Never assume that someone else will understand what you want or feel. It doesn't matter how well they know you, or how much you love them, communication is crucial.

Have you ever considered what is involved in determining the motivations of another person? The author of Pathways once attempted to develop a computer model of basic motivations. The simulated people were placed in a very simple world, in which motivational "scores" were calculated based on success factors. Even in this very contrived environment, it was rather complicated to demonstrate the relationship between behaviour and satisfaction of motivators.

To accurately judge a person's motives, you need to:

  1. assess their ability to learn and reason (i.e.: Are their actions on purpose or are they making a mistake?).
  2. observe them in many situations, in which a variety of different influences may be present.
  3. remember their behaviour in each situation, and form theories of possible motivations.
  4. eliminate some possible explanations based on your many observations.

It would appear that the subconscious mind is very good at making inferences about the motives of others. Nevertheless, you mind cannot make an accurate judgement without sufficient input.

When someone appears to have some motive that offends you, have you actually gathered enough data to judge them, or is your conclusion based on only one observation?

People expect that their spouse or lover should implicitly know what they want without being told. Sometimes that may happen, but it is unrealistic to expect it all the time. Without effective communication a close relationship will be difficult to maintain.

Communication is the fast-track to understanding other people.

From Pathways daily ideas file, copyright Arthur de Leyssac, 2009; all rights reserved.