to a suitable conclusion.
    Read Article >
  • The Top Ten Leadership Skills
    People who lack leadership qualities are inspired by those who do. Check out the top ten leadership skills and discover where you are strongest and where your weaknesses are.
    Read Article >
  • Habits of highly effective leaders
    The habits of highly effective leaders We tend to be creatures of habit. Habits are automatized actions. We all tend to have habitual ways of doing things. Your habits allow you to do many complex things, without really thinking about them. Habits allow you to do things on "automatic pilot". You...
    Read Article >