one example: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier
This is one of the best ways to get into the mindset of how most people think, and it’s something that’s incredibly easy to do. The trick is to find and keep your own perspective and to put it into practice.
This is what I have been trying to do with my blog and the blog that I write for a very very small company called O’Reilly. The idea is to be as objective and fact-based as possible while still being as opinionated as possible. I do this by keeping in mind that I am writing about the “facts” of my company and what we are trying to accomplish in our industry, but I also want people to know how I feel about certain topics as well.
Of course the blog I write for OReilly is different than the blog that I write for the blog that I write for myself. But the point is the same: I keep my perspective in mind while at the same time trying to put it into practice. And by doing this, I can put myself in the mindset that I am a very objective person.
I think as marketers we need to do the same thing. We should try to put ourselves in a position where we can objectively say “This is what I think, and this is what I do.” But, at the same time, when we do this, we also need to be willing to admit when we are wrong and we have to move on.
The other day I read one of my favorite books, called “The Anatomy of Persuasion.” The author, Dan Ariely, is a behavioral scientist, so he has a lot of insights to share about what motivates us to do what we do. One of his big insights is that he calls “self-awareness” a “psychological trap”.
Dan Ariely is a brilliant behavioral scientist and the author of several books on the topic of persuasion. His most famous book, “Predictably Irrational”, is about why we tend to make irrational decisions, and it has been referenced in almost every persuasive book I’ve read in the last several years. But he goes further, and uses the concept of self-awareness to explain why we are often mistaken about why we’re doing what we are doing.
What self-awareness really is, is a concept that Ariely puts on show in his book by showing a man who is thinking about what he was doing yesterday and is having a hard time getting out of his current state. He says that when you think that you are doing something perfectly, and you actually are not, that’s when your brain gets confused.
Ariely also points out that self-awareness is more than just knowing what you are doing. That self-awareness is a way of looking at your actions and the actions of others in a much more abstract way. What Ariely describes as “thinking” rather than “doing” is actually called Meta-Cognition. Ariely explains that this is how we look at the actions of others, even when we aren’t thinking about them.
If we’re not aware of ourselves, then we see ourselves as others see us, which is like looking through a telescope and seeing through the image of a person. While we’re looking at that person, we can also look at ourselves. Ariely talks about the difference between “the self-made image”, which is how we look at ourselves, and the “the image of the other”, which is how other people see us.
The “self-made image” is a good place to start, but this is also an important way to approach the world around us. Ariely’s examples were a few people we saw walking through the mall or taking the subway and having their clothes and faces “fall apart” in a way that made them look like they were in a bad dream. The other is the person who has a terrible disease and is in a hospital bed unable to do anything but watch the world go by.