Moe and Nicholas discuss what scientists have learned about our ability to understand the most complicated puzzle on the planet—other people—and the surprising mistakes we so routinely make.
Becoming a Better Mind-Reader
In early 2006, soon after relocating to San Diego, I was invited to address a group of ‘A-list” entrepreneurs who were eager to ignite the local startup activity. Their goal was to design and build a resource ecosystem that would not only support entrepreneurial initiatives, but to further cement a capital infrastructure that would sustain its potential growth. The event was sponsored by the patriarch of an astute Angel investor group and the dialogue was as engaging as it was constructive and urgent. After the three hour session ended, each of the 15 individuals in attendance had signed a commitment letter to contribute both time and expertise to one of three project groups. I was elected to spearhead the mentorship component and worked directly with the patriarch.
During the next few month, he and I met a half of dozen times, and within a few weeks, it became apparent to me as to why he was the de facto leader driving this movement. He was as confident and charismatic, as he was persuasive and convincing. Together, our group secured commitments from 22 potential mentors, 4 sponsoring companies and several top-tier funding sources; until one day he walked out in the middle of a sponsor meeting, only to inform me later that ‘he no longer wanted to be involved.’
Throughout my professional career, I’ve been especially diligent about establishing business partnerships; and despite having been blessed with some amazing partners, Nicholas Epley reminds me that ‘the size of the gap between what we think we know about others and what we actually know can be shocking.’ In his book – Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want – you’ll know why overconfidence might be your biggest obstacle —-