A couple of years ago Travis Bradberry wrote an article for Forbes titled “12 Habits of Genuine People.” He begins the article by looking at the concept of Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ). It’s been demonstrated that people with high EQ’s perform better, get paid better and are better leaders. His point is EQ doesn’t produce any of those benefits if you’re not genuine.
That title caught my eye and it went into the pile of topics for blogs. Well it’s now two years later but as I reread the article it has a timeless message that will never go out of date.
I’m going to comment on his 12 Habits in a series of blog posts and will consolidate a few of them. Here is his list of 12:
- They don’t try to make people like them.
- They don’t pass judgment.
- They forge their own paths.
- They are generous.
- They treat everyone with respect.
- They aren’t motivated by material things.
- They are trustworthy.
- They are thick-skinned.
- They put away their phones.
- They aren’t driven by ego.
- They aren’t hypocrites.
- They don’t brag.
Let’s start with the definition of Genuine. As I looked up the history and meaning of the word I would see many references to the word “Authentic” and vise versa. The two words seem to be tightly coupled.
We can learn a lot by looking at the synonyms and you wouldn’t be surprised by any of them. Both words have many of the same synonyms. But I often find it more revealing to look at the antonyms.
The antonyms begin to paint a very clear and often recognizable picture. Both our experience and brain science notes that the human mind seems to be very aware of and skeptical of anything that appears to be bogus, insincere, fake or unreliable. These things are rooted in the deepest part of our brain that is on a constant lookout for danger. Most of it happens in the subconscious but as soon as our brain sends up some warnings our body begins to react in many ways to gain our attention and prepare us for fight or flight.
Think about your reaction to those words.
We’re watching TV and suddenly the words say, “Wait! Order now and we’ll double your order for the same price of $19.99!” What’s your reaction? BOGUS
The words are coming out of their mouth but there is no real concern in their expression. We instantly know that the words are INSINCERE.
We hear this one almost every day. FAKE news. FAKE stories. FAKE accusations. I’ve heard many family and friends say, “I don’t know who to trust anymore.” The only way to judge news and behaviors is to know what you believe in, what you stand for and why.
Did someone do what they said they were going to do? Are they reliable? This brings in many of the synonyms related to genuine and authentic: dependable, trustworthy, honest, faithful. If people don’t live up to these standards, they are UNRELIABLE.
Being genuine is a lot of things. But it is not bogus, insincere, fake or unreliable. Over the next few posts, we’ll look at Mr. Bradberry’s list to help us stay on the path of being genuine.