I’ve always been amazed at the power of words. I think it started in high school when I got pretty heavily into performing magic. That’s also around the time I found out about peer to peer file sharing. I didn’t download a ton of music. But what I did download was a collection of 433 books on Magic, Hypnosis, and Mentalism.
There were more books about mentalism and hypnosis than other magic tricks, but I just wanted to learn some cool looking stuff I could impress girls with. I think we all know how that endeavor ended…
After half-assedly going through the magic tricks, I started reading some of the hypnosis books. At first it was hard to believe most of it, but I continued to read about Milton Erikson and Richard Bandler and John Grinder (the latter two being the creators of Neuro Linguistic Programming, which I will refer to as NLP). As I got deeper into the readings, I began to understand the power that words could have on people.
NLP practitioners have to ability to take someone who has, lets say, a phobia of spiders, and erase the phobia in as little as one 30 minute session! And this is done simply through the power of the practitioner’s words Psychiatrists can take years to cure such things.
This power has lead me through a dizzying trail of formal and informal study of communication, both written and spoken. It’s been mostly about behavior change and sales techniques (beyond a charismatic personality). I wanted to know what makes people do what they do and be able to manipulate that. This led me to a lot of study in body language and nonverbal communication, but my strongest is in verbal and written communication. How can I use words to make you do something? How can I manipulate your thoughts and emotions into making you perform a certain action?
Sounds evil, right? I’m sure it could be, but I promise to use my knowledge only for good.
I’ve always wanted to learn some other languages, as this would only expand the umbrella under which I could use my newfound evil powers ;) I think I’ve narrowed it down to Japanese, Portuguese, and Dutch (or whatever the dominant language is in the Netherlands. those guys seem really cool).
I feel like knowing how to persuade is one of the most important skills in the world. It’s how Hitler convinced his people to invade Poland. It’s how we sent people to the moon. It’s how I sold over $33 000 in kitchen knives! It’s really what makes the world go round, and it’s what I’m going to spend my life doing whether it’s selling, helping people change their behavior, starting a revolution, or performing magic.
Everyone wants power. Persuasion is probably the strongest and most basic element of power. Learn how to harness it, and you can do whatever you want. Or better yet, you can get others to do it for you.