Sometimes it pays to be predictable


My son once told my wife: "there are a lot of idiots around when Daddy is driving!"

It was sobering (although funny) to hear him repeating what he routinely heard whilst in the car with me. At the time he was only three, so I didn't take the time to explain why these other drivers bothered me so much.

It was because, above all, they were unpredictable. They would weave in and out of traffic, hit the brakes for no apparent reason, come to a stop and turn without ever thinking to indicate, swerve out from a Right of Way, and so on.

Such driving makes me wish for a James Bond-like console, from which I can put them out of my misery by using a well-placed missile. It's a bit extreme, I know, but ask any parent how they feel when another driver endangers their child, on purpose or otherwise, and you would expect to hear the same.

The thing is, unpredictable people generate emotive responses in others affected by their unpredictability.

Sometimes, such as in romantic situations, or in work environments where spontaneity and creativity are key, unpredictability is to be welcomed.

However, when it comes to getting people to trust you, it pays to be predictable.

You can help yourself and others to predict how you might react to particular situations by being self aware. Do a personality test such as the many Jungian tests available. In addition, perform a behavioural analysis of yourself and those around you.

Consciously seek to learn what excites you, drains you, annoys you, angers you.

Think about what your principles are, and write them down, as well as the results of the tests above. If you are comfortable, share all of this with people who need to be able to predict your reaction to their behaviours.

Once they can predict how you will react, most people will look to elicit a favourable response.

And for those who might seek to "push your buttons" armed in the knowledge of what will irritate you, well, you are better armed to see that this is what is happening, because you have taken the time to get to know yourself better.

Who knows, you might even become a better driver!