Now, Inception is just a movie – a work of pure fiction – but the idea of planting an idea in someone’s mind is not. You can’t necessarily access someone’s dreams, but you can have access to their subconscious, where their most influential thoughts and ideas come from and where inception can, in fact, take place.
I’m going to show you how to do it, but first you need to understand the consequences. Like any powerful tool, inception can be wielded for good or evil. Use it to help others help themselves and you’ll be a silent influence on their success. Use it carelessly, and risk destroying important trust and relationships.
That’s what leaders of every walk of life do; they set the direction of the ship for their followers and allow them to make the decisions that actually propel it there. They get to know the people they’re helping and how they’ll receive different ideas, then create an environment that enables them to put their own pieces together.
You can layout all the instructions and tell people exactly what to do, but then you’re not a leader, you’re an instructor. An instructor’s reach is limited; a leader’s is not. So, feel free to use inception for your own goals but, of course, do so with nobel intentions.
Step 1: Find the NuggetTo understand someone’s greatest hopes and dreams is to understand the core of who they are. Think about your own goals. You build your entire identity around these things. Every action that you take gets weighed in your mind as to whether or not it’s helping you achieve what you really want out of life.
When your whole identity is wrapped up in something, you’ll do all sorts of crazy things that casual observers would scratch their heads at and disapprove in trying to achieve it. That doesn’t matter to you because if it works, it’ll be the greatest accomplishment of your life.
Every single person has this ideal, but some hide it better than others. If you want to find it, the only way that’ll really work is to do ten times more listening than talking. People will tell you exactly what they want from life if you’ll only listen.
It’s common to want to talk about your own life and your own desires, but to really get to know someone, you kind of have to shut up long enough to hear what they have to say.
Build in yourself a sense of extreme curiosity. Ask lots of questions and listen intently. We’re reluctant to tell each other exactly what we want in straightforward terms for fear of being thought silly, but we’ll hint at it in everything we say. Learn to read between the lines and you’ll see far beyond the face value of someone’s words. You’ll see their most intense wants and desires for their life.
Once you have that nugget, you have the key to their mind. Now you can start forming the ideas that will help them achieve it completely undetected.
Step 2: Construct the DreamscapeThe human mind rejects creative ideas that aren’t genuinely inspired, so if your mission is to win the heart and mind of someone that disagrees with you, whatever idea you want to give them must not look like it came from you, but from within themselves.
How do you do this? By framing it in their own language.
If you haven’t tried it before, it’s rather incredible what people will tell you about themselves when you listen. As the late Dale Carnegie liked to say, “The sweetest sound a man can hear is that of his own voice.”
It’s human nature to want to get your own point across, but it’s a folly to do it before you understand how it will be perceived. Everyone has a unique world-view that dictates exactly how they’ll receive an idea. If you listen long enough, you’ll find out exactly what the world looks like to someone. Once you have that, you have all the tools you need to drop the right hints and ask the right questions that will fit your idea into their own dreamscape.
Step 3: Plant the IdeaBe careful how you present your idea. Don’t come right out and offer it. Instead, lead into it and let it be discovered. The best way that I know how to do that is play dumb. When someone comes to you for help with something, you might have exactly the idea they need to fix their problem, but if you offer it to them, they won’t follow through because any success they have is your accomplishment, not theirs.
Instead, lay out the pieces and pretend like you can’t put it all together yourself. If you toss enough hints out, they can make the important connections that lead to the solution by themselves. All of a sudden, it’s their idea instead of yours, and that makes it far more potent.
Take no credit for your idea. Instead, congratulate them for discovering it themselves.
"What it amounts to is an area of research that's called applied behavior analysis, and what it focuses on are three things to change behavior: What comes before the behavior, how you craft the behavior, and then what you do at the end. One is gentle instructions, and another one is choice. Tone of voice dictates whether you're going to get compliance or not. Choice among humans increases the likelihood of compliance. And choice isn't important, it's the appearance of choice that's important. Having real choice is not the issue, humans don't feel too strongly about that, but having the feeling that you have a choice makes a difference. And now the behavior itself. When you get compliance, if that's the behavior you want, now you go over and praise it ... very effusively, and you have to say what you're praising exactly."
Well, when you're starting out, one of the positive-opposites can sometimes be reinforcing the non-occurrence of the behavior. There, you don't want effusiveness. Parents are very frustrated because they think they don't have any tools that are effective, so they’re going to use power. And power makes things worse. We don't change their children. We change the parents, so they can change their children."