How to Get Things Done by Confirming People’s Self Opinion

How to Get Things Done by Confirming People’s Self Opinion
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The Nature Of Self Opinion

We all have a perception about ourselves. A sort of self-opinion. We develop it as a defensive wall around us, a personal space that nobody can breach. That’s because as we grow up, we find that people are constantly judging us, commenting on our work, trying to control and manipulate us. Look at the role of friends and family members in this regard. It seems that all they want is to mold us, in a way that suits them. They are constantly telling us what’s right for us and what’s wrong. All this pressure makes us defensive. As if we are being controlled by others and have no independence.

To counter this, we develop a unique self-opinion about ourselves that serves as a protective barrier against all this social onslaught, as it gives us a feeling of confidence in ourselves. It does not matter whether it’s accurate or not, what matters is that how people see themselves and “how you can use it to your advantage”. The micro traits of self-opinion vary from person to person, but there are three universal characteristics found in almost everybody’s self-opinion. First, “I am autonomous and acting of my own free will”. Second, “I am intelligent and smart but in my own way”. Third, “I am originally good, nice and decent”. We’ll take each one of these separately and see how it can be used to get others do things for you.

Statue Of Liberty

The first and foremost characteristic of the self-opinion is that we all think we are autonomous and free. We can’t stand the thought that we are under somebody else’s control.  Even if this is actually the case, we’ll convince ourselves that the ultimate decision is ours. So keep in mind that “you cannot make people do something for you if they think, in the slightest bit, that they are being coerced or manipulated into doing that”. Once you have understood this simple fact about human psychology, your task is also simple. You must create, at all costs, an impression that whatever it is that they are doing for you, they “themselves” have “Chosen” to do so. The next important thing you should know is that creating this impression “is a trick and the more you practice it, like a magician, the better you’ll get at it”. Now We’ll take an example to illustrate this fact further and give you a glimpse of how it’s done.

Mark Twain

In the novel TOM SAWYER by the great American writer MARK TWAIN, the twelve-year-old protagonist is a savvy little boy, who lives with his aunt. Once he is punished by his aunt for getting into a fight. He cannot go to the river for swimming at the weekend, instead he has to whitewash the very large fence in front of the house. As he is busy washing the fence, his friend Ben comes and teases him by asking whether he will be joining him and other boys for a swim. Tom pretends to feign deep interest in washing. He does not even look up. As Ben teases him more, he answers him but keeps his eyes on the fence pretending to be immersed in his work. He says that “actually his aunt is very high maintenance” and “would not give this task to just anyone”. It takes “expertise to wash the fence”. It is the first thing that “people see of the house as they pass by”. It is an “extremely challenging task”. A test of skill. And yes, he is “enjoying it very much”, he can go for a swim any other weekend but “this job does not come up every day”. The sermon works. Ben, feeling challenged asks if he can try?  After several pleas Tom lets him do that but in return asks him to give his apple. Soon other boys come and tom sells the same story to them. After some time, we see tom laying in the shade, eating fruits while the guys are washing the fence for him.

Now let’s examine what Tom has done. Firstly, he makes Ben to “reinterpret” his job not by running his mouth but by acting to show extreme interest in his job. Secondly, he presents the job as a “test of skill”, something that can trigger any competitive person. At last he makes it a group activity by letting other boys in so that no one wants to be left out. As is clear from the above example what you have to do is this. Whatever it is that you want others to do for you, you must “reinterpret” that for them presenting it as something worth their time, and along with that, you should also present it as something requiring fine skills triggering their competitive tendencies. But remember if you are not already good at it, you will require practice and “presentation skills”.

