Rating: 8 of 10
Idea: 10 of 10
And with this one thought, you will have risen to a level of intellectual honesty and understanding that few people ever experience. You will have discovered that the most magical things in life, on and off the stage, are often the result of the correct application of the most basic principles imaginable.
People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.That, in a single sentence, contains five of the most important insights I have learned in all my years of studying and applying the principles of persuasion: encourage their dreams justify their failures allay their fears confirm their suspicions help them throw rocks at their enemies
When another person confirms something that we suspect, we not only feel a surge of superiority, we feel attracted to the one who helped us make that surge come about. Hitler “confirmed” the suspicions of many Germans about the cause of their troubles and drew them further into his power by doing so. Cults often “confirm” the suspicions of perspective members by telling them that their families are out to sabotage them. It is a simple thing to confirm the suspicions of those who are desperate to believe them.
All people. It has been said that everyone you meet is engaged in a great struggle. The thing they are struggling with is their enemy. Whether it is another individual, a group, an illness, a setback, a rival philosophy or religion, or what have you, when one is engaged in a struggle, one is looking for others to join him. Those who do become more than friends; they become partners.
People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.
Any ideas? If so, you’re one step ahead of the game. Here’s what’s missing: YOU
There isn’t a word about your wants, your needs, your hopes, or your concerns. There isn’t a word about your offer or proposal. There isn’t a word about what you think. It is all about the other person.
Can you imagine how much energy you will free up if you stop focusing on yourself and put your attention on other people? Can you even imagine how much more charismatic you will become when you come to be seen as one who can fulfill some of these most basic emotional needs?
Have you ever noticed that the harder you push, the more resistance you get? When you focus on what you want, people will resist. That’s what people do. Politicians lie. The sun rises in the east, and people resist pressure. But one thing people rarely resist is someone trying to meet their needs. And when ones needs have been met, a bond is often forged and a natural desire to reciprocate has been created.
People willingly leave their families for cults that fulfill these needs for them. People pick up arms and kill others for those who meet their deepest needs. People leave long-term marriages and relationships for people they just met and their spouses are often left stunned. They wouldn’t be if they understood the power of these needs. Like it or not, the duration of our relationships is nothing compared to the depth of our relationships. And depth is based on the fulfillment of our deepest needs, not on the duration of dialog.
So if you have a dream, any dream, according to The Secret, you can do it. For those who buy the message, it doesn’t get any more encouraging than that.
In addition to encouraging our dreams, The Secret goes to great lengths to help us justify our failures and confirm our suspicions.
True or not, that is some story. And not only is it tremendously entertaining, it secretly - no pun intended - lets us off the hook for our past failures. After all, how can anyone expect us to succeed if the very secret to success has been kept from us?
And this same idea tends to confirm what many people suspect about getting ahead in today’s world: in some way, some how, things are rigged against the common man.
A couple of television commercials that are currently airing in the United States illustrate this point. Both of them brilliantly and ethically employ the concept of scapegoating and they do so at the very beginning of their scripts.
The first commercial, for an antidepressant medication, starts out with something like, “Feeling depressed lately? It may be the result of a chemical imbalance in your brain.”
The second commercial, one for a weight loss product, starts out like this, “If you’ve tried to lose that extra weight and have failed, it may not be your fault. It may be your metabolism.”
Would you walk into someone else’s place of worship, change everything around and tell them how you think they should worship and expect them to thank you for it? Of course not. All of us recognize the importance a person’s religious beliefs and practices play in his or her life and know better than to ridicule or criticize them if we expect to retain the person’s favor.
My thoughts: This is a good idea for how to think about changing one’s mind. We often go at it in a way to force them to change through using superior facts, but that doesn’t work. It will never work because humans are humans.
However, when it comes to interpersonal relationships, we often act in just such destructive ways whenever we make someone else wrong. Why does this have such a destructive effect on our relationships? Because one of the most important abilities people must have, and must know they have, is the ability to effectively discern reality. Like some of our other addictions, this issue goes back to our survival instinct. How can we expect to survive in our world if we can’t effectively understand it?
So being told that we are wrong about an issue often becomes far more important than the situation actually calls for because once again our sense of stability is threatened.
This need to be right often overtakes our desire to be well thought of, and even our desire to be treated well. This may help explain why some people are seemingly inexplicably drawn to people who treat them like crap. If we secretly feel unworthy, we will unconsciously be drawn to those who will confirm this “fact” for us, even though we will outwardly complain about it. We will dismiss people who try to praise us while fawning over those who denigrate us.
In his book, Resilient Identities, Dr. William Swann, Jr. says, “...our self views lie at the center of our psychological universe, providing the context for all our knowledge. Should our self-views flounder, we would no longer have a secure basis for understanding and responding to the world.”
My thoughts: Never tell someone they are wrong. never openly get them to admit wrong, instead use questions so they can do it in a roundabout way
No matter how unskilled or unpolished you may be, if you can capture and hold another person’s attention long enough, they will eventually fold to your command. Why? Because when our attention is captured, our conscious judgment and self-awareness recedes and suggestibility takes their place.
Correct and convince.
This strategy is so common, so entrenched, and so widespread, that we don’t even tend to recognize it. Yet, it is all around us, all the time. And worse. It is often coming out of us all the time as well.
If we insist on correcting people before we convince them, we might as well accept the fact that we’re never likely to convince them of anything. In fact, the attempt to correct other people often makes their current ways of thinking even more entrenched.
so if the correct-and-convince strategy is so useless, why is it so widespread? One reason may be that most people don’t think they could apply something like the validate-and-fascinate strategy. After all, while it is one thing to be able to validate others, the ability to fascinate them is something else entirely. Right? Wrong.
Instead of validating the specific needs they’re trying to fulfill, we can address and validate the more universal needs and motives underlying them. For example, if we can’t encourage a specific dream a person may have, we can certainly acknowledge the importance of having such dreams, and then attempt to move them in a more positive direction.
If we can’t justify their failures, we can at least acknowledge that there are many contributing factors to any situation and then suggest that, right or wrong, sometimes the most effective way to get out of a situation is to act as if one is completely responsible for it.
If we can’t allay their fears, we can at least assure them that it is okay to be afraid. To tell someone who is already afraid that they shouldn’t be afraid only compounds the problem.
If we can’t confirm their suspicions, we can at least acknowledge the possibility of their suspicions being correct and let them know that we understand how they could have come to such a conclusion. Even if we don’t share that conclusion ourselves.
If we can’t help them throw rocks at their enemies, we can at least acknowledge the universal desire to seek revenge before we try to talk them out of it.
In short, just because we may not agree with others, it doesn’t follow that we can’t validate them. But if this type of situation still bothers you, consider this: Perhaps the greatest irony of all when it comes to validating these needs is that when we are allowed to have these needs and even indulge them, we often don’t. The very fact that it is okay for us to feel a certain way encourages us to stop fighting to maintain and justify our feeling that way. When we’re told it is okay to dream, we tend to be more flexible with our dreams. When we’re told we’re not responsible for something, we often find that we’re more open to accepting responsibility for it. When we’re told that it’s okay to be afraid, we often feel less afraid. When we’re told that we’re probably justified in being suspicious, we tend to become less so. And when we’re allowed to throw rocks at our enemies, we often tire of it very, very quickly.
Buy the book.
It's a short read and worth it.