I originally wrote this article in May 2016…
Seems even more relevant — and enlightening — and powerful today.
I have the kids at home today and am trying to spend as little time working as possible, hence the reprint. Tomorrow we’ll be back to fresh Breakthrough Marketing Secrets content.
What I’m about to say may be very offensive…
What do you believe to be true about the world? The universe? God — or the lack thereof? What beliefs do you hold most dear?
What if I tell you that were brainwashed into believing these things?
… Note: I’m NOT telling you what you believe is false. I’m also not telling you that it’s true. Whatever you believe, my point is NOT to tell you that you’re wrong or right.
Rather, I want to help you understand how the human mind works.
Because of the process I’m about to outline, we can be made to believe almost anything so devoutly that we become certain — absolutely certain — that our belief is a universal truth. We can also use this same process to benefit ourselves.
Here’s the main lesson for the day…
What you believe is a direct result of whatever information you regularly consume…
This has all sorts of implications. It’s also the route to becoming a total expert in your field, fast. But before we can talk about the implications, I want to dive into the concept.
First, let me make it a little less personal.
Let’s talk about artificial intelligence and machine learning. These are two of the most interesting areas of technology right now. Areas of technology that will totally transform our lives in the coming years and decades.
The way computers learn is by taking input, processing it, and using it to determine output.
On a really, really simple level, think of Siri — the iPhone assistant. You ask Siri, “Where’s the nearest fast food restaurant?” Siri listens to your voice, and converts your voice to text. It then uses advanced computer programs to understand the text.
It interprets “where’s” as a question about place. “The nearest” means you’re looking for someplace nearby — probably a map and driving directions. And “fast food restaurant” means you’re looking for restaurants in a specific category.
Siri then combines all that data to look for businesses in the category of “fast food restaurant” in close geographic proximity to you, finds at least one (but probably a few), and displays a map and listing of all the restaurants it found.
It takes input, processes it, and uses it to determine output.
That’s a totally regular and quite useful example of artificial intelligence. Others seem quite wacky — it all depends on your input.
If you say, “Siri, call me ‘Lord Vader,’” it will do the best it can with that input.
Siri’s response will be something like, “Okay Roy, from now on I’ll call you ‘Lord Vader.’”
Then if you say, “Siri, can I ask you a question?,” it will respond with, “Yes, Lord Vader…”
It takes the input, processes it, and uses it to determine future output.
As advanced as Siri is in terms of the total progression of artificial intelligence, its quirks can be exploited to make it do some rather entertaining things.
Because — at its core — it’s limited to taking whatever your input is, processing it, and using it to determine future output.
Believe it or not, our minds work in the exact same way…
Our minds are TOTALLY dependent on our input to determine future output. And that output doesn’t have to be what comes out of your mouth, or what you write.
Your mind’s output includes your innermost thoughts and beliefs.
Take, for example, the difference in children who grow up in two different cultures, speaking two different languages.
Because of the subtle nuances in language, and how it represents the world, people who grew up speaking a different language than you often actually think differently than you about the world.
Input determines output.
Here’s where this can be seen as very nefarious — and where I might offend you…
Religion is one of the best examples of this principle at work.
If you go to church every Sunday (and other times throughout the week) and have the same message presented to you every week, you will start to believe it. The more you read the Bible, the more you believe.
And in religion, those beliefs run very deep. People will die for their religious beliefs.
But before atheists climb up on their high horse, they’re equally guilty. Every time another atheist pundit releases another book about how “God is dead” and all the die-hard atheists grab a copy and tear through it, they’re subjecting themselves to the same principle.
The more books they read repeating the same atheist beliefs, the more they’ll believe it’s true.
I’ve definitely noticed this even with the news I read every day. Every news company today has an agenda. If the company itself doesn’t have an overt agenda, people inside the company have their own beliefs. And when people of a certain set of beliefs hire others that share that same belief, it starts to slant coverage of the news.
The longer your read news from any one source, the more you will find yourself agreeing with their interpretation of the world.
So if you’re a regular Fox News viewer, you’re going to develop one set of values. If you’re a regular MSNBC watcher, you’ll develop another set.
And the more you watch, and the more input you get following one belief narrative, the more you’ll find yourself agreeing with it.
(I try to get news from a broad range of sources for this reason.)
The folks who run movements, including cults, religions, cultural movements, and more all know how this works.
The most sinister of them actually take steps to cut you off from the outside. To separate those who are “in the movement” from the general public of “unbelievers.” The less a true believer interacts with the riff-raff, the better. Because if the belief narrative coming from the movement (or cult, or whatever) is interrupted or questioned, it actually undermines the belief.
If they are able to maintain only one kind of input, your mind will spit only that back out — even when you’re sitting in the quiet of your home.
The more diverse the inputs, the more your mental processing compares the validity of different inputs to determine your beliefs.
Now here’s how to use this to become an expert in any field, fast…
You can use this to your advantage. In fact, it’s a HUGE secret to my success in marketing.
Most people in our society today look forward to adulthood as the time when they can stop learning. When they can stop being exposed to new ideas. When they can just rest on their laurels, have a little fun, and then die.
The good news about this is that it doesn’t take much to reach the top of your field. Because the vast majority of people in the field won’t do anything to work their way to the top.
What you have to do is what I’ve been telling you to do all along. Get a little bit better, every week. 1% improvement per week, compounded, leads to exponential growth in knowledge, skills, and abilities.
And the real secret is input.
Here’s the selfish recommendation: read these essays, in full, every day. You’ll get my take on the world, and a steady diet of marketing, business, and selling ideas and wisdom.
Also, read all the important books in the field.
Listen to podcasts.
Subscribe to any information sources, like newsletters, magazines, and so on.
The faster you feed yourself this input — preferably from sources with multiple diverse views on your field — the faster you’ll develop understanding and expertise in the field.
When I started in marketing, I had a voracious appetite for anything marketing. I went through a book a week, for a very long time. I listened to all sorts of podcasts, interviews, seminar recordings, and so on — driving back and forth to work, in the gym, and any other time I could listen. I consumed, consumed, consumed.
Within months I was a marketing idea machine. Over a couple years, I could suddenly talk shop with some of the best in the industry. In less than a decade, I earned the highest respect of my heroes in the field.
It’s because I used this principle of regular input determining output. I fed myself all the high-quality input I could find. And it shifted my beliefs and understanding of marketing such that I’ve become a top expert in the field of direct response marketing.
Now here’s my public service announcement about this…
This principle is incredibly powerful.
You can actually use it to build your business, get more customers, and create a movement around you and your ideas. The secret is to regularly provide input to your customers and followers, that gets them excited about your ideas. A regular daily email (like this one) is actually a great place to do this. Any kind of regular media that you control, for distributing your message, works.
If you’re knowingly and intentionally applying this principle though — please do it in a life-giving way, that holds your follower’s highest and best interests as your own priority.
Also, be mindful of how this principle is impacting your thoughts and beliefs. Whatever it is that you believe, ask yourself… Do I believe this because it’s real, or do I believe it because it’s been repeated to me over, and over, and over again?
If you believe it due to sheer repetition, consider changing your input.
Changing your input can literally change the way your mind thinks and interprets the world. And that can create total breakthroughs and change your life.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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