Friday, December 23, 2005

Be As Shrewd As Serpents...

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini is one of the books recommended in class about how people are influenced, especially by sales methods.

Cialdini lists the 6 forms of influence that almost all methods come from, they are:
  1. Reciprocation
  2. Commitment and Consistency
  3. Social Proof
  4. Liking
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity
Reciprocation is the factor, when someone does something good for you, e.g. give you a free gift, or a free lunch, you will feel obligated to buy something from him/her as a reciprocation.

One example is that Turkish carpet sellers would give you a free tour of the city. At the end of it you will probably end up with one or two carpets in reciprocation of their favour.

Another example are the Hare Krishnas that press a flower in your hand to solicit donatiosn. Inevitably you will feel obligated to pay for that flower as reciprocal action.

So what is the antidote? Don't take "favours".

Commitment and Consistency is the factor where once you said yes to a small truth or favour, you will feel obliged to be committed to your "new identity".

This technique was used by Vietcong interrogators to turn American GI's against American. They would try to find some way for the GI to agree to some flaw in the government, this in turn will cause him to start agreeing that the USA is bad and evil.

Because you had agreed to one flaw in the government, the GI then had to be consistent in condemning other things about the USA.

Social Proof is the factor that "if everyone does it, it can't be wrong."

This is the way endorsements work or in the classic Singaporean case, "if there's a long queue for it, it's got to be good."

More subtly, laugh tracks in TV comedies help to induce us to laugh, they give audio and "social" cues to find a joke funny.

One way this technique is used is to plant several people in an audience to clap after a performance, inevitably the rest of the crowd will follow.

Antidote: Be conscious of this. Look around for evidence to the contrary, think rationally.

Liking is the factor, that someone would be influenced if you like him.

For example, if you like something, even if evidence points contrary, you will dismiss them as anomalies or exaggerate strengths.

Authority is the factor that you will obey someone if that person has authority.

Celebrity endoresements lend credence to whatever products they endorse because they seem to have a kind of authority.

In other cases, soldiers may blindly go and follow orders that are morally wrong because "they were just following orders."

Antidote: Ask, "Is this guy really an expert?" and secondly, "How truthful can we expect the expert to be here?"

Scarcity is the trick when you think that the object you want is in limited supply or going to be snapped up quickly.

It forces you to move your hand or bid higher to get the object. It also increases your desire for it.
This is the bait used by certain stores when the say, limited supplies, first 30 customers only, etc.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Encourage One Another DAILY

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." (Hebrews 3:13)

Encouragement and motivation is like food, it must be taken daily.

Dale Carnegie writes that praise is so often scrimped by parents that they hardly praise their children. Some may only encourage their children once a week, or once a fortnight. Some, only once a quarter or when their exam results come about. Some only during festive occasions. Others may wait 30 years before even encouraging their own children once.

I find this not only in children but also bosses and employees. The boss only says something good to his staff when he does something spectacular or only once a month or once a year. I speculate that these bosses think that encouragement needs to be a controlled supply. Is praise such a rare commodity that it has to be rationed out?

Encouragement is so important that the verse quoted above says that it must be done daily, so that we may not sin.

Encouragement is like daily vitamins against the disease of sin!

A lot of us know and do eat fruits and supplement our diets with multi-vitamins, and health supplements. But how many of us encourage one another daily?

So, one of my goals from this day is to call someone everyday and to encourage him/her. Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Noone One Owes You Anything. Not!

"No one owes you anything." That's one of the quick rejoinders heard when you get disappointed when things don't go your way, or perhaps there were unmet expectations.

I had to endure this recently when I turned down a job in Jakarta. Then I learned a hard lesson that people when people ask you to do something, it's really for their own interests. Even when you object with your own personal reasons (taking course, pursuing own business, Christmas time is dangerous, etc), they will pursue their requests for their own personal interests without considering yours.

I learned the hard lesson that you do have to take care of your own interests and say a firm "No", becuase they aren't looking out for yours.

But Romans 13:7-9 says:
Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
So really "No one Owes You Anything" is really a teaching from man, not God.

The unfortunate thing is... we are surrounded by men who don't believe they owe you anything.

