“80% of people are plain wrong – democracy is in trouble” – Dan Kennedy
I have recently campaigned to close the misplaced u-turns on highway E11 and from the experience I learned a lot about psychology of motivation of people. Over the years I had taken up many leadership positions which gave me a chance or glimpse to notice about what people say and what they actually do and it reminds me of the quote “People say what they think and do what they feel” which is true in most cases, marketers and sales people try their best to cater to the emotional side of the customer. One sales advice I remember was “try to go for close before the customer’s buying temperature wanes away.” In layman’s lingo, try to switch off the logical mind and amplify the emotional side of the customer and use this spike to sell the product or service to the customer. Why use emotions to sell? Isn’t it manipulative? Well politicians, advertisers , negotiators and many other professionals have been using these tactics when they needed to get something done from the people. The emotions can be of fear, seeking happiness , love or fulfillment of desires.
Logic vs emotion
“When logic and emotion come into conflict, emotion always wins” told to me by a professor. I have observed people in clubs, politicians and friends make promises and resolutions during news years and pre-election times, I intuitively could tell who would see through their promises and who would flunk. Over the years I wrote down in my journal 15 such instances and out of them, I was right 14 out of 15 i.e. 93 percent of the time I was right! How did I notice it? I noticed by past trends , what words they used, their body language and emotional state when they made their promises.
Fission or Mission?
Using plain emotions to get things done especially long term is like blowing an atom bomb to generate electricity. Bombs gives high rate of energy in short amount of time whereas “controlled fission” you see in nuclear power generating plants, energy is generated in longer amounts of time and is controlled through various procedures. The point I want to make is this, using only plain emotions or people who talk, talk and talk without a plan to complete a goal, it is hard to get things done. Logic and self-discipline has to be applied overtime to complete tasks, emotions helps in hooking to the tasks given or gives energy to overcome any obstacles faced during the mission but emotions in itself can be plain talk with less action. I faced the same problem when I wanted to close the u-turns which killed my sister, initially I prepared and resolved to take the initiative to close them, then overtime I got involved with my other daily tasks and this initiative just remained an initiative, 5 months after stating the petition when votes were still low, I read about the accidents which occured in the same place one year before my sister’s accident. It was surprising to know that there have been many accidents before in this place, thats when I used my action plan to complete the petition and meet up with the concerned authorities to close that u-turn down.
80 comes from 20
Over the years I have motivated many people in club to take some action whether it was losing weight or getting a twitter account or making goals , I had luxury to monitor people and followed up with them. Over time I usually found percentage of people who really took action were in the ranges of 19.3%, 22.1%, 21.2%, 18.5, 20.2% etc i.e the standard deviations between various activities showing people who really followed up were small. When I was trained as marketer I got to know Pareto’s principle i.e 80/20 rule which says 80 percent of the results come from 20 percent of the efforts. I have observed this trend many times and that is one of the reasons why few people see through the initiatives they have taken, to do things while the rest observe whether it’s in club , team or community level. This explains the wealth distribution of one of the richest country on earth – USA where 20 percent of the population own 80% of financial wealth in USA. Below you can see the wealth distribution of people in USA done by William Domhoff.
Why the gap?
Many take initiatives but it needs decision, discipline and determination to see it through where many flunk. In my previous post – “Fry or die“, I address this trend. Scarcity and poverty are not due to lack of abundance or resources, it’s mainly due to lack of people who are determined to get things done, people with “I can’t do” mentality. When people who get things done reach peak, things usually becomes easier for them and they get resources easily example rich people associate themselves with other rich people and get to know opportunities through which they invest and get richer while rest of the population work hard for money, rich people have money working hard for them by investing and making others work for returns. This explains for the gap in wealth, productivity and power in a nation.
Realizing this gap, I doubled my efforts to spread the word of petition to as many people I could get to help support the common cause to make that highway safer via internet, meetings and community and finally got word from the authorities that they are closing the u-turn.
