Torres column: Commitment is good when you are not being manipulating
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
— Henry Ford
Not too long ago, I decided to get rid of my old bookshelf and get a new one. I put all my books aside to organize them later in the new bookshelf.
The truth is that I read a book called Limitless by Jim Kwik. In this book Kwik teaches some techniques to learn and read faster. So I decided to put what I learned in practice and reread many of the books that I already read. I want to see how many books I can read in a month. Therefore, I left the mess in my living room, so I can hurry to reread the two hundred, plus books I have and put them back in my new bookshelf.
So I started with a book called The Psychology of Persuasion that I read years ago. I am remembering some things I learned about psychology.
One of the experiments that this book mentions is about horse betting. In the beginning before the person bets, he is not sure about the horse. But once the person already bet, he made up his mind that his horse is the winner. Nothing has changed about the horse. The horse is still the same, but the bettor is more confident now.
The book also mentions Sara’s story. Sara was dating Tim and at some point they started living together. Tim was not ready to marry her and he drank heavily. Sara decided to break up with him and he moved out.
The old boyfriend stayed in contact with Sara. The old boyfriend and Sara got together. They got engaged and ready to get married when Tim decided to call Sara.
Tim asked her to marry him and he also mentioned that he would stop drinking if they get together again. Sara left the old boyfriend and went back to Tim.
Tim never married Sara and he is still drinking. But Sara now is happier than before and the reason why is because she said that she noticed that Tim was her real love.
Nothing really changed about Tim. Sara simply made up her mind that Tim was her love of her life. She is rationalizing her decision, telling herself that she made a good decision.
Another example they mentioned is when the author of the book, Robert Cialdini, and friends went to a Transcendence Meditation seminar. The presenter’s goal was to make people sign up to their program. The author’s friend noticed a lot of contradictions in the presentation and confronted the speaker. He called out all the contradictions out loud, so all people who were in the seminar would hear.
Robert thought that no people would sign up to the program, but the surprise was that the seminar was a success for the presenter. Many people did sign up. They already made up their mind even before the confrontation.
These three stories have in common that when people make up their mind it is difficult to help them change their mind even though they are making the wrong decisions and they are being lied to.
“There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”
— Sir Joshua Reynolds
Many people do want to trust others. They are looking for answers for their problems and they are looking for leaders who can help them. When there is a problem, we look for the solution. If someone shows us the way even though it is a lie, we want to trust him.
I believe this is the case why many people believe the politicians. This is the reason why I believe people do trust the government in their attempt to put fear in us and control us with their solutions to the problem that they do create.
This is also the case when people believe the lies about weight loss and fitness in commercials and social media. We put all our trust in the gurus that we follow diets, regiments, take supplements without questioning their motives or if real science supports their claims.
Many times we don’t like to think and we let other people think for us even though the other person’s goal is to take advantage of us.
When we already made up our mind to our beliefs and we put all of our trust into it, it is difficult to change our mind. We want to be right and we want our problems to be solved by the thing or person we have put our trust in.
Don’t get me wrong, commitment is good. We need people who are committed to their word for society to be functional. We need people who we can trust without needing to sign a contract. This is one of the reasons why contracts exist. There are many people who can’t be trusted. Simply, they won’t follow through on their word.
The same can be said about leadership. It is good to trust our leaders. We can find good leaders who want the best for us. They are dedicated to helping others. However, there are so many corrupt leaders who lie and find ways to manipulate us. They know when we commit to something we are not going to back up, using us for their benefit only.
It is very important to be committed and not let people down. However, it is quite as important to question our beliefs when we notice that we are making the wrong decision.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the books “Lose Weight Permanently” and “Finding Genuine Happiness.” His column appears on the third Wednesday of the month.
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