Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sheepdog Strategies, 8

Continued from "Sheepdog Strategies, 7"

The Master Warrior is seated on a rock, eating a bowl of oatmeal. I wait as patiently as I can. The oats are not mushy, but chewy, and he eats them the traditional Scottish way, with salt rather than sugar.

"Y' know, Clodhopper, that the English used to look down on the Scots for eating oats. They thought of oats as fodder for horses. That's why the English produced such strong horses, and the Scots produced such strong people. Now, what brings you out so early?"

"I have a question, O Master Warrior. I've been wondering . . . how would one get his womenfolk interested in learning self defense?" Without a word, the kilted Scot deftly locked my wrist and easily took me to the ground. He stood over me.

"Why are ye lying down, lad?"

"Because . . . you forced me?"

"How much force did I use?"

"Almost none."

"Then how did I force you to do anything? Think."

"Well, the pain was so great that I fell down."

"You chose to fall?"

"I guess I did."

"Then I didn't make you fall, but I made you want to. If you can learn to make someone want to without the pain, Clodhopper, ye'll have the answer to your question."

There is a fine line between persuasion and manipulation. As a Christian Martialist, you do not want to violate the trust of your womenfolk by crossing that line, even for their own good.

Successful politicians learn early to operate by a code that voters never seem to catch on to: "Be sincere whether you mean it or not." That is a manipulative attitude far-removed from the Apostle Paul's exhortation "that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ." (Phil. 1:10)

That word exhortation is an interesting one. It means to urge. In fact, Paul lists exhortation as one of the gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:6,8). I believe that effectual exhortation implies the ability to motivate others to do what they ought to do.

What motivates people in general, and women in particular? Advertisers will tell you that the 3 big motivators in marketing are sex, greed, pride and fear. Successful marketing campaigns will appeal to one or more of these "primal motivators".

Never let such manipulative techniques play a part in how you deal with the people in your life.

Human Motivation

I see four primary factors in motivation: emotion, reason, ethics and destiny. Fear and joy are emotional motivators, and not necessarily bad ones. For example, the promise of future joy was a motivational factor in Jesus' self-sacrifice.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross . . . . (Hebrews 12:2)

But joy was not the only -- nor even the primary -- motivator. Christ went to the cross out of obedience to the Father, an example of duty. (Luke 22:42) He also went because it was His destiny to do so (John 18:37).

Also, don't forget His great love for those whom He redeemed. It's not one of the four factors I listed because it is so rare as a pure motivator in human life. We find it in stories of uncommon sacrifice, as when a mother lays down her life for her child or a soldier gives his life for his buddies.

Sometimes, people think they are using love as a motivator when they actually are not. "If you really loved me, you'd do this." That's not motivating through love; it's a shoddy attempt to motivate through the emotion of guilt and a sense of failed duty.

When dealing with your womenfolk, it's better just to assume the love. Women are extraordinarily protective of their children, for example, because they love the little tykes (even if the tyke is 50). But this fact is neither a pry bar nor a hammer.

You can't say, "If you love little Algernon, you'll want to train to protect him." It sounds reasonable to you, and you see a logical connection. She would see it as a blatant attempt at using guilt for leverage.

In fact, the whole attempt to motivate should come at the end rather than at the beginning of your persuasive endeavors.

The Art of Salesmanship

If you want the lady/ladies in your life to take an interest in self-defense, you are selling something. Your product is an intangible, an idea.

Ordinary salesmen know that the first step in selling anything is to create a need. They give demonstrations of what the "little marvel" will do as they paint word pictures of how wonderful your life would be if you only owned one. They bolster their demonstration with facts, statistics and stories of changed lives.

Before you know it the prospect(s) want one. They have a felt need for the product. From there, it's just a matter of a few good closing techniques, and you walk away with a "little marvel" as the salesman walks away with your money. That's how sales are ordinarily made.

Rob Jolles has written a book for the extraordinary sales person. It's called Customer Centered Selling (check your local, public library). His method does not begin with a contrived attempt to "create" a need in the customer's mind. Instead, he listens to the customer explain his needs.

But that will be the subject of another post.

"O Master Warrior, I thank you for helping me with my problem."

"Indeed, Clodhopper, meeting your needs is one reason I'm here, isn't it?"

Continued in "Sheepdog Strategies, 9"

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