How To Read People (Animated Story)


– This is Ben and Ben knows the secret to reading anyone instantly. But before we can talk about that, we need to first understand his childhood. Little Ben has trouble
talking with other people and he can’t pick up on basic social cues like facial expressions or body language and the medical term for this is something called
social emotional agnosia. And as a result of this, Ben started to develop social anxiety and whenever he would talk with someone, like an attractive girl for example, he would just awkwardly smile or he would just nod his head along or give one or two word answers. And this was a major problem for Ben because the only thing that
he really wanted in his life was to have a wife and a family. And if he couldn’t get
this, then in his mind, he was destined to live
alone and die alone so he set out on a
journey to cure himself. At first, Ben tried to put
himself out there more in school. He figured the more
social experience he had, the better off he would be. So he would raise his hand more in class or he would try to talk to his classmates but the problem with this
is that when you are labeled as that awkward kid or
labeled as that weird kid, most people just don’t want
anything to do with you so most kids would just
kind of ignore him. So Ben decided that he would attend events that were put on by other schools because nobody there knew him. But even at these events, when he would try to talk to other people, he still couldn’t have a meaningful conversation with someone. He would totally be stuck in his head and he would obsess over
trying to read people and he would overanalyze
what they were saying and how they were saying it and the kids would often
call him weird or awkward. And over time, Ben started to
dread all social interactions and this caused him to go
into a fairly deep depression and he was very close to
giving up on the dream of having a wife and a family. One morning, Ben woke up and
discovered parts of his body that were suddenly paralyzed and over the next few
days, the paralysis spread and he was soon diagnosed
with a disease called polio. As he lay there in bed, he heard his mother in the other room discussing his case with the doctors that the family had called in. Assuming that Ben was asleep, one of the doctors told her that the boy will be dead by morning. And he could hear his mom
crying in the other room. After the doctors left, his
mother came into his room clearly trying to disguise her grief, unaware that Ben had
overheard the conversation. Ben asked his mother to
move the mirror in his room so it would face the window and if he began to lose consciousness, he would then focus on the
sunset in the reflected mirror, holding onto this image
as long as he could. The sun always returned
so maybe he would too. Within hours, he fell into a coma. Ben regained consciousness
three days later so somehow, he had cheated death but the paralysis had
spread to his entire body. Even his lips were paralyzed. He could not move, he could not gesture or communicate to anyone in any way. And the only part of his
body that he could move were his eyeballs. And the only social company that he had were his seven sisters, his
one brother, and his parents. And for someone who had
such an active mind, the boredom was almost unbearable. So the only thing that he could really do was to focus on things
that he could see and hear. And when he looked outside, he started to notice all these
new details about nature, like how the leaves on the tress had all these little grooves on them. And he would watch how the rain would fall in between these grooves
and then roll off the leaf. And he would listen to
the birds singing outside and he noticed how they used
all these different tones, as if it was a small symphony. He spent weeks just looking and listening. But one day, as he was looking outside, his sisters came into his room to have a chat with one another and as they were talking,
Ben noticed something. Their faces made all these movements and the tone of their voices
would change very frequently in the course of the conversation. For example, one sister said to another yes, that’s a good idea but she said this with a monotone voice and a noticeable smile on her face, all of which would likely mean that she didn’t actually
think it’s a good idea. So somehow, a yes could really mean a no and Ben had never noticed this before but due to his current state, his eyesight and his
hearing were all heightened. In the course of the next few days, he had counted 16 different forms of no indicated through body language, tone, and facial expressions. If people said yes when
they actually felt no, it would appear through
their body language and tone of voice. Ben found all of these
observations somewhat interesting but he found himself not
really wanting to engage in this little game. What is the point of trying
to understand people better if you’re going to die in a
year or die in a few months? Why even bother doing this,
Ben thought to himself. Ben could either let
the disease consume him or he could try to keep the
most important muscle active by focusing his brain
on things like nature, social interactions, or
