On personal leverage:
Low-level personal interactions come down to leverage. We can get into high-level personal interactions some other time; suffice it to say that they are a function of trust.Frankly, most inter-personal relations that I see are low-trust affairs. These are not bad people, and they don’t (apparently) have a dysfunctional relationship.But there is very little trust being exhibited.So they fall back on leverage.
Leverage 1: Money.This one is widely used in the workplace, home-life and most everywhere else.It can be generalized to other commodities, like sex or a place to live.The whole idea is this:”you want something that I have, and you will only get that thing if your behavior conforms to my expectations.”
Leverage 2: Being a Jerk: Another widely used leverage point at work and at home, people will motivate other people to change their behavior by treating them poorly.”If your behavior is not what I want, I will behave toward you in a threatening and cruel way.”
Leverage 3: Violence: Although not so common in functional relationships, perhaps the oldest way to get people to do what you want is to hurt them physically. It’s what people use when there is very limited communication or extremely low trust, as between warring clans of cavemen or with small children with limited understanding.”If you don’t stop that, I will spank you,” or between so-called adults, “If you don’t think this song is the greatest song ever, I will fight you.” (Ron Burgundy)
Whole books have been written about how to avoid people who use the “Being a Jerk” mode of leverage, like The No Asshole Rule. But avoidance is not the best strategy.Violence is right out.Money is the common denominator, but it’s still a weak way to deal with people.The big upshot: there is a better way.It’s about investing in relationships, not about other peoples’ behavior.