Understand, events just happen in this world, it is up to us how we interpret, present and publicize them. Recently, WWE could not conduct the WRESTLEMANIA with a capacity crowd as they normally do because of the COVID 19. So they decided to complete it in two nights as opposed to the traditional single night event and advertised it as “AN EVENT TOO BIG FOR ONE NIGHT” and “THE MOST UNIQUE WRESTLEMANIA”. All this advertisement gave people a sense that somehow, they were witnessing a truly unique WrestleMania when in fact it was the most sucking one of all time. So, you must understand that you have to develop the skill of presenting events to other people in a way that suit your purpose. Also, words are extremely important in this game. So, you must learn what we call “Advertiser’s Vocabulary”. You can also learn this skill by watching people in your circle who are good at this, there are always people around us who are good at this, so observe them. Or watching how media organizations and politicians sell their stories. To conclude, the more you work on this the better you’ll get.

The Einstein Syndrome

Albert Einstein

The second part of the self-opinion is that we all think we are intelligent but in our own way. We know that we’re not Einstein or Newton but we cannot live with this complex. So we come up with this story that, we have our own kind of intelligence that most people cannot really understand. So while interacting with people and trying to convince them, you must keep in mind, if you give the impression that you know more than them and somehow you have thought things through more rationally than them, they will be offended and any attempts at convincing them would be futile. They will be even more attached to their ideas than before. Once you have understood this simple fact about human psychology, your task is also simple. You must avoid all kinds of arguments with people who will be of any use to you in the near future (You can argue all you want with your friends and other people).

You must listen to their ideas as if they are genuinely nice ideas. Once you have flattered their genius, they’ll slowly lower their guard and you can have more room to play. Benjamin Disraeli, 19th Century British statesman took this even further. He would first disagree with somebody on a point, and then as people explained themselves, he would pretend to understand their opinion and at the end would declare that in fact he was wrong. Such tactics will have a hypnotic effect on people as they think they have successfully converted an individual to their side. All these strategies are meant to make people relax, and get comfortable with you, so that they don’t see you as a threat to their intelligence. Once they have lowered their guards you can now catch them off guard. During a conversation you can float an idea that suits you casually that gets them into thinking. Later on, when they act upon it they’ll think that it’s in fact their own idea and they’re using their own intelligence in solving this problem. Another variant on this strategy would be to ask people for advice, this way you are valuing their intellect and opinion.

The Saint Delusion

The third universal ingredient of self-opinion is that “Originally I am nice and good”. It is a function of our humanity that we have a sense of right and wrong. We inherit some of it as our genes, and the other great part we learn from our society and peers. In human societies, great emphasis is laid on the morality of actions and if you can somehow prove that what you did is right, everyone feels a sense of relief. Therefore, even when we are involved in some shady activity, we can easily rationalize it I.e. find appropriate words which can prove that what we did was right. In essence, we constantly need to comfort ourselves that what we are doing is moral and good. If you are an employ, you think of yourself as the perfect team player working for the greater good of the group. If a boss, you tell yourself you are treating your employees in the best manner. If you want to understand this even better just see how people advertise their good deeds on social media. What kind of language they use. That’s because they want to be affirmed of the moral nature of their actions.

Therefore, you must understand, “you cannot get anywhere with people if you cast doubt on their saintly and charitable persona”. Additionally, to use this principle further, you must present whatever you want others to do as part of a greater cause. You should seem above the banalities of life and call people towards themes of change and improving other’s lives. Consider the example of Politicians. We know that all they want is to get into power. But hardly any politician would say this outrightly. Instead they use slogans and labels like “Change”, “Human rights”, “Reviving the economy”, “Saving the planet”. A recent example would be Imran Khan in Pakistan. If you can describe his entire campaign with a single word it would be “Change”. He created the slogan of “A new Pakistan”. Such labels and slogans charge people with a moral vigor and they can work towards a goal without even realizing what it’s actually about.  You must understand that it’s all a game of how you present your case and the words are extremely important. Remember, words, if used properly have a demonic power in them that can do miracles for you.  Therefore, you must appear to be working for a great cause and people with you should also feel the same way.

To conclude, you must take into account all three of these important ingredients of people’s self-opinion. The first one is meant to reinterpret the reality for people and the other two should be used to confirm people’s self-opinion, which will result in them getting increasingly comfortable with you and more open to your influence.

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