We owe one another a debt of love. Each one of us. Unfortunately not everyone believes that.

The world doesn't believe that. A lot of cases it's everyone for himself.

"For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ." (Phil 2:21)

Paul wrote the above, because he too experienced the loneliness and abandonment from people who thought were his friends. He had enemies, he wept (Phil 3:8). Not everyone in the church eagerly supported his ministry, except the Macedonians. He has experienced selfish co-workers who preached the gospel out of envy and rivalry. He has terrible enemies, whom he calls "dogs".

Yet the book of Philippians shows that he is rejoicing in spite of all this. He talks about humility and the knowledge that "the best is yet to be."

[A thought to ponder: Are we supporting any Pauls in prison? Or are we so busy going about our business?]

Man's Search for MeaningI am reminded of the reality of life by Viktor Frankl's quote in Man's Search for Meaning:
"Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips"

This is why I would disagree with Anne Frank's statement that "I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart." (It is a static statement compared to a dynamic one. This I will elaborate further in another post.) I would say, "All men have been made in the image of God who is the source of all goodness and while still alive, may be in the process of choosing goodness or have the potential to choose goodness."

(Anne Frank's statement is too often quoted out of context and it is too simplistic. If all men are basically good, what is the point of Christ's redemptive work on the cross? Bruno Bettelheim is quoted: "If all men are good at heart, there never really was an Auschwitz; nor is there any possibility that it may recur" (Anne Frank. Reflections on Her Life and Legacy.)

But Paul writes and encourages the Christians to:
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Phil 2:3-4)
Galations 6:2 says: "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." but at the same time in 6:5 says "for each one should carry his own load."

What can I say for now? Further study and meditation required. So we have to carry our own load and as well as our brothers.

Heroes (II)

King David, because his life is vividly described in the Bible. A man after God's heart. Yet, one with many failings. His Psalms show the emotions of life. His struggles, just like you and me. Bullied by his older brothers. Hated by his own boss. Tempted and fell to sin.

He is a warrior, yet he is a master of a performing art just like I am. (Besides being a harpist, he's also an actor! See 1 Sam 21:13.) He comes from humble beginnings. He writes poems that expresses his joys, and sorrows, and even his anger, anger that may even be criticized as "un-Christian" were it to be uttered in public, yet the very same struggles that we go through yet hide or only write in our own private diaries.

Instead of the traditional sculpture of Michaelangelo's, I choose to show Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture of David which show's David in action and the aspects of his life symbolically portrayed in the armor, harp, and his shepherd's bag.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Psychology of Winning: Positive Self-Awareness

Winners know who they are, what they believe, the role in life they are presently filling, their great personal potential--and the future roles and goals which will mark fulfilment of that potential. They have learned these things, and are constantly adding to their knowledge, through experience, insight, feedback, and judgement.

As a result they can continuously not only "play from strength" in the game of life, but also avoid errors and correct weaknesses.

Their judgements are characterized by extreme honesty. They don't kid others and they don't kid themselves.

Losers say, "Who knows what I could do if I only had a change." Winners say, "I know who I am, where I'm coming from and where I'm going.

Make this moment the moment of truth about yourself.

You have been selling yourself short all of your life.

You have the opportunity to experience more environmental, physical and mental/spiritual abundance than you could use in ten lifetimes.

Open up your lenses to the possibilities and alternatives available in your life. Change your attitude and your lifestyle and your many environments will change automatically.

Understand your own uniqueness. Appreciate the difference in others.

Relax and learn to respond positively to stress. Change for the better that which can be changed.

Remove from your presence those negative influences that cannot be changed. Adapt and adjust to those negative influences that cannot be changed or removed.

Take Action Today For More Positive Self-Awareness:
  1. Schedule a comprehensive annual physical with your own physician or a reputable clinic. Not just a simple blood pressure, urine exam but a complete detailed physical. Every two years go for an even more detailed blood, EKG, upper and lower G.I. series, x-rays, eyes, etc. This is a prevention check and tune-up. Go for a teeth cleaning session with your dentist. Call now or in the morning for that physical exam. Don't put it off--do it.

