Automatic influence is a funny thing.
And I love the jujitsu analogy here.
For how often – and how easily – do we let ourselves to be manipulated without even noticing?
For instance, I sometimes click on an app on my phone just to make that red notification alert go away. And do you know what? I think that’s half the designers intent. They want us clicking on that app as frequently as possible. I mean, do you think it is a coincidence that all the colors are the same? The point is, we see this as naturally checking our phone. But it’s not. This behavior is engineered.
And don’t worry, I finally turned off all my push notifications.
Want a more sinister example?
Calling a disliked coworker named Luke “Lazy Luke” a few times a week will make others eventually see him a lazy.
This takes place in a natural way and on an unconscious level – but coworkers will have no idea they are falling victim to a strategic use of association.
You can, of course, also use these principles in a positive way…
But let’s at least be aware that these automatic influences exist.
A woman employing jujitsu would utilize her own strength only minimally against an opponent. Instead, she would exploit the power inherent in such naturally present principles as gravity, leverage, momentum, and inertia. If she knows how and where to engage the action of these principles, she can easily defeat a physically stronger rival. And so it is for the exploiters of the weapons of automatic influence that exist naturally around us. The exploiters can commission the power of these weapons for use against their targets while exerting little personal force. This last feature of the process allows the exploiters an enormous additional benefit—the ability to manipulate without the appearance of manipulation. Even the victims themselves tend to see their compliance as determined by the action of natural forces rather than by the designs of the person who profits from that compliance.
-Robert Cialdini, Influence