To be successful at persuading others to your ideas, you have to learn to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Psychologists have often referred to this ability of trying to understand other people’s thoughts as having a Theory of Mind, and when people apply this ability, it’s called mentalizing.
It is this ability to consider the mental reactions of those around us and to imagine these reactions in advance that allows us to increase our exposure to success and minimize our exposure to failure.
If, for instance, you can predict that the e-mail you’re about to send to someone will lead to that person to reject you, then you can edit the e-mail so that you can get your point across more tactfully.
Through out the day, we have countless opportunities to mentalize like this, in both large and small ways.
The problem however is that many people won’t mentalize simply because it takes effort to do so, but in order to communicate our ideas to others effectively, we have to first understand and be able to predict how our actions and words will be understood by those we communicate with.
Without this ability to think socially and share our ideas with others in such a way that engages and interests them, we would be left to our own creativity to try to convert our own ideas into reality.