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Why no one will ever follow your advice

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Copywriting teaches you a very important, hard-earned lesson:

Influencing people is hard.

And that’s why it’s so fascinating to me.

But what does influence really mean?

In short it’s the ability to shape or direct outcomes in a particular direction.

And the secret to knowing how to influence people, is right there in that last sentence…

“the ability to shape“.

When you’re influencing someone you’re not changing anything. You’re simply providing a new direction for their thoughts.

Seen this way, copywriting or persuasion, don’t sound that intimidating, do they?

I love how Scott Adams frames it in his (weird and slightly mind-bending) book, God’s Debris:

“People think they follow advice but they don’t. Humans are only capable of receiving information. They create their own advice. If you seek to influence someone, don’t waste time giving advice. You can only change what people know, not what they do.”

It’s true, people’s actions are way out of our control.

But we can inject new information in their mental models of the world, so they might start forming new branches into their minds.

So, next time you think you have to absolutely make someone do something, pause and ask: what information do they need to begin thinking differently about this?

It just takes that small initial step.

They will do the rest.

P.S. New video going live today at 1pm EST (or 6pm UK time) on the Youtube channel. I’d love to know what you think!

Quote and reflection of the day:

“When belief does not control your most important decisions it is not belief in the underlying reality, it is belief in the usefulness of believing.”

– Scott Adams, God’s Debris

Seek the direct correlation between belief and thought, then action. When belief doesn’t lead to shaping your reality, that’s just pretending.

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brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

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