Diplomacy is the art of promoting an idea or cause without unnecessarily inflaming passions.
It involves an understanding of the many parts of human nature that can lead to strife and a commitment to handle these with foresight and grace.
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When we meet new people, we may be tempted to ask what they do. We use the idea that our identity is linked to what we do.
What's more revealing are the psychol...
Instead of categorising jobs in terms of what you do, we can group it in terms of the psychological profile - the traits of human nature they weaken or reinforce.
When we are in a particular psychological environment, it will influence what we assume other people are like and shapes who we are over time.
An environment where compromise feels natural can broaden a person who has been over-invested in asserting their own views.
But work can also narrow our characters. A school administrator might be very good at reorganising the personnel roster but may be baffled if you ask what education is for.
Straightforward people are easy to be around with because we know exactly what the issues are from the start. There is no need to guess or infer or translate.
If they don&...
Complicated people are very unsure about the legitimacy of their own desires, making them unable to let the world know what they really want and feel.
They may initially appear to agree with everything you're saying, but later on, their reservations will become known. They will say they want to join you for dinner but will inwardly ache for an early night. They will give the impression of being happy while crying inside. They will say sorry when they want you to apologize.
The root cause of confusing complexity may come from fear of how an audience might respond if our real intentions are known.
The origins may have started in childhood. A child becomes complicated when they are given the impression that there is no room for their honesty. A child may have received irritation or open anger for their honesty.
The modern world equates the intelligent person will the well-read person. It's difficult to think of anyone arriving at any worthy insights without having read an impressive n...
The premodern world was obsessed with asking, "what is the point is of reading?" They had answers too.
The modern world has adopted an Enlightenment mantra that states there should be no limit to how much we read because we read in order to know everything. We don't read to understand God or to follow civic virtue; we read to understand the whole of human existence.
This maximalist legacy of the Enlightenment idea of reading is present within the publishing industry, within the way books are presented to the public at school and in shops, and within our own guilty responses to the pressure to read more.
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