simply just thinking deeply but at first, he didn’t want to do this. Then he thought about his dream
of having a loving family. He thought about having
dinner with his wife and he thought about playing
with his kids in his yard. He could either take the hard road of keeping his dream alive and fight or the easy road and just let
the disease take over him. Ben would try his best to keep fighting. So Ben completely consumed himself in observing other people. He would watch their hand
gestures, their vocal pitch, their sudden arm movements,
the way their legs move, and the way their lips would
quiver on certain topics. He would even notice how often the veins in his sister’s neck would pulsate when they stood over him, indicating that they were
nervous just by being around him. And because his hearing
was getting better, he could now pick up on
conversations in the other room and he noticed a funny pattern. In a conversation, people
were rarely ever direct. One sister would spend minutes
beating around the bush, leaving hints to others
about what she really wanted, such as to borrow something or
hear an apology from someone but she wouldn’t ever
just say it at first. Her hidden desire was clearly indicated by her tone of voice, which gave emphasis to certain words and her hope was that the other person would pick up on this and offer what she desperately desired. But often times, the hints were ignored and she would be forced
to come out and say what she actually wanted
but by this point, she was already frustrated
with the situation. Conversation after conversation fell into this reoccurring pattern. It was as if because of his paralysis, he became aware of a second
channel of human communication, a second language for which
people expressed something from deep within themselves
without even being aware of it. He thought that perhaps the
mind and the physical body are much more connected
than people realize or maybe they’re one of the same because every single time that
his sister wanted something or they would be upset about something, it would clearly show
through their physical body. So one day, Ben wanted to try something. Ben was watching his brother
and sister play outside so he closed his eyes and he imagined himself playing with them. And in his head, he literally saw himself standing up and walking around and he put all of his mental energy into this single imagination, really trying to feel and
experience the sensations that he once felt. And for a brief second, he
felt the twitch in his leg and this was the first time that he had felt any
movement in his body at all and this simple twitch gave him hope. So he began to focus deeply into every single muscle in his leg and he would remember the
sensation he had in his body before the paralysis. And over time, he started to have success and the slightest bit of movement would return to the muscle. After some more time, he
even started to stand up and to take a few steps. And then later, he would walk
around his room then sit down and then after some more time, he started to walk around outside and he slowly just kept
increasing the distance inch by inch and over time, Ben became a functional walking adult and he did this through
the power of his mind. He realized through watching
his family communicate that the mind does not operate
different from the body but rather, they are completely connected. Ben became so fascinated
with communication that he began to study psychology and he actually became
one of the world leaders in hypnotherapy. So I bet a lot of you
are probably thinking that this story is completely made up and it’s almost ridiculous. I’ll be honest and I’ll
tell you the truth. His name wasn’t Ben. His name was Milton Hyland Erickson and he was born on December 5, 1901 and he really did catch
a disease called polio, which paralyzed him. And through this experience,
he did become strongly aware of the significance of
non-verbal communication and he really did become
one of the world leaders in hypnotherapy. We are at a point in society where basically everyone is
trying to put on a mask for you. They want to present themselves
to you in a certain way that does not accurately
represent who they actually are. If someone has a nice, empathetic mask on, they will say almost anything to match this egoic
perception of themselves but underneath that mask, underneath the soft, kind words
that they say all the time is the truth. And this idea is the origin
of the timeless saying actions will always
speak louder than words. So if you want to become somebody who can read anyone instantly or you want to become somebody who sees the true nature of people, then you have to master
non-verbal communication and the best way to do
this is to be more like Ben and to become more observant. Think about Ben and how he was completely
stranded in his bed. The only thing he could
do was watch other people and that’s what you need to start to do. Listen for vocal pitches, watch for facial
expressions, body language. See how people act when you
bring up certain topics. And if you do this, I guarantee you you will be able to read people. Check out my last video about
the real truth about emotions. I’ll see you there.

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