I’ve tackled the issue of social conditioning a fair bit on this site. I think it’s important to be aware of social conditioning because it directly affects our business, the way we’re perceived and the way we treat others.
This post might be a little more hardcore than some of my others on this topic, so be prepared. There’s lots of my philosophy on life and business in this post, as well as some practical exercises to get you moving in the right direction.
There’s A War On: Liberation Methods
Now that we know about the issue of social conditioning and how to identity and combat instances of conditioning in yourself and others, what about if you meet potential clients who are so socially conditioned that it makes negotiating and working with them difficult?
First, remember what we said earlier about how you can’t force yourself or your beliefs on another person. You need to be respectful of other people’s beliefs and ideas about business, and come at things from a place of wanting to help.
Offer value and advice where you can, but don’t push your agenda. No one likes someone knocking on their door and trying to sell them something.
You can never force yourself or your beliefs (however new founded!) on somebody else. The best you can do is understand them so well that they’re willing to understand you.
That’s pretty much the definition of rapport building, right there.
Live your life as an example? Well, that may be good advice to help your friends break out of their socially conditioned molds, but it might not be that appropriate when it comes to negotiating with a potential client.
Instead, we need some new paradigms.
How To Liberate A Difficult Potential Client?
So you find yourself in the unenviable situation of negotiating with a difficult client?
The first thing you should ask yourself is this: Is this client worth it?
If no, then move on. You shouldn’t want to work with someone who’s ultimately going to be more trouble than they’re worth.
So you’d like to work with them, but you’re finding it difficult to negotiate with them for whatever reason. These pointers will help you out:
- Always be non-judgmental.
- Make sure they know you aren’t going to go blabbing their business details all around town.
- Take things slowly. Slow and steady wins the day.
- Communication is key. Talk things through.
- Leave them better than you found them. They should be better off meeting you and speaking to you. This is a guiding principle that should always be etched on the inside of your brain. Know it, understand it and live it.
- Always Be Offering Value (ABOV). Okay, so it’s not the best acronym, but it’ll do.
You Can Never Go Back: Burn All The Boats!
One of the most powerful ideals we can have when embarking on a new journey (and make no mistake, business success is a journey) is to decide to Burn the Boats.
What exactly does boat burning have to do with business success, I hear you ask.
Well, it’s time for a brief history lesson.
Back in the early sixteenth century, Hernan Cortes (noted Spanish conquistador) was forging his way through Mexico in search of treasure, having convinced the Spanish government to order for 700 men and 11 ships.
Months later, far from home, they arrive in Veracruz, where Cortes had his men unload the ships. As his men made their way onto dry land, they turned back towards the sea to witness all 11 ships roaring with flames.
Cortes had ordered his ships burned to ensure that turning back wasn’t possible. Cortes had enacted a swift masterstroke – he had given his mission a sense of do or die, quite literally.
Now, I don’t intend for this to be a direct comparison between success with business and marauding sixteenth-century barbarians, but the point remains: You have to be committed to the point of burning your metaphorical boats.
No one is going to make you good with business and filmmaking. No one is going to pray for your success; they’re too busy doing it for themselves!
You have to want it for yourself to the point that you make plans to prevent yourself from turning back.
Just Accept That You’re Awesome
You have been told that you’re not awesome for long enough.
We all have our fair share of negative experiences in our past. Maybe you had a bad upbringing, you were bullied in school or maybe you got let down really badly by a girlfriend in high school.
You’ve also most likely had negative influences, ranging from your parents to your teachers and even some of your peers, who haven’t always built you up with confidence; instead of tearing you down with criticism and subtle put-downs from time to time..
Well, it’s time to move past all that and focus on the fact that you’re awesome.
Why are you awesome?
Here’s the thing: Do you even know how lucky you are to be alive?
The chance of you being born is at the very most “1 divided by 6×10(to the power of 100).” Yes, that’s a lot of zeroes!
In a casino, most players would laugh you out of the room if you made a bet on those kinds of odds! In fact, there’s probably nothing you could bet on in a casino that would bring up those kinds of odds! That’s how rare it is for you to even be here.
The chance of sperm even getting to an egg takes us into a world of crazy odds. The sperm that fertilized the egg that created you was competing with literally millions of other sperm and 99% of these were sperm specifically, biologically designed to prevent other sperm reaching the egg!
The numbers are literally insane.
You are a survivor. The fact you’re here isn’t amazing, it’s absolutely humbling!
A True Survivor
You are the result of many generations of survivors. Somehow, none of your forefathers died before passing on his genes to the next in your lineage, despite countless wars, famines and pandemic diseases over the centuries.
If that isn’t a base to be proud, overjoyed and humble…I don’t know what is.
Here’s an exercise to put things in perspective.
Ask 3 people to answer some questions on you. They can be friends or family members, but it should be someone who knows you pretty well.
It’s probably best to email these questions to the person, rather than doing it face to face, as you’ll probably get better, more honest answers by making this process more relaxed through email.
The questions you need to ask the 3 people relate to you and your current personality. They are:
1. Describe me in 3 words.
2. What are my 5 best qualities?
3. What are my 5 worst qualities?
4. What do you think I most need to improve in my life?
5. Where do you see me in 5 years?
Make sure that you specify honesty and maximum discretion as to the two central factors you want from the people you send this questionnaire to.
You should select people who know you very well and ideally they should be open-minded, honest people who don’t mind telling you what they think.
We discussed The Five Beliefs in a previous post. If you haven’t already, print or write out The Five Beliefs and stick them to your computer screen/bathroom mirror, or anywhere you’ll see them every day.
See them, recite them out loud and really start to believe them.
Also, call up one of the friends who helped you with the above exercise. Someone that you trust the most.
Tell them that you’re making serious positive changes in your life and you want them to hold you accountable. Tell them about what you’re doing specifically – about your self-development and how you want to get better whatever business/filmmaking goal you have..
You’ve now burnt the boats.
Like any self-development project, this must all start with positivity. It must come from a positive state of wanting to change.
Get rid of the negative feeling of always needing something more, always having a problem and something missing.
When we understand that the majority of people walk through life in a daze, we understand we have a real advantage in life. By being one of the few who isn’t walking through life in a daze, you have great power.
The vast majority of people will never really stop to observe this massive influence on their thinking, and even those who do will never fully realize the extent to which it shapes their perception and interaction in the world.
No one is going to make you good with women. No one is going to pray for your success; they’re too busy doing it for themselves!
Thanks for reading!
This was a refreshing read. Goes a little almost ‘negative’ at times about the world, but I like to read pieces about filmmaking life that isn’t quite the ordinary stuff. This fit the bill!