It’s not about you at all

It’s not about you at all.
A therapist once gave me the task of finding an object in her office that angered or annoyed me and then describing it in the first person. When we picked apart my words, I was amazed.

It turned out that in describing my attitude toward the external object, I was describing my inner world quite accurately. Or, more precisely, what was troubling me inside at that moment. So I learned that no matter what a person talks about, in reality, he (or she) talks mostly about himself.

No wonder, then, that the willingness to seek the truth, as well as the ability to listen to another person, is a great rarity, either a professional skill or a gift. But there is good news in all this.

For example, when someone sharply criticizes your position or your product on social media, there’s no point in taking it personally — to a large extent, it is not about you. By venting their anger, frustration or resentment at you, this person is only describing, as psychologists say, his own symptom. And the more emotion in his criticism, the less information there is about you, but more about him.

Derek Gaunt of the The Black Swan Group, an expert hostage negotiator, often reminds in his business negotiation seminars, “It’s not about you!” He advises focusing on identifying your opponent’s hidden needs, calling it Tactical Empathy. Understanding someone else’s motives doesn’t mean that you accept them, but it helps you to change their minds more effectively. You don’t even have to try very hard — your opponent will tell you all about himself. Just remember, it’s not about you at all.

Yours sincerely,


Kyiv, 29.03.22


As a business therapist, I help tech founders with rapid business transformation. My specialty is accelerating decision-making at the intersection of business and personality.



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Alexander Lyadov

Alexander Lyadov

As a business therapist, I help entrepreneurs to navigate faster in non-standard situations.