Power of luck
What is luck? According to me, “luck is a set of positive factors beyond ones control aiding to help complete an objective“. Usually when somebody is new to something (like new to business), they randomly do things and some work and some don’t but with experience you can get to know the factors and use them to “make yourself lucky” this is the reason why there is gap of performance in sports , business and academic. Let me give you an example regarding academic performance, it has been shown that the study methods used by brilliant people are different compared to average. Mind map has been developed by Tony Buzan by studying the notes of Leonardo da Vinci and other brillaint people. They follow a methodology to grasp and assimilate things which had given them edge over the rest and as a result they controlled those positive factors and “got lucky” most of the times. Luck is playing with probabilty, if you study the backgrounds of most of the rich people they tried many times before they made it big, which seperated from them from the rest of the population who gave up just because they could not figure a way to overcome an obstacle without analyzing factors.
Do animals go to Heaven or Hell?
Another thing people blame is fate at least the religious ones. Einstein once said “God does not play dice” when he meant most of the outcomes are deterministic. Then the big confusion rose by deterministic – did he mean that the outcome or the fate of somebody (religious perspective) was known beforehand? Physicists, theologians, academics and others debated heavily over this, except they made wrong assumption of word “deterministic”. In religion especially in Islam, God is ubiquitous and All-knowing, knowing this many people assume fate, profession and character of people are predetermined. Then a problem rises, if a person is a killer or criminal and if his fate was predetermined, why would he go to Hell when his character or fate has been predetermined by God Himself? Many flunk after this question is posed. It has been written in Bible, Quran and Torah that humans are the species given the power to choose , decide and manipulate therefore as a price for the gift, he is responsible for the actions therefore Heaven and Hell have been made. By determination of fate, I guess it was meant that if one chooses to do certain things they will have certain outcome, as a result humans are responsible for their own actions. Similarly Einstein when he meant “deterministic” he meant if one follows certain laws of science or probability they will get certain outcome which has been discussed in my post – “Fry or die“. Realizing this people who take initiatives and are determined to complete it, usually end up by luck finding them.
It was the will…
Unfortunately people in some parts of the world, especially here in Gulf believe the former version of “deterministic” to be true and for this fad many do not take ore believe in preventive actions and mistakes start piling up. “It was will of God” they told me when my sister passed away and did not do much to study from accidents and take preventive measures. My sister was alive after the accident and it was four hours after accident she passed away in hospital – internal injury was the reason cited. The hospital was known for a series of medical mishaps. In fact many doctors in Gulf have immunity against prosecution and the law makes it difficult to persecute them. What does government do? Blame on external factors or powers beyond their control and the outcome and business is as usual. This is one of the main reasons why government do not really believe in preventive measures and the reason why UAE resident is 7 times more likely to die in road traffic accident than in UK.
Why am I doing this?
I heard an economist say (cannot remember) “Humans are selfish and usually put their needs first“. The main motive to do something may be to seek material, reputation or spiritual gains. I have almost completed the first phase of road safety campaign i.e closing of u-turns and am moving towards forming a foundation whose mission is to “save lives by preventing accidents by reckless drivers by spreading sticky messages through media that changes the attitudes of unsafe drivers making them adopt safe driving principles“. The foundation is named Suraya Foundation (http://www.surayafoundation.com) after my sister. “Suraya” means Pleiades which is cluster of seven stars so I will use seven principles to make messages which will change the attitudes of the drivers. I am devoting a lot of energy and time in this foundation even when I do not have regular stream of income and money is shrinking. I have a feeling that I have to do this, start this and keep it rolling and show the goverment there is another way – spend full time campaign on something preventive. May be it will work or may be government may not accept it but knowing I had taken the initiative to rectify an epidemic, it would surely increase the momentum and need for undertaking preventive measures. In the end I may end up being broke financially but it will surely make me mentally and spiritually rich as no good deed goes wasted.