Here’s a true story of how the simple application of authority changed the world we live in.
Authority is one of Cialdini’s influence factors, and can circumvent our logic. Basically when somebody with a position of authority says something, we’re much, much more likely to believe it, even if that something doesn’t make any sense.
If we bump into some homeless guy, and he tells us that carrots are good for us, we’ll think he’s a loon. But if we a famous and world renowned doctor on TV telling us the same thing, we’ll go out and buy some carrots.
Anyhow, here’s the story.
Shortly after the U.S. went off the gold standard, in the early 70’s, a commodity futures trader had an idea. He figured that since there was no more gold standard, the world’s currencies would start to fluctuate a lot more. He devised a trading “system” or platform, that would trade currency futures just like commodity futures.
Now, this guy was a well know expert in commodity trading. He wasn’t some crazy guy with a crazy theory. He was just taking what he was very good at in one area (trading commodities) and applying it to another area (currency).
However, he went from banker to banker and they all said he was nuts. Nobody would give him the time of day.
So, what did he do?
He got himself some authority. He pitched his idea to Milton Friedman, a Nobel prize winning economist. He paid Friedman to write a paper, detailing his plan. This paper didn’t have anything new or anything in addition to the commodity trader’s original idea.
So, once more, he went to all the big banks. Only now, instead of him and his idea, he had him and his SAME idea that he’d presented before, and a paper from Friedman, which basically said the same thing as his idea. But since it was written by Friedman, a Nobel prize winning economist, the bankers fell all over themselves trying to accommodate the commodity trader.
Never mind that Friedman’s paper had the exact same ideas the guy presented before. Never mind that the guy had PAID Friedman, as a consultant, to write the paper.
And that began the trading of currency futures, and other financials, which basically crashed the system in 2008 and many believe will crash the system again soon.
More of the story? Any idea you have, if you can anybody in authority to back you up, you’ll have a lot more success.
Obviously, there’s plenty of ways to make money. But when you get rid of your limiting beliefs that allow you to do so, you’ll have a lot more success.
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