Embrace Your Anger
Nobody likes frustration. We do everything we can to avoid frustration. Lots of advertisements are specifically allude that if we buy the product, our frustrations will be a thing of the past. In fact, one of the most common copywriting techniques is to pace the frustration of your target, expand it, and then demonstrate your product.
Cause Effect Mind Games
One of the curious things about humans is we see cause-effect relationships where none exist (see more here). Meaning we see two things happening, and we assume they are related. Whenever a slick sales page uses any kind of negative pacing in the beginning, and then presents the product, this same connection is made.
We see the sales page carefully and accurately pace our pain. Expand our pain. Then the product is presented. But it never specifically claims that the product will solve our problems. It assumes we will make that connection on our own.
Dale Carnegie Golden Rule
One of the rules of Carnegies fantastic book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” is that you can get anybody to do anything so long as they believe it was their idea. This is the Holy Grail of copywriting.
Copywriting Holy Grail
First, pace the pain of the target. First pace it accurately. So the reader feels you know exactly what they are going through. Then build up that pain in their brain as much as you possibly can. Then you start to describe the product. If the reader starts to come to the conclusion, on their own, that your product will solve their problem, it will work a billion times better than if you specifically say it will solve their problem.
All Political Campaigns Similar
This is the same for every successful political campaign. If you ever want to run for office, here’s how. First, make sure you truly understand the frustrations of your voters. Then make sure you spend plenty of time pacing those frustrations. Explaining in detail how you know what they are.
Then present your political solution. The idea is to get the voters, on their own, to start thinking, “Hey, you know what? I think this guy’s policies might just solve my problems!” Ideally, they won’t actually think that. Ideally, they’ll just create a vague cause-effect linkage in their brains. Your political solution will be match for the desired solution to their frustrations.
Think of the frustration as being one end of a magnet. A magnet that seeks its other half, but can’t find it. This creates anxiety, pain, and a unanswered question in mind. Then the target reads a sales page, or listens to a political speech. Since they know the source of your pain, and their solutions sounds like it could be the answer, you start to imagine that it is. Even if it’s vaguely worded, the target will start to imagine that it is the other end of their magnet. The solution to their frustration. The answer to their pain.
Let’s see if we can figure out why this happens from an instinctive standpoint. That frustration is something that we are told and hopefully brainwashed into thinking is a problem. That if we feel frustrated for some reason, we need to fix that as soon as possible. But let’s see if we can imagine a time when feeling frustrated and even angry might have been very helpful.
Then we’ll see if we can translate into a way we can use that frustration and anger today, but not to be suckers for marketers and politicians, but to solve our own problems.
Since we’ve only been living in large groups for a blink of an evolutionary eye, and even less in democracies where rulers actually needed our buy-in before they got any power, we can assume our frustration instinct pre-dated large societies. Meaning it was calibrated during the time of hunter-gatherers.
Nobody Pitches A Perfect Game
Baseball has been around for over a hundred years. Each year they play over a hundred games. Yet there’s only been 23 perfect games. This means throwing something at a target, so that you both hit the target, and also that nobody can hit it effectively, is a hard thing to do.
Even pro basketball players don’t hit 100% of free throws. Nor do most golfers make putts that are longer than a couple feet. You get the idea. What does this have to do with anything? Imagine how well you putt or pitch or shoot free throws. Now imagine having to hit an animal that’s moving, and having to hit it hard enough so you’d kill it.
This was what ancient hunters had to do to get food. Not just when they had a couple weeks off during the summer, but every single day. Do you think it was easy? No, it was not. And since we can pretty much assume that they missed a lot more than they didn’t, it must have been very frustrating. Let’s see if there might be so more appropriate emotions to feel when your dinner is running away.
Let’s suppose an alpha hunter threw a spear at a buffalo, and missed. The buffalo ran away, and the alpha hunter sat down and started crying.
OK, suppose the alpha hunter curled into a ball of self pity after the buffalo ran away. “I’ll never be a hunter!” he wailed as he rocked back and forth on the desert floor.
OK, maybe he threw the spear, the buffalo ran away and the alpha hunter started laughing hysterically. “Oh, dude, we’re going to have to eat cactus again! Ahh ha ha ha! Oh, god, I crack me up…”
Buffalo Hunting Contest
Imagine a whole bunch of alpha contenders. They each throw their spear at the lone buffalo and they all miss. Each of them has a different emotional response. It’s pretty easy to see that the one who got angry, not at himself but at that goddamn buffalo (for moving at the last minute) would be most motivated to run, pick up his spear, and try again.
Frustration Is A Impulse To Act
From this imaginary scenario, we can imagine that frustration was a very useful survival instinct that motivated ancient humans to keep trying. But it had to be directed action. If an ancient hunter got angry and started killing all his other cave buddies, that wouldn’t have worked out so well.
