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To succeed, create your own narrative

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Put two creatures together and there will begin a conflict between them for dominance.

We humans also possess this desire to dominate all others of our species. Some use brute force, some, use wealth. Some use knowledge but the most cunning use perception. 

The blending of information from our 5 senses with our learning, memory, expectation, and attention, provides us our view of the world. Irrespective of the truth, what the mind perceives becomes our individual reality.

Control of perception is key to controlling and dominating others. A mighty and magnificent elephant is tamed by being made to perceive that its inferior to the human. 

Perception in humans is always created by means of a narrative. A narrative is a sensory stimulus usually a spoken, written, visual account of connected events, which become a story.

Stories generate emotions and scientists have discovered that memory works best when information is blended with emotions. And our emotions are born out of our sensory experiences.

Those who want to control and dominate society, automatically gravitate to the control of art, literature, language, history, education, media, entertainment etc. 

This is because those who control the delivery of 'facts' (both content and context) provide us our perceptions and hence the narrative, which we so unconsciously and readily adopt. 

Controlling the narrative is the number one priority of all wish to control thoughts and actions of other humans.  

Throughout history regimes have used perception management to rule over and control their subjects and colonies. However over the past 100 years it has been the Communists, who have perfected the science of creating perception and the undisputed masters of setting the narrative.

Those who move first, set the narrative. They have a huge advantage over their opponents, and it as in most matters is most clearly visible in the theatre of war.

Sun Tzu the most famous Chinese military strategist in his widely read treatise 'The Art of War' said: 

"Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.

Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him

By holding out advantages to him, he can cause the enemy to approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting damage, he can make it impossible for the enemy to draw near ......."

Control of the narrative is not only essential for nation states, it is important in our own personal and professional lives.

Take an example.  Someone makes an accusation. The purpose is to put us on the defensive,  weaken our confidence and resolve and often to even destroy us and our reputation.

When attacked we have 2 options, either ignore or engage.

I prefer to ignore whenever it is possible, engaging only when its unavoidable.*

Engagement is effective only when it is a response and not a reaction.

Changing the narrative. I ask the accuser to elaborate on the accusation, or to explain the basis of the accusation. Asking a question in response to an accusation rather than a rebuttal is the most effective response. 

When the accuser has to substantiate himself or herself, usually in 95% of the cases the accusation simply fizzles out. 

The remaining 5% who persist are the cunning and dangerous. Working in groups they manufacture and iron clad the narrative by using circular reasoning and logic.

To make their case. 'X' will make a statement or publish an article, only to be quoted subsequently in turn by 'Y', then 'A', & 'B' and so on. Eventually it is picked upon by the accuser as a self evident truth. The narrative is thus set. 

Those who create narratives know that we humans are mostly lazy thinkers and will accept narratives that are hurled at us repeatedly with conviction and force.

This is also the secret of great advertising, 'Keep the message simple, repeat it often'.

Creating one's own narrative is essential not only for individuals, but families, organisations and even countries. 

If one follows the crowd, one can get no further than the crowd. To  be an original success, 'One must try to formulate one's own narrative and not the narrative set by others'. 

 * Note:  One cannot lose if one do not engage. Of course one cannot also win, but we have to remember that it is not necessary to win every skirmish.


Reference: My seminar - 'Effective Communication and Conversation'

Related Links:

Ref: G0621

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