Who are you – Part 3 – Are you sure you really want what you think you want?

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We covered understanding the real ‘you’ in part one and then looked at our happiness and satisfaction in the different areas of our life in part two. Now we take this self- awareness and learn how to shield it in a world built on marketing tricks. We look at understanding what is out there and staying true to ourselves.

During my recent trip to Cambodia on a fantastic Intrepid Tour, I met Chris.

Chris mentioned early on that he had a trick for the group which he would show us one night. About the fourth night in, as the group enjoyed another round of beer, I mentioned to Chris that it must be time for that trick of his.

Chris agreed and first took a card out of his wallet, flashed it quickly at me so I could just note the writing on one side and put it face down on the table. Then he asked me for a coin and a pen as he took off his wristwatch. He held out all three objects and asked me to choose two of them. I chose the pen and the coin. I was then asked to put one of the objects I had chosen behind my back. I put the pen behind my back. Once I had done this I was asked to pick up the card and read it out.

The card read, ‘I of my own free will have chosen of the three objects the pen and the coin and have the coin in view and the pen hidden’.

I was impressed.

I was aware of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) before and asked if this was the basis of the trick. Chris confirmed that it was, but he wasn’t willing to give away the ‘priming’ he had done with me in the past couple of days.

With my knowledge of NLP, I knew that ‘priming’ had occurred before this trick, enabling it to work. Chris had first built a rapport with me to a level whereby I would trust him and allow open and honest conversation. He then would have carefully selected his wording and phrases over the days to prime my subconscious to choose these particular objects.

One of the best examples which shows this in full motion and helps us to really understand how it can impact us is Derren Brown’s NLP video, you can also Google other NLP videos to view this technique. Having just been subject to this, I can confirm that what is done in the video is possible and just as effective. It is possible, then, to alter someone’s decisions by essentially manipulating their thought processes.

Of course, companies that sell goods get hold of this knowledge and look to use such techniques to boost sales. While it is not completely ethical to use this as a sales method, you can guarantee that the big corporations of the world, and the smaller ones too, or even a person you run into on the street may know this technique and use it on you to their advantage.

While we don’t have one-on-one sessions to build up priming with big corporations, the basics of it are built into advertising. It is part of training sessions for shop assistants and salesman and built into visual and verbal advertising.

With knowledge of this technique, its power and how it is built into many things around us which relates to sales and more, I cannot help but wonder if my purchases are really the result of my own desires or of desires that others have persuaded me to have?

We need to think about what we can do to stay on track in a world designed to derail us at any time.

I have done this, as previously covered in part one, by first of all understanding me: my desires, my goals and how to keep my life focused on what is best for me. I have done this by removing my distractions, physically and mentally, allowing myself to keep what is internal at the top of the list. Minimalism has been a big part of this for me, as covered in this previous article.

I have looked at the key different areas of my life: Family & Friends, Significant Other/Partner, Fun & Recreation, Health, Personal Growth, Physical Environment, Career and Finances. I have worked out where I wasn’t happy and focused on rectifying my understanding of why I wasn’t happy or satisfied with this part of my life.

I made a plan, I wrote it down and I revisit it regularly. I have understood my growth, failures and challenges and pushed through to some hard truths. I have allowed friends to be there for me but also endured times alone.

Then I brought the understanding of where I want to go forward from all this reflection and put it into my day-to-day life, right down to the grocery shop. This might sound silly at first, but when we go shopping hungry we all know that we end up with extras that were not on the list. This takes money out of our life which we could have directed better towards our goals.

I look at all the in-between actions: the purchase of a car, a house, or even a new dress. Understanding where it all fits into the bigger picture of your life will help keep you focused, and writing this down will help keep you on track when all the fanfare, or even NLP programming, comes into contact with you.

Understanding ourselves is no easy feat, but the purpose of this article today is to raise awareness of how easily influenced we are, as in the example of a shopping trip where we can easily let our passing cravings change our pre-planned actions.

We need to constantly work at ourselves and constantly exercise willpower against the quick wins and passing pick-me-ups in order to stay focused on our big picture.

No one ever said it would be easy, but, as we all know too well, they have said that it will be worth it.


Photo:  Jorunn Lorenzen