Persuasion or Coincidence?
Persuasion or Coincidence?
January 4, 2016
If you have been following the Master Persuader theme in this blog, you know I correctly predicted nine-out-of-nine political events in 2015. And I did it right in front of you. That might blow your mind a little bit.
Several people asked whether I have done this sort of thing in the past. The answer is yes, in the sense that I have consciously attempted to change national opinion using the tools of persuasion. I suppose you could call that a prediction, albeit a personal one, because I imagined the future and saw myself changing it. And I didn’t see failure as a possible path.
Had my Master Persuader series not enlightened you about the power of trained persuaders, you would think it arrogant of me to believe I could personally change the laws of the land. It looks narcissistic and egomaniacal to anyone in the 2D world. I see that too, of course.
That’s why I kept it to myself until now. But readers of this blog have looked behind the curtain, and you know that the best persuaders (Trump, Jobs, Kanye) have an off-putting confidence that is part of their tool set. You see it as character flaws that are coincidentally found in successful people. But successful people see their confidence as both intentionally cultivated and useful. Confidence is a tool of persuasion. I use the confidence tool all the time, and I enjoy similar criticisms as Kanye, Trump, etc.
But with all of my confidence/arrogance/narcissism on this topic, what I don’t know – and can’t know – is whether my actions have the impact I intend. For example, most political decisions are binary, in the sense that something either happens or it doesn’t. And that means a monkey with a pointing stick can guess right at least 40% of the time, or whatever. When the sample size is small, you can’t detect causes.
With that caution in mind, and for entertainment only, I will describe what I did in 2013, and tell you how it all worked out. Your job is to use the Master Persuader filter to determine whether this is a story of coincidence, complete bullshit, or weapons-grade persuasion. (None of this makes sense unless you have been reading this blog since June.)
For the record, I have only attempted to go weapons-grade with my persuasion training once in my life. And when I did, it was because millions of lives were in the balance. I thought I could make a difference.
I don’t know that my efforts had any impact at all. You will not know either. But it might make your brain spin in your skull while you try to figure it out.
This is my story. It is completely true, but I offer it for entertainment only. Your conclusions are your own.
— My Story —
On November 3rd, 2013, I published a blog post titled I Hope My Father Dies Soon. The statement was true, and he died within hours of its writing. If you have not seen it, you will need to take a look to understand what follows. If you already read it, read it again using the Master Persuader filter you have learned in this blog. You will see it with new eyes.
Look for my intention and my technique. The link is here.
Next, look at this Gallup poll on assisted dying and pay attention to this inflection point where public opinion reversed a multi-year decline and sharply ticked up. Notice the timing.
Link is here:
There are rock-solid “normal” explanations for this uptick. The high-profile case of Brittany Maynard was news for months. She died November 1st, 2014. That could easily explain the change.
Organized groups such as Compassion and Choices did tremendous work to influence politicians and the public. And a few states had by then established a good track record with assisted dying laws. So a lot of forces came together at about the same time.
And maybe enough people had dealt with their own dying parents that the national mood changed. I imagine you can think of other perfectly normal reasons for the abrupt change in public opinion. I can’t rule out any of them.
All I know for sure is that my post was designed to make this exact change in public opinion – and rapidly – at precisely the time it happened. (And you have seen how well the Master Persuader filter has predicted its outcomes: 9-out-of-nine so far, including predictions on exact timing.)
Is this a case of persuasion, coincidence, or complete bullshit?
One data point means nothing. But if you want to do some unscientific meta-analysis on the persuader topic someday, here’s one more data point for the pile.
Again, I remind you this is just for fun. Coincidences are usually just coincidences. I have NO evidence that my actions made a difference, and make no claim that they did. My personal belief is that the folks who did the organizing on this issue got it done. They consulted the right experts, A-B tested messages, raised money, and capitalized on events in the news. I give them 100% credit. It was a tremendous job. I had just enough contact with the main advocates to know they were the right people to get it done.
The only thing I know for sure is that I wasn’t willing to let the law on this topic stand. Had the recent vote in California not gone my way, I would still be all over it until I prevailed. And my odds of success, over time, would have been close to 100%, because persuasion is cumulative. I just needed to lean on it long enough, and hard enough, because there were no Master Persuaders on the other side to stop me. I’m glad it wasn’t necessary. Apparently compassion and reason came together with the help of advocates and organizers.
In my latest book that you’re tired of hearing about, I talk about the difference between wanting something and deciding to get it. In this case, I decided to get it. I’m reasonably certain nothing would have stopped me. I’m glad it wasn’t necessary.
Unless it was. We can never know for sure.
Update: Some Twitter followers asked about my site traffic for that blog post. I don’t have stats because I lost that history with the site redesign, but that post was my biggest traffic of all time, by a big margin.