— Will Durant From “Fallen Leaves: Last words on Life, Love, War, and God” P. 36
Ariely, Dan (2009-06-06). Predictably Irrational
We generally believe we have precise and well-articulated preferences, but in reality, we only think that we know what we want.
From New Rainmaker Podcast on persuasion:
Tom Asacker: When we make any decision in life, we have come to the conclusion that whatever that choice is, is the appropriate choice for us given our place, time, circumstances. So that in essence is what a belief is. The word “belief” comes from an old word, root of the word “lief” which means “to wish.” So to believe something is to wish that it is right, is appropriate, is the best choice. So our beliefs are driven by our desires to have the right choice for us as individuals.
Robert Bruce: So how does belief relate to trust? And which comes first?
Tom Asacker: I’ve been asked that, for the distinction between belief and trust more than one time. And the way I think about it is that belief is something that comes before the actual experience. So I would say trust is one step beyond belief and that some type of experience has been validated for us.
Robert Bruce: And what does this have to do with persuasion? Well, we do what we believe in – so if you’re looking to inspire action, you must first inspire belief.
Tom Asacker: … what we desire is what we end up believing. And what we believe is what we end up doing. So it’s desire, belief, action. And then the action either reinforces the belief, supports it, encourages more of it, or it doesn’t.
If you can discover desire, you win.
Robert Bruce: So what’s the key to modern persuasion? How do we discover what people desire in the first place?
Tom Asacker: … if you think about it: sell, persuade, even influence, they don’t seem to get at the essence of what’s required to move people. Especially when people are inundated with choice and then they’re very skeptical.
Then you have to really understand what’s going on inside of them so that you can align what you’re doing and complete that story in their head that’s already partially there.
Robert Bruce: It turns out that understanding your audience determines your ability to move them to action. And that takes good ol’ fashioned research – but the payoff from what you discover is powerful.
But here’s the thing … it’s much easier to discover and align your media content with the existing beliefs and world views of your prospective audience. In other words, discover desires and then fulfill them.
Tom Asacker: Let’s give them a “reason to believe,” and what they typically are saying, “let’s give them information to rationalize their decision.” Because their real reason to believe something is their desire for it.
If we go into an organization or if we’re marketers talking to a particular audience and we’re trying to get them to believe in something for which they have absolutely no desire to believe, it’s an impossible task because desire is what leads to belief.”
I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.”
On Desire: Why we want what we want P. 232
Sexual beings pay another price in their human relationships. Their sexuality taints relationships with members of the opposite sex — or, if they are homosexual, members of their own sex. Sexual beings tend to classify the people they meet according to their desirability as sexual partners. A man at a party might break off a conversation with an intelligent but homely woman in order to cross the room and converse with a woman who, though strikingly attractive, hasn’t had a thought in weeks. A woman might refuse the friendship of a man because she suspects that what he is really after is sex — or might refuse her friendship because she fears that it will lessen her chances of being sexually attractive to some other man. Celibates appreciate people not as potential sex partners but as human beings.
Celibates routinely experience a kind of love that the rest of us rarely do. Celibate love isn’t exclusive: celibates don’t let their love for one person detract from their love for another. Nor is their love possessive: they aren’t trying to use or take advantage of the object of their love; to the contrary, they are trying to help him or her. In the words of one nun, ‘To be celibate … means first of all being a loving person in a way that frees you to serve others. Otherwise celibacy has no point.’ “
On Desire: Why we want what we want P. 219
One important Amish insight into desire is that self-set and self-enforced limits on our behavior are fragile things.”
On Desire: Why we want what we want P. 216
People who try to outshine their neighbors are engaged in a curious kind of social competition. If they lose, they feel pangs of envy; if they win, they typically do so at considerable financial cost and run the risk of becoming targets of their neighbors’ envy. A thoughtful person will think twice about engaging in a competition in which, no matter whether you win or lose, you are worse off.”
On Desire: Why we want what we want P. 215
Most of us seek personal aggrandizement. We want others to notice, respect, or admire us. We might even want others to envy us. These social desires, to a considerable extent, rule our lives. They determine where we live, how we live, and how hard we work to maintain our chosen lifestyle.”
“According to one Zen Master, ‘Gaining enlightenment is an accident. Spiritual practice simply makes us accident-prone.” On Desire: Why we want what we want P. 191