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October 12, 2013

If you do not know why you are doing what you are doing, then you carrying out a suggestion, which may or may not benefit you. None of our actions happen as a result of happenstance. Our motivations as human beings can be broken down into two primary categories.

Category number one would be that we have purposefully chosen to engage in a behavior for reasons that are of personal and pragmatic value to us. Category number two would be that we subconsciously engage in a behavior because that behavior has been suggested to us. Furthermore the more sociable we are, the more likely we are as human beings to carry out the suggested behavior simply because we have evolved to have a yearning to belong to a larger or more successful collective. Being a part of a group successful in getting their collective means met, increased the probability of our ancestors surviving. With the modern era, the rules of survival and thriving has changed. Yes, it is in your best interest to still be part of a collective, however the best group to be a part of are those who share the same beliefs and values as you do. So in order to find your group, you have to first know yourself.

Take for example, my five fingers shoes.

After college basketball and my military experience, the chronic pain in my knee was starting to get worse. It was through research that I came across information that barefooted running and walking was optimal for my knees. A primary reason for my chronic pain was the result of an active lifestyle using shoes my body had not evolved to thrive in. Once I switched over, my knees no longer bother me. My use of these unconventional footwear despite stares is an example of engaging in purposeful behavior for pragmatic reasons.

Consider this other example, I was at the bank the other day, and while waiting in line, I look up at their television screen to see an advertisement by the bank. They were pitching an investment service of sorts and it was centered around an attractive black woman. So in one clip you have a banker speaking with the woman as they both smile and nod with each other, and in the following clip you have the same woman leaving a high end store (my perception) with shopping bags of incremental sizes in her right hand, hung over her right shoulder as she turns to smile for camera.

My interpretation, the bank is pitching to minority professionals the idea of success. They want me to believe that if they help me invest and manage my money, I will have plenty of money to go shopping. The problem I have with the advertisement is this, I still don’t understand the service being pitched and I feel that I am being distracted with suggested shopping fantasies.

One has to wonder why the bank simply couldn’t go into details about their service and leave it at that, but instead they give little information about the service they are pitching, and suggest that you will have lots of money to spend at expensive stores.

The frightening thing is that suggestibility is a daily encounter we experience everyday, and they are usually more potent and subtle. If you don’t like the idea of being easily influenced, the response is to get into the habit of asking yourself, why you are making the decisions you make. If you can’t come up with a logical reason, then the decision was most likely suggested to you.

Influence or otherwise you want to get into the habit of making decisions that mean something to you instead being easily manipulated.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC, a professional counseling and life coaching practice.

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