Long time ago I used to work in a research and development laboratory for a big biomedical company. We used to use all kinds of medical type supplies in our testing.
One day, this girl came in with some extra PVC tubing. We used a lot of it, and she assumed we could use it, which we could.
Only she thought something was wrong with it.
I asked her, and she said, “Well, it’s not medical grade.”
Not sure what she meant by that, I asked what that meant.
She thought about it, looked at the tubing, and said, (I kid you not):
“Well, it’s just that it’s not….a , uh,… medical grade…” Then she shook her head, and looked at me as if she’d successfully explained herself.
Funny as that may seem, that’s EXACTLY how we construct meaning in our minds.
Often times, when we think we are “explaining” something, we’re really just taking off one label, and putting on another label.
Take the law of gravity for example.
Why do things fall do the ground? Because of gravity.
What’s gravity? It’s a force of attraction between two objects.
They’ve done experiments, and they can describe the “law of gravity” in explicit detail (the force of gravity between two objects is the mass of object one, times the mass of object two, times the universal gravitational constant, divided by the distance between them squared).
Explains it perfectly, right?
See, the law of gravity is really nothing more than a description of what’s happening. It says nothing about “why” it happens. Only that it happens.
So when you drop your keys, saying they fall to the ground because of gravity is really saying they fall to the ground because they fall to the ground.
Not so helpful after all. Makes sir Isaac Newton sound like the tubing girl I described above.
However, this is a great thing to know if you’re ever persuading something.
Buy my product!
Because it’s a good product!
Because you should buy it!
Obviously, this wouldn’t work in such a raw form. But you’d be surprised how easily it will work if you simply put different labels on there. And if you don’t go straight from point A to point B, but take some meandering and interesting steps in between.
Does this mean that we’re all suckers, easily taken advantage of?
Not in the least.
See, humans love buying stuff. As soon as we buy something, we want something else. It’s human nature.
We just need a plausible (or plausible sounding) reason.
If you’re the person giving people reasons to buy something?
You’ll sell a lot of stuff.
Keep that in mind when out and about, and any time you get into a conversation where some covert persuasion could come in handy.