Whoa!

Yesterday’s essay on The Architecture of A-List Copywriting Skills (which was really just one narrow application of a much deeper/bigger Architecture of Skills model) struck a nerve…

Just like I said in the essay, it got a huge open rate because I put “A-List Copywriting” in the subject line…

And yet, the open rate wasn’t even the most exciting part!

I got a slew of emails in response to that essay.  The general consensus was that it was a total paradigm shift.  That it gave people an entirely new framework to help accelerate their skill development.

And, that by focusing on principles and strategies (then finding techniques and tactics to fit), my readers will now be able to shoot ahead in their abilities, careers, and businesses.

And I believe that with every fiber of my being.

As soon as I imagined that target image included in yesterday’s essay, I knew I was onto something BIG.  Before hitting send on the email, I had a giddy excitement that I was going to crack you open to new possibility.  And yet it wasn’t until the feedback started rolling in that it was clear everything I’d hoped for in that essay was coming true.

Click here and read it now if you missed it yesterday.

Now onto today’s big idea — a principle I keep coming back to in the context of everything going on in the news recently…

“You are what you consume.”

This idea flies around a lot in the context of eating nutritious food.  Food made from better ingredients is more nutritious, and making healthy choices to eat mostly this kind of food will leave you healthier.

But what if it goes beyond food…  To information?

I’ve long thought about this in the context of religion.  Now, a lot of good and a lot of bad has come out of religion.  And I’m not saying this as a pro or con about any one religion, or to target anyone’s religious beliefs.

But a large part of religious belief relies on regular church attendance, and consumption of the religious text.

If you read the Bible every day, it’s unavoidable that you’re going to begin to believe it with far more conviction than someone who hasn’t picked it up in or heard a story from it in 10 years.

The more often you listen to a sermon, the more likely you are to align your thoughts and beliefs to what it contains.

And I’d argue that it doesn’t matter what you believed before you started regular attendance, if you attend church weekly for 10 years, it’s likely you’ll be a believer by the time you’re done.

But what if we move from one contentious topic area to another — from religion to politics?

I find that my God is too big to fit any one religion, and my political beliefs don’t fit any one party, either.  For this reason, and because I have clients whose political views are different than mine, I consume a wide variety of news sources, many with very different political leanings.  And I’ve found something interesting in doing so…

When I spend a lot of time reading very conservative news publications, I find my views shifting toward the conservative side of the spectrum.

And when I spend a lot of time reading very liberal publications, I find my views shifting that way.

I find it’s even more dramatic when the viewpoints come from books rather than news articles.

For a while, I was reading a lot of books about economics.  Especially, Austrian economics.  And my political views shifted strongly in that direction.  But as soon as my reading list changed, my perspective changed with it…

Am I just a fickle fool?!

I don’t think so.  I think I may be more observant of these swings than most, in part due to my long-time interest in meditation and mindfulness.  And a willingness to really investigate ideas that I don’t necessarily agree with, in order to find their kernels of truth and understand their origin.

But I don’t think I’m exceptional in my fickleness, gullibility, or potential for being swayed by my information diet.

I think everyone is subject to these kind of changes in perspective, based on the information they consume.  Just like everyone is subject to changes in health based on the food they eat.

Maybe the one big thing that makes me different is how much I seek out different ideas and ways of viewing the world.

Most people can get by trapped in a very limited model of the world, and will reject anything that conflicts with this model.

There’s actually a term for this in psychology: confirmation bias.  This is where we overestimate the value of information that confirms our beliefs, and ignore information that goes against it.

In other words, our minds have a built-in pattern for getting stuck in a narrow view of the world.

I’m sure this has evolutionary advantages — otherwise it wouldn’t be so.  However, it also leads to something called reality tunnels.  A reality tunnel is your unique way of viewing the world based on your beliefs and experiences.  And if you just keep reinforcing the same set of beliefs and engaging in experiences that confirm them, your reality tunnel will stay very narrow.

And, from my perspective, modern life has made it both easier than ever to break out of your reality tunnel…  AND easier than ever to occupy an ever-narrower reality tunnel, as well.

What?

Well, with all of recorded history and human knowledge available at your fingertips via Google search, you can easily find perspectives, ideas, and beliefs that challenge yours…  And in doing so, chip away at the walls of your reality tunnel, widening it as you go.

And yet, with hyper-targeted personalization of everything from marketing messages to news headlines, to Facebook feed content and a whole lot more…  If you’re not careful, you’ll see what you think is neutral, representative news only through an extremely distorted filter created to match your unique reality tunnel.

They’ve figured out how to feed your confirmation bias, to keep you coming back for more!

How to use this in a productive way…

Okay, there’s two sides to this.

First, if you want to use this in as productive way as possible, I think one of your life missions needs to be to continuously chip away at the walls of your reality tunnel.  You must intentionally consume news, information, and content that takes perspectives different than your own, and really seek to understand that perspective and where it comes from.

By widening your reality tunnel as far as possible, you’ll find that you can connect with people far better than you ever could before.  This matters all throughout your life — not just in marketing.

Second, in business, you must honor your customer’s reality tunnel, in order to build rapport and to sell to them.

I think of the maxim to “Sell them what they want, give them what they need.”  Which means, in your sales message, promise to give them exactly what their reality tunnel demands from a product or service like yours (if you don’t, someone else will, and they’ll get the customer).  But when it comes to your product, if you have an opportunity and you feel it’s relevant to widen their reality tunnel, then do that after the sale, and help them become a better, more rounded human.

What you can’t do in a sales message is to present it from a reality tunnel that doesn’t overlap with your prospect’s.  That doesn’t work.  It won’t resonate.

In order to match the conversation going on in your customer’s head (with a hat tip to Robert Collier), you must first find their reality tunnel, and consider what life is like inside it.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

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