“As a writer, I'm more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened.” – Kazuo Ishiguro, born today, Nov. 8, 1954
Just because something isn't REAL doesn't mean it isn't TRUE. Emotion is not REAL – it isn't physical. It isn't detectable by anyone outside of the one experiencing it unless they reveal it. It exists only and entirely within the fantastical realms of the human brain.
And in that realm, you and I are sorcerors.
See, as persuaders, we aren't operating on reality. Words don't change reality. Not directly. Carve a name in a tree, the tree don't care. Erect a monument to yourself and the desert will lay it bare.
The physical real world is not where words have their power.
The magical and unique world inside each and every person's mind is where words can impact our shared objective reality.
See, this is where we all actually live. In our tiny world inside our brain. We take in data about what we see, and hear, and feel – and we mix it with memories, and imaginings, and emotional interpretations.
We use this mental simulation of the outside world to help us make decisions. We think about potentialities and predict possible futures and pick the best course. Or else we just check our gut feelings and hope for the best to happen naturally.
Regardless, this matrix in our minds is the means by which we create the “rules” for the stories we allow our lives to follow. What do we value? What do we despise? What do we believe in? What do we reject? What do we pursue and why? What do we avoid and why?
All of those answers are in that simulation, whether the operator knows it or not. And for some people, that internal simulation is deficient, or flat out wrong, and it makes people make bad decisions.
But we can help. With words.
Transform that internal universe, and the owner of it will change their behavior and adapt to this change.
What we are doing is interacting with the internal narrative people carry around with them. We edit it. We change it. We augment it, and delete parts, too.
Here is the real meat of today's lesson after that mountain of setup. People who learn of the existence this metaphor of controlling people almost always mistake it as a trick of WHAT YOU SAY.
But it's really a trick of WHO YOU ARE.
Certain people have instant permission to edit and alter our internal universes from outside. These people speak and it impacts us to our core, largely because of how much we trust their input as much as we trust our own.
Parents, preachers, teachers, friends, advisors, counselors, mentors, siblings, salesmen, frauds, significant others, offspring, partners, pets…
The goal is for us to position ourselves in the mark's mind as someone who is allowed to impact and alter the internal universe of others. Because of authority, rapport, trust, and influence. All of which we can do with words.
Wizards, we are. But it's not clean. It's not nice. It's BLACK magic, even if you leave someone else's universe a better place than you found it.
The sooner you accept that we are messing with people's minds rather than trying to impart facts, the more skilled you will become.