Studies show we are exposed to as many as 5,000 ads per day!
From the moment you wake up and check Facebook until you set your alarm clock app before falling asleep, your brain is bombarded with all kinds of messages averting you from being a free thinker.
We are drowning in information—much of it being nothing but trash.
Think about it.
How often do you find yourself thinking about information that doesn’t mean shit to your life?
From disinformation to Reality TV to toxic thoughts to straight up lies, our precious energy and willpower is being sucked out of us. And for what?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to sift through the nonsense and take in only the relevant, quality, life-enhancing information?
After all, one of the greatest divine gifts we humans own is the ability to be a free thinker.
What To Do
Tip 1: Always challenge the source
Our brains have developed a very strong tendency of linking authoritative costumes to reliable information.
What I mean is that if they throw a lab coat on a guy and give him a clipboard (the costume), we will unconsciously treat his word as gold.
An experiment conducted by Stanley Milgram, a Psychologist at Yale University, found that a whopping 65% of subjects would reject their own conscience and obediently follow directions to administer deadly shocks to another human being—all because a person in authority (the experimenter) told them to. 65%! Yeah, this is no good…
You can read more about the Milgram Obedience Experiment here.
We all know that just because someone says something, doesn’t mean it’s true—surprisingly, we rarely put that knowledge into practice.
- Next time anyone shares information with you—whether in a book, speech, TV commercial, news station, website, etc.—take a second to ask yourself, “who or what is the source?”
- Do not blindly believe information just because you see a Ph.D. after a name or that it is published in a popular magazine.
- Be on the lookout for citations, studies, and social proof.
This isn’t to say information that isn’t cited, or that came from an unknown source, is always false. Just make sure your brain doesn’t automatically process it as a truth.
Tip 2: Recognize the motive
Whether they know it or not, everyone has a motive.
Often when people share their thoughts, they will benefit from it in some fashion. This can cause slight bends in the truth.
Data may be left out, exaggerated, misrepresented, or sometimes flat-out false.
24-hour cable news networks are a perfect example of this with their panic mongering, history rewriting, bullying, confusion, subliminal messaging, populism biasing, diversion, repetition of blatant falsities, I could keep going…
Their obvious motive is profit and they are not afraid to bend the truth to achieve it. Also, I’m sure they have plenty more less-obvious motives.
I’m not a huge fan of 24-hour cable news networks if you couldn’t tell.
Now it wouldn’t make sense for a free thinker to distrust anyone with a motive. Because although some motives may be to deceive and gain profits, others, if not more, may be good willed, noble, and for your benefit.
The key is to understand a motive does indeed exist—whether good or bad—and it may affect the content of the message.
Tip 3: Don’t be a damn bobble-head
By asking questions I know you will resonate with, I soften your brain to accept my own suggestion I secretly slip in. The more I get you to nod with overgeneralized and obvious questions, the more susceptible your brain becomes to believe information that is inline with MY motive.
This is one of the oldest psychological marketing tactics in the book. Even when poor marketers make it painfully obvious, it can still be effective.
Now don’t get me wrong, asking a question to elicit a targeted answer is one of the most valuable tools we have—but like anything—it can be used for evil. And it often is.
- As soon as you start turning into a bobble-head, let this be your trigger to wise up. Keep your conscious mind in the driver’s seat!
- Consider the speaker’s real reason for asking these obvious questions.
- Once you know the possible motives, try to pick out the suggestion the speaker is trying to slip in. It will be easy to spot if you are consciously looking for it.
- Take this suggestion and make your own decision as to its validity!
P.S. Remember how I said we are exposed to 5,000 ads per day?
Yeah that was Bullshit. What exactly were the “studies” I mentioned? Who knows.
Shari Worthington has done some math for us—check out how many marketing messages we actually see.
- Be wary of the “studies show”, “experts say”, “according to research” tactics. What studies? What experts? What research?
- Just as you shouldn’t assume information to be true, you shouldn’t assume it to be false either. Don’t be afraid to ask your own questions.
- Just because someone may benefit from sharing their information, doesn’t mean their info is bad.