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Digital Online Class
Learn to make decisions that give you an “Abundant Life”
The origin of this title can be found in the story of Adam and Eve. Once upon a time, this couple lived in the Garden of Eden until a Snake convinced them to eat an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. This is where we derive the name of the Apple Decision: it is a nicely packaged bad idea.
The art of decision making is to weed out the bad decisions until you are left with either one good decision or at least a narrower selection of choices. We should begin by recognizing certain things (like visual cues) that can help us weed out bad decisions immediately.
Let’s go back to our Biblical story. There are two people in the Garden of Eden at first (Adam and Eve). A third person is introduced (the snake), who is conniving and evil. Adam and Eve were previously told something: the day you eat of the apple, you will surely die, and yet even though they had this previous instruction, the snake convinced them to eat the apple.
Satan is representative of modern-day advertising. He provided visual cues that distracted Adam and Eve from the consequences of eating the apple. The Devil knew Adam and Eve wanted to be like God, to understand good and evil. Therefore, he told them, “If you eat this apple, then you will know good from evil. You will be like God.”
There is so much advertising that it can make us forget what we actually believe. How can we block this out so we can make the right choice for us?
When it comes to advertising, we must consider three questions: (1) Who is responsible for the ad? (2) What is the ad really about? (3) What does the ad want me to do? If you think about this with every idea presented to you, then you will be able to recognize the decisions you are making on your own and the decisions that are being influenced.
Advertisers have a bag of tricks they use so they can turn consumers into putty in their hands. It can take as little as one to three lines to convince people to buy something they don’t need. By becoming familiar with these tactics, you can eliminate bad decisions before you make the wrong choice. All you have to do is examine the marketing tricks closely. If you recognize these, then you can reclaim your power and be more in charge of your own decisions.
SCARE TACTICS: These are mainly used when it comes to home security products. “If you don’t have our product, bad things will happen to you.” Of course, it can be used with other things: “If you don’t marry the right person, bad things will happen to you. If you don’t do what we say, bad things will happen to you. If you don’t buy the right car, accept the right job, believe what everyone else thinks, bad things will happen to you.” The concept of FOMO (fear of missing out) is the latest scare tactic. However, it is just as easy to stop and take a breath, and ask yourself, “Will something bad REALLY happen to me if I don’t have this product?”
THE PROMISE OF HAPPINESS: You are unhappy right now, but if you buy into this product or idea, then you will be happy or, if you already are happy, then you will be even HAPPIER. One
way to counteract this tactic is to ask yourself one very simple question, which is, “HOW would this item make me happier?” If you can answer that, then the next step is to ask, “I see how it could do that, but do any of those things really matter to me?”
ATTACKING YOUR SOCIAL STANDING: This is also known as “keeping up with the Joneses.” If your neighbor has a brand-new car but you own an old beater, then you feel bad about yourself because they have something better.
LIMITED AVAILABILITY: A commercial might say a product is available at a certain price for a limited time only, or there are only a certain number in stock.
HUMANIZING THINGS: This is when advertisers use something called “personification,” which is giving human traits to inhuman things. Examples would be the Aflac duck or the Geico gecko.
REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY: Instead of telling you to buy something, the commercial says, “Don’t buy this.” Another good tactic here is saying something like, “You can’t afford this.” It inspires a primitive reaction in the consumer, making them think: “Oh, you wanna bet???”
SEX AND/OR PROVOCATIVE IMAGERY: This is probably one of the oldest tricks in the book. “Buy our beer and you will have lots of beautiful women coming to your pool party.”
MAKING YOU FEEL EMPTY INSIDE: Have you ever watched a commercial where someone walks around looking miserable? Then they buy the product, and everything’s coming up roses!
COUPLING IT WITH PEOPLE YOU LIKE OR TRUST: Celebrity endorsements are the main shape this particular tactic comes in.
IMPLYING YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WITHOUT IT: Your friends all have the latest version of the iPhone, so why don’t you?
It can be hard to resist these tactics. After all, they bombard us from all directions. The trick is to find balance. You have to know what you need. However, the idea is not to go too far left or right but to be centered, because not everything marketed to you is bad.
To determine if you want something because you really need it or because you were TOLD you need it, you must know yourself. You must know your passions, your goals, your desires, and your dreams. One way to find these answers is to meditate. The practice of meditation was invented so people could disconnect from everyone and everything. Eliminating all distractions is the only thing that will allow you to see your true self.