If the ancient hunter got angry and started attacking a random rock, that wouldn’t have worked either. We can imagine that after the long unforgiving filter of Darwinian evolution, the only people who would have survived were the ones who felt frustrated, but used that frustration to keep trying until they finally succeeded.
Modern Frustration Misfires
Modern technology and our advanced economy don’t come without costs. Since we live in a world with “instant everything,” we expect any discomfort to be readily solvable. Most folks today can’t even read more than a couple hundred words without their eyes glazing over. (Congrats if you’ve made it this far!)
(As an aside, we can think of the increasingly common “wall of text” complaint as a self generated idiot filter…)
This makes us suckers for any external process of product that promises to ease our frustration. From an instinctive level, our frustration used to be a motivating force for us to solve the frustration on our own. Now it is a motivating force, but it motivates us to find the easiest possible way to solve that frustration.
Solving Frustrating By Suppression
Essentially, our frustrating initially was a motivational tool for hunters, back when getting food was difficult and dangerous. Today, we chase wealth, (which is what meat was back then). So it seems kind of natural to solve frustration through consumption. Our inner caveman doesn’t really know the difference.
We get frustrated, so instead of sucking it up and taking the time to solve the actual source of the frustration, we suppress it with temporary good feelings. Eating, drinking, any kind of substance which satisfies that ancient desire. In a sense, all of these create the same feeling, but it by passes the natural neuro-circuitry of actually solving a difficult problem.
If we had a difficult problem, took the time to solve it, it feels really good. Chemicals are released that originally were only reserved for when we actually got something done. Now with the massive amount of chemicals available, we can shortcut this process.
Of course, this only momentarily shuts off the noticeable frustration. Once we realize that the source itself hasn’t been solved, it will be just as bad. This is the very common negative cycle of self destruction.
It’s clearly recognizable when we don’t address any of our issues, and drink a fifth of Jack Daniels every night. It’s not so noticeable when we use all the other ways to sneak our way around the real issue, and solve our frustrations when more socially acceptable quick fixes.
Misery Loves Company
One very common and generally accepted response is the misery loves company response. We get together with like minded sufferers and create a believable narrative. The narratives change from issue to issue, but the basic story is the same. Life sucks. It’s much harder than it used to be. It’s not my fault, it’s some other groups fault. Some group that is cheating, and getting something they shouldn’t be getting.
Often these misery loves company groups get large enough to create socially recognized movements. If they are long lasting enough, they might morph into their own political parties and platforms. Since modern life has been frustrating for many people for many centuries, political activism is generally thought to be a fine way to address our common frustrations. Make them illegal!
Of course, once we self-identify with our frustrations, especially after we join social groups that validate and amply our frustrations, we become the walking wounded, and make ourselves a target for political lies that are most effectively targeted toward frustrated voters. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the more we are clear on our frustrations, the more easily politicians can effectively pace our frustrations and make us feel that they really get our pain.
We buy products that are cleverly and very subtly marketed to take away our pain. The associate their product or service with ideas that are the diametric opposite of our pain, the other half of our open magnet. This is precisely why the stereotypical product marketed to the stereotypical midlife crisis male is a sports car. Sports cars are associated with youth and virility. Middle age crisis are fueled by the frustrations of getting old.
Those who claim to be motivational speakers and gurus solve our frustrations the same way we solve them alcohol and overeating. The blast us with vague but extremely positive statements about our potential, and if we hear those while surrounded by chanting fans and followers, all sharing our same frustrations, it feels fantastic. Unfortunately, this adrenalin rush is not much different than pounding a fifth of Jack, only instead of waking up with a hangover, you’ll wake up with a huge credit card bill.
Own Your Frustration
Ancient frustration once guided ancient humans to keep trying until they killed the animal they were after. Your frustration can be like one of those whack-a-moles, you can pretend to knock it down with booze or food or TV or endless and meaningless sex, but it will come back. Or you can accept it and use as it was intended. Ancient fuel to drive you to kill your prey and your enemies.
Goal Achieving Energy Drink
The raw human energy fueled by frustration is nature’s pure and never ending energy drink. It’s mean to be used to pursue something of value. Something that will make you feel the real endorphins generated by real success. So what if that takes a long time? So what if you’ll fail a bunch of times on the way? When you shoot and miss, get angry. Appreciate that anger. Use that anger to give you energy to try again. Try differently Try better.
Anger is A Gift
Wrongly expressed anger will and should get you in jail. But properly expressed anger, anger that is channeled into learning energy, focus energy, the vast energy of determination that populated the Earth with humans, is a gift from the gods. When you feel frustration, when you feel anger, appreciate it, master it, transform it, and use it as it was intended. The emotional fuel to push you past the obstacles on your way to ultimate success.
Mind Persuasion has plenty of books and courses all designed to help you conquer life they way you were meant to.