WHEN THE EXPERTS want to change the way
people think, they use slogans. Why?
Because it works.
Since early in this century, observers
have pointed out that political propaganda campaigns have the
tendency to use short, easy-to-remember phrases that encapsulate
and symbolize their message. These brief phrases are then repeated
over and over again until their meaning becomes part of the thinking
habits of the population.
Advertisers do the same thing Its
the real thing, Just do it, Your true voice, I like what you
do for me, Like a rock short, pithy, memorable phrases
take advantage of the way the human mind works naturally. Its
practical. The short phrases focus the mind, simplify the issue
and stimulate action.
Our minds dont handle complicated
formulas or doctrines very well unless we concentrate our attention.
Thats fine when were reading or listening to a lecture.
But when it comes down to our daily experiences when were
late for work, the kids are crying, and were trying to
remember where we left the car keys we find it distinctly
difficult to concentrate our minds on any complicated concept,
no matter how beautiful or perfect the philosophy seemed to be
when we read it. In the heat of everyday life, we need to focus
on whats happening. We dont have extra attention
to spend philosophizing about it. Thats true for everyone:
rich or poor, genius or average, in free countries and in communist
countries. Thats just how the human brain works.
When a ruthless dictator uses short phrases
to focus ideas and make them easier to act on, it may be bad
for the people. But you can use the same tool to produce some
good for yourself. You, too, can take advantage of the
way your mind works.
When theres something you want to
change about yourself some habit, some way you deal with
others think it through and then encapsulate your conclusions
into a short, easy-to-remember phrase. Say that phrase to yourself
often. Use it to focus your mind. Use it to direct your thoughts.
Use it to channel your actions in the direction you want.
The source of most of the habits you want
to change are habits of thought. Change the thought habits
and your behavioral habits change too.
For example, when I feel out of my element
or Im dealing with a task that feels too big for me, I
often use the principle from the chapter Adrift. I tell myself: I can handle
it. With those four words, I remind myself that others
have been through worse and it immediately puts my situation
Slogans can really help at times like that
times when youre too busy or too emotional or too
overwhelmed to do much thinking about it. Say the slogan to yourself
and get right back on track in a good frame of mind without skipping
Make your own propaganda campaign in your
head. Use some of the principles of this book, or encapsulate
a change you want or an insight youve had into a short
phrase and repeat it often. Encapsulate and repeat. Encapsulate
and repeat. Its a practical technique for improving your
Encapsulate your insights into
phrases and repeat them often.