THE 95% RULE
Ninety-five percent of the time
we get treated the way we INVITE people to treat us.
Everything we do,
especially our nonverbal behavior,
is an invitation to those around us.
A smile is an invitation. So is a frown.
So is a sad face, an angry face, or a serious face.
Even body posture is an invitation.
LEARNING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S INVITATIONS
The next time you are in a large office or a social gathering, just be an observer.
Look around and ask yourself:
“How is this person inviting people to treat them?”
Then ask yourself another question:
“Does this person actually get treated
the way they are inviting us to treat them?”
About 95% of the time the answer will be “Yes.”
LEARNING ABOUT YOUR OWN INVITATIONS
Once you’ve observed others and learned their invitations, you can look at yourself.
Unfortunately, simply observing your own behavior won’t work well.
(This is because most of our invitations are out of our awareness.)
HOW TO LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF
To learn about yourself, answer this question:
“How do most people treat me most of the time?”
Come up with three or four adjectives which describe
how you are usually treated.
This is what you invite from other people!
Take responsibility for your own invitations.
“How would I treat someone like me?”
Then admit that you invite what you get,
and that you can learn and change.
IF YOU ALREADY LIKE HOW PEOPLE TREAT YOU:
Be proud of how well you take care of yourself socially.
And be confident that you will always be this way!
IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW PEOPLE TREAT YOU:
Look at the negative adjectives on your list.
Decide to start inviting the opposites of these negative adjectives.
Then learn by trial and error.
Start by setting clear goals such as:
“Today I’ll get Sam to be more respectful of my ideas.”
Or, “By the end of the month I’ll get Georgia to say that I seem different.”
Notice what works and what doesn’t work.
An automatic “snowball effect” will take over.
After a few weeks or months,
things will be improved
and your new invitations will become
as automatic as the old ones were.
While you are experimenting
be proud of yourself for taking responsibility,
for being willing to learn,
and for being gutsy enough to experiment.
The more important the situation is,
the harder it will be for you to change.
(It’s harder to change your invitations in a marriage
than it is at an office party.)
Don’t let this stop you.
If you know that eventually you want to improve your invitations
with your lover (or your parents or your kids)
but this seems too difficult right now,
make changes in easier situations first.
This gives you the practice
and the feedback
you’ll need to succeed.
PRETENDING DOESN’T WORK
Any changes we make in our invitations
must be genuine or they won’t work.
Changing negative beliefs,
about ourselves and about other people,
may also be needed.
If you believe you must be “sweet” or “nice” you invite being used.
If you believe you are in a scary situation, you invite distrust and fearfulness.
If you believe you are incompetent, you invite others to be critical of you.
If you believe you are superior,
you invite others to “knock you down a peg or two.”
If you believe in having fun, you invite playfulness.
If you believe you and others are competent,
you invite productivity.
I DIDN’T SAY IT WAS EASY…
It’s easier to blame others for how we are treated
than it is to take responsibility for our invitations and make changes.
But blaming doesn’t work,
and changing our invitations does.