It’s ironic that Trust Agents talks about two things that are equally important, but actually contradictory.
What are they? The first of the behaviours is understanding social cues, and the second is pattern-breaking. Why are they opposites? See below.
Being a human artist implies an understanding of social cues, like body language, status, and a million other things that people feel out in daily life, largely without knowing about it. For example, you show an understanding of status when you act differently with your boss than your co-worker, for example. But whichever social cues we’re talking about, they are an example of behaving the way others expect us to, and fitting into their ideas of how to interact with them.
Basically, when we behave in a way that makes people feel comfortable, we do it by not setting off any alarms or behaving differently. By doing so, we can make sure they aren’t defensive and, as a result, become closer to them.
When we talked about patterns in Trust Agents, they’re discussed in our Make Your Own Game chapter, which is about “dominating niches,” to use a phrase I kind of hate… but it’s true. I’ve talked about pattern-breaking in talks I’ve done (as has Chris) so many times that it’s gotten very basic for us, but it remains important to understand that it’s about discomfort and making people see you in a different way.
Do you see why the two are opposites now? One is about fitting in while the other is about standing out. So basically I’m wondering whether it’s possible to do both at the same time (with the same people).
Here’s the way I see it: Fitting in is valuable if you’re not “not important,” while being an iconoclast is a good strategy if you’re “important.”
Another way to look at this is: In order to make yourself seem “important,” become an iconoclast (disrupt patterns). This shows people that you don’t follow the rules, which makes you seem like you’re a leader in the space.
Does that make sense? Or am I totally off my rocker?