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The Dangerous Mindset of Less than, Greater than

Updated: Jan 4

Greater than and less than thinking is great for numbers and logic, but terrible for people.

Thinking of people in terms of greater than and less than yourself is never useful.

This is an idea that's been playing on my mind since I read Sand Talk (great read to take your mind to interesting, new places) and I just haven't been able to shake it. There is literally no scenario I can come up with where it is useful to think of people as greater than or less than any other person. It's so simple and yet so profound.

Instead of employing a mindset of greater than or less than, we must learn to appreciate the differences in ourselves and others.

infographiciwth text greater than / less than thinking is never useful when it comes to people

Take a competitive situation, say an internal job interview. You're going into the job interview and you know the other candidate.

You think that they're not as good as you, and so you'll get the job.

In this situation you're taking the greater than position.

How are you likely to act if you think that you're better than the other person applying? Well, for starters, you probably won't try as hard and you probably won't be as prepared as you would be if you just focused on putting your best foot forward.

Take the opposite position and the effect is equally poor - you don't think you're as good as the other person, so you feel less deserving and like you have to work hard to impress the hiring manager. This is going to lead to desperation and neediness bleeding through into your interaction. Neither of those traits are attractive.

This concept is so important to remember in every interaction, especially those where there is a potential for power imbalance e.g. boss and employee, parent and child, patron and wait staff. In these situations, we need to remember that we're all just people, being people. Everyone is themselves and they do what they do.

When we throw out the greater than / less than thinking, and take people for what they are, the door is instantly opened to rapport, collaboration and learning.

Most importantly though, it opens the door for people to feel seen and heard for who they are, and not just who you think they are in relation to you - And that's a beautiful thing.


Thank you for taking the time to read and for investing in better thinking.

If you would like to discuss any of the concepts further you can do so by emailing or by clicking here to book a call.

If you enjoyed this article or found it worthwhile, please consider sharing it by clicking on the links below.

Until then, Onward & upward, Jake

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