This is guest post is by Tom Asacker who has been teaching and inspiring organizations and entrepreneurs for over 20 years. He is a professional speaker, management advisor and author of The Business of Belief, Sandbox Wisdom, A Clear Eye for Branding, A Little Less Conversation and Opportunity Screams.
How do people make decisions? How do they choose one product, service, cause or idea over a similar one? That is today’s most critical question, because nothing happens until someone makes a decision.
*Please join our guest ,Tom Asacker, on Friday, May 10th at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT for the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz as we discuss “The Marketplace Challenge of Our Time”. Not sure how to participate? Please click here for tips and advice.Driving our decision making
If you watch how people and organizations attempt to influence our behavior, you’d eventually conclude that we make decisions based on awareness and understanding, information and knowledge.
Belief is your Holy Grail
But, that’s simply not the case. Look no further than the paralysis in Washington, D.C. So what does drive our decision-making? In a word: belief. Belief is what humans do. Our personal beliefs define our choices, shape our lives and, collectively, determine our futures.
Nothing is more important than belief. If you want to change the world, if you want to change your world, if you want to succeed at work, in the marketplace, or in any other social endeavor or organization, belief is your Holy Grail.
What is your reason to believe?
Think about that seemingly simple question for a moment in the context of various decisions
- You’ve recently decided to run in your first 5k road race. What was your reason to believe in that decision?
- Instead of looking for a new job, you’ve decided to launch your own consulting firm? What was your reason to believe in that choice?
- You’ve recently purchased an expensive sports car. What was your reason to believe in that decision?
The word “belief” comes from the Middle English word “lief,” which means to wish. Reason comes from the Latin “rationem,” meaning “a cause or motive.”
So your reason to believe in something is your motive to wish that that something is right or best for you. It’s so damn simple, yet we completely miss it. Because, like fish in water, our heads are swimming in belief. And so, we are mostly unaware of how we make decisions.
In each, and every, decision your motive, your cause, your reason to believe was not found in the data, in the sales pitch, in the available information. Rather, your reason was your desire! Information was simply the evidence your mind used to rationalize that desire. It gave your feeling mind permission to pursue that desire, to move forward with the decision, especially in the face of a plethora of competing alternatives. If you understand this one distinction, you understand the marketplace.
Awareness and information still matter
I am not saying that awareness and information are unimportant. What I am saying is that the marketplace has changed dramatically. 100 years ago awareness triggered beliefs and behavior. “A what?! A machine that washes clothing? Give it to me.” Then, as tangible improvements were made, information was used to moved people. “Wow! A car that hardly ever breaks down. I want one.” But what of today, when people are overloaded with choice, quality is a given, and everyone makes claims of superiority? What do we do to succeed in the marketplace of ideas?
How do marketers, coaches, and other leaders influence our beliefs and decisions?
What present beliefs about the marketplace are we buying into and why? How will these beliefs bring us future happiness?
What beliefs and desires drive successful innovators and entrepreneurs?
What assumptions do we make when we stifle ourselves or others from pursuing their dreams?
As Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It doesn’t exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
That’s what we’ll be chatting about on this week’s Kaizenbiz chat. You don’t want to miss this one.
About the author: Tom Asacker is a professional speaker, management advisor, and author of The Business of Belief, Sandbox Wisdom, A Clear Eye for Branding, A Little Less Conversation, and Opportunity Screams.