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

  • Is there a difference between a leader and a manager?
    Is there a difference between a leader and a manager? Yes, there is a difference. What is the difference between a leader and a manager? Or, to put it another way, what is the meaning of the term, "leadership" and what is the meaning of the term, "management"? The meaning of...
    Read Article >
  • Leadership and management development Part 5 of 6
    The ability to self-motivate; self-manage; to develop self-confidence and personal initiative Your leader managers need to develop six fundamental skills sets, if they are to be effective in their roles. They are as follows: To set and achieve your goals...
    Read Article >
  • How Can We Improve Leadership?
    The future success of your organisation depends on the quality of the decisions made by the leadership and the dexterity with which the leaders lead the team.
    Read Article >
  • Management Skills for New Managers
    Management Skills for New Managers Training for the new manager is important because they are often facing a unique set of problems; The new managers are often trying to manage people who have always known them as a NON manager, so the new manager needs to earn the respect of team...
    Read Article >
  • How to tell Truth from Falsehood
    More on how to tell truth from falsehood - Part Two On 22nd April 2014 I posted a blog where I suggested that the practice of "keeping an open mind" is not a good practice. Since there is only one reality, there is, and there can only be, one true idea...
    Read Article >