  2. Be more curious about everything in your world. Read book digests. Listen to audio CD's. Go to lectures and seminars. Seek out and gain counsel from the most successful people in your profession and hobbies. (They love to talk about their experiences and are surprisingly eager to help others.)

  3. Break the daily and weekly routine you have set. Get out of that comfortable rut. Unplug the TV for a month. Go to work via a different route or mode of transport. Plan a trip to Chile. Have your children give their best toys to an orphanage this Christmas. Take a bath instead of a shower.

  4. Make a list of "I Ams"--Two columns. Assets of "I Am Good At" in one column. Liabilities or "I Need Improvement In" in the other. Pick your 10 best traits and your 10 traits needing most improvement. Take the first 3 liabilities and schedule an activity or find a winner who will help you improve in each of the 3 areas. Forget about the rest of the liabilities. Remember, relish and dwell on all ten of your best assets. They'll take you anywhere you want to go in life!

  5. Look at yourself through other people's eyes. Imagine being your parents. Imagine being that person married to you. Imagine being your child. When you walk into a room or office, imagine that each person is thinking two descriptive adjectives about you--such as "well-dressed, confident" or "aloof, nervous." What would they be in each case about you? Why?

  6. Look at yourself through your own eyes objectively. This is easier said than done for all of us. If you want to test this exercise, try standing in front of a full-length mirror with no clothes on, with only a grocery bag over your head, with eye holes cut out. Look at yourself from front, rear and side views. Talk about a mind-blowing experience! When you look in the mirror day after day--your friendly face is used to seeing yourself and has rationalized all of your flaws--even the flab and dark circles. What the paper sack over that well-known face, you become a stranger in the nude. It's an experience you will remember for weeks to come.

  7. Take 30 precious minutes each day for you alone. Relax and breathe deeply from the pelvis and stomach up into your lungs when you inhale. Exhale slowly. Mediate and let go as if you were lying in the center of a water bed the size of a football field. Float freely. Give yourself at least one beautiful half-hour out of every twenty-four to be completely aware that your life belongs to you and that all exists in your life is seen out of your eyes and experienced by your mind and body.

  8. Look for truth and speak the truth. Don't let the ads and fads make you one of the countless victims of greed. When you read something that impresses you, check the source. When in doubt, call the research department of a national publication you trust or call a major university you respect. If it really works wonders, it will be available everywhere like aspirin. If it's a breakthrough, look for it to be announced by reputable news authorities and government agencies. Rather than hearing what you want to hear, listen for the facts of the matter. And remember, everything you think is your opinion, based upon your impressions from limited sources. Keep expanding your sources from the best authorities. View everything with a certain open-minded scepticism... open minded enough to explore it without prejudice... and sceptical enough to research and test its validity.

  9. Be aware of the children and the elderly. Remember that childhood is that wonderful, special classroom in which the adult is developed. Listen to their dreams. Observe their special talents. Ask for their opinions and reactions. Also, remember that becoming elderly is inevitable. It can be a lonely or glorious time. With activities, goals, horizons, and attention, being a senior citizen can be as exciting as being a senior in high school. It's a question of Positive Self-Awareness.

  10. Be empathic.
  11. Learn to feel how others feel and consider where they are coming from before criticizing or passing judgement. Even if you can't feel for everyone you meet, be certain that you feel with every living thing you encounter. It's the key to Positive Self-Awareness.

The Psychology Of Winning

  1. Positive Self-Awareness: Be open to abundance, emphatic to others, adaptable to stress.

  2. Positive Self-Esteem: Like and accept yourself for who you are at this moment.

  3. Positive Self-Control: Take full responsibility and credit for causing your own effects.

  4. Positive Self-Motivation: Focus all thoughts and energy on immediate priorities and rewards.

  5. Positive Self-Expectancy: Create your own winning horoscope for good health and good luck.

  6. Positive Self-Image: Preview your future attractions by imagining them as "Oscar Winners".

  7. Positive Self-Direction: Purpose, forged in goals and priorities, is the key to success.

  8. Positive Self-Discipline: Practice winning by relaxing, rehearsing and relenting.

  9. Positive Self-Dimension: Look beyond yourself, create other winners, and live in the "Now".

  10. Positive Self-Projection: Listen, set the best example and be lovable.