There is an absolutely essential skill for getting by in the modern world. Communicating effectively about your best exchanges.
There are three components to this:
- Knowing, and effectively communicating, what you have to offer – the first side of the trade.
- Knowing, and effectively communicating, what you want to receive – the other side of the trade.
- Knowing, and effectively locating, the other people who will match #1 & #2.
All of life boils down to this. Really knowing what you have to give, what you want to receive, and who fits that desire is the essence of all interaction. That’s how you find dates, jobs, homes, friends, entertainment, books, hobbies, and good food.
The thing about this framework is that it’s self-reinforcing if you really understand it. If you first recognize that for anything at all to happen those three checkboxes need to be checked, you’ll see how important empathy is. Because everyone else has to check those boxes, too!
You can’t just know what you want. Even if you can articulate it perfectly, you also need to know what you have to offer, and recognize that not everyone wants what you’re offering. And even the people that do may not know who and where you are!
You need to get comfortable talking about these things. You need to be able to say what you want in a career, relationship, neighborhood, family, anything. You need to be able to truly listen when others do the same, even if they’re doing so imperfectly.
All of life is an auction house floor, and you’re bidding on everything constantly. Recognizing the process and embracing its lessons, instead of pretending it isn’t so, will make you happier with all your exchanges.