“A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.” – J. P. Morgan, Born Apr. 17, 1837.
Morgan was talking about parsing the reasoning behind the market moves his competition were making.
But we are going to approach it backwards.
If you want to persuade and influence people to bend to your will, it's always best to give them both of these kinds of reasons, or at least remind them of the reasons they already have that you can capitalize on.
The real reason people do things is usually an emotional one. A deep one. Frequently, it might not even be a conscious one. Typically it's because they are accommodating for some perceived lack or shortcoming in their lives.
And then you prop this up by providing a “logical” and justifiable reason. The kind of thing that is acceptable to repeat to other people. The cover reason. The “good” reason.
If you can describe and explain to them how they can serve both with a single action – to fulfill the real, hidden, personal (perhaps not socially acceptable) reason… But still have a viable public explanation of why they did it… You're that much closer.
The real reasons people do things? Sex. Boredom. Desperation. Rage. Fear. Addiction. Revenge.
The “good” reasons people do things? Efficiency. Productivity. Justifiable concern. Territory. Property. Justice. Care. Defense.
No one ever went broke inventing reasonable-seeming human justifications that allow people to indulge in their animal sides without guilt or consequence.
<!—- lagniappe One simple way to approach this is to borrow a bit of medieval catholic theology and apply it to marketing - if that isn’t too weird? Most people have heard of the seven deadly sins. Not as many know that there are seven virtues that represent the opposite of those urges. We can use those pairs to make guesses about the REASON vs. the REAL REASON people do things. 1. Lust - Chastity: Sorry to be uncouth, but people get horny. But they want to frame it as being discerning, targeted, etc. They want to be attractive to the opposite sex, and they want to get laid. But they want it to be perceived by others as being framed in the concept of acceptable relationships. 2. Gluttony - Temperance: People want to be able to indulge their appetites and do so without consequence. But they want the benefit of having withheld or moderated. They want to eat, drink, consume, and ENJOY - but never get fat, or sick, or judged for that indulgence. Eat the whole cake and gain zero pounds. 3. Greed - Charity: Everyone wants to get theirs first. They want their own bowl to be overflowing. So that then they can give the extras to others and get the accolades and praise. They want to have plenty and excess - and have the OPTION to share the wealth. They don’t have to - they just want the OPTION. 4. Sloth - Diligence: Imagine being able to get all the work done but also still being able to be lazy and procrastinate and slack and be idle to pursue other more pertinent interests. Being responsible and completing your duty with leisure time to spare. Even getting ahead without trying hard. Succeeding without exertion. 5. Wrath - Patience: Who doesn’t want to softly and easily achieve great things, while our rivals and competitors fail and falter and choke? We want to know how to play the long game and reap the rewards for preparedness and planning. But we also would secretly like those who oppose us to NEVER enjoy it. We want them to hate that we have. Suffer their jealousy. 6. Envy - Kindness: We want to be admired - in the same way we admire those above us in our estimation. We want to be able to be liked for how virtuous and good we are. But we crave the envy that we would give to our betters - our superiors. We want that position, and we want to be able to grace those beneath us with kindness - in exchange for their praise. 7. Pride - Humility: We all want to have earned success and wealth and health and bounty. We want to be proud of it, and glad of it. But we also want to be seen by others to be grateful, and humble, and acknowledging our good fortune and luck. But also PRIDEFUL of what we’ve gained, knowing that others simple won’t do what it takes. Not like we will. I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. To show how selfish and higher-minded goals can be aligned together to support a single behavior. How you can use the emotional drivers for both to create a unified persuasive argument that appeals to both our PUBLIC reasons as well as our PRIVATE desires. —->
2 thoughts on “The Real Reason People Do What They Do (And How To Use It Against Them)”
I love the simplicity of this. Super straightforward no fluff. Just like the way I like it.
This would be perfect for a new training. I look forward to it.