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How can you persuade anyone to do anything? How can you be happy?

And what very strange thing did I do in 1997?

____________ Mind Twists


A written version of a talk by Ian Rowland Anyone can get this document free of charge: www.ianrowland.com/MindTwists

Contents
Introduction How The Talk Was Originally Advertised About Me Thanks Two Questions And A Story The Persuasion Business All Of Us, All The Time How Can We Be Persuasive? ELF and PEG Motivational Theory In Two Minutes PEG Theory Persuasion Summary Persuasive Impossibility Psychic Readings: Why? Psychic Readings: How? A Digression On Sceptics, Believers And Conflict How Can We Be Happy? Short And Long Patterns In The Mind The Patterns You See The Patterns You Use Happy Endings Four Types Of Potential A Story Story Part 1: Living The Sleep Story Part 2: What Are You Going To Do? Story Part 3: One Thing I Did Story Part 4: Other Things Ive Done The End: A Point Of View References 2 2 3 3 4 5 5 6 7 8 9 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 16 17 18 18 19 19 21 22 23 24 26

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

Introduction
Matt Kendall runs a meet-up group called Interesting Talks - London. In October 2011 he couldnt find any good speakers to give a talk, so he asked me to step in. I gave the talk at The Comedy Pub in London. For readers outside London, I should explain that the three most prestigious venues in the city are, in ascending order, the O2 Arena, Wembley Arena, and The Comedy Pub. This document is not meant to be a transcript of the talk I gave. It is a standalone document that covers a lot of the same material. Some parts that were in the talk are not in this document and vice versa. I have also taken the opportunity to include some references and suggestions for further reading that I couldnt include during the live event.

How The Talk Was Originally Advertised

This is how the talk was advertised on the Interesting Talks London meet-up group website. This talk is about cool and interesting aspects of your mind. Youll learn how to be psychic and how to persuade anyone to do anything you want (almost). In addition, Ian will perform one or two inexplicable mind miracles, just for fun and to give you something to talk about the next day. Youll laugh, youll be amazed, youll learn how your mind works (or sometimes doesnt) and youll also learn about success, wealth and happiness. Ian Rowland was hired to teach persuasion skills to FBI agents. The Ministry of Defence asked him to teach recruiters how to spot terrorists at job interviews. The British Olympics Team turned to him for help getting maximum performance from their athletes. What else? Well, he taught Derren Brown the art of cold reading (how to look psychic when youre not) before Derren became famous, and he has trained the sales teams of many top companies. Hes also a member of the Inner Magic Circle, and used to perform sketches with his friend Eddie Izzard. In short, he is an entertainer, writer and trainer whose work has taken him around the world. Hes also very funny, if that helps.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

About Me

I am a writer, entertainer and trainer. Im based near London but I run off and have adventures all over the world whenever possible. I also eat biscuits. Thats all you need to know because this talk isnt about me. Its about the fact that life is interesting, people are interesting and the world is interesting. Its also about the fact that the world is full of joyful things to do.

Thanks

Thanks to Matt for running the group and organising the talk. Thanks to everyone who turned up for staying to the end and clapping when they realised, joyfully, that I was finally going to stop talking. Thanks to my friends John Morgan and James Tripp for giving earlier talks in the same series that were better than mine, and for telling Matt about me. Thanks to the brilliant Kate Jones for proof-reading. Thanks to the amazing Mark Hesketh-Jennings for photographs of the talk. - Ian Rowland, London, 2011

Most people who look at this design assume that the grey text is a reflection of the blue text. They never notice that the grey text actually says MNID.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

Two Questions And A Story


[ At the start of the talk, I performed a small miracle to prove that anything is possible. I do this a lot. To save time, I havent provided a description of the miracle here. Just trust me when I tell you it was awesome, unique and very impressive. - IR ] These events are called Interesting Talks. Im okay with the second part. I will definitely be talking. Its the first part that I have problems with. I think it creates high expectations that could be hard to live up to. Maybe Matt [Interesting Talks organiser] could set the bar a little lower. Perhaps he could call these things Rambling on a bit in the pub, or One way to pass the time if theres nothing much on TV. How about Looking a bit like Steve Martin. Okay, a fat Steve Martin. But no, Matt calls them Interesting Talks. So I had to think, what can I share with you that would be interesting? And I came up with two interesting questions, and what I hope is an interesting story.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

The Persuasion Business


The first interesting question Id like to share with you is this: how does persuasion work? My first job was in creative media. I worked at a place that had a graphic design studio, a sound studio and video production facilities. We could create more or less anything. The job offered plenty of variety. Companies came to us for many different reasons, mostly to do with selling, marketing and training. They might want a new sales brochure, an advertising jingle or a series of training videos. We had clients from every market and industry you can think of, from finance to pharmaceuticals, from bakeries to heavy engineering. We had small local businesses, national chains and huge multinationals. Although in one sense there was plenty of variety, in another sense every project I handled was the same. It was always about how to get a message from one mind to another, and how to do it persuasively. Thats the business I was in: the persuasion business. I worked in this field for many years and over countless projects, lurching clumsily and haphazardly from one stage in my career to the next. Sorry, I mean, as I completed a series of shrewd and carefully planned strategic career moves to achieve my personal and professional goals.

All Of Us, All The Time

As the years went by, I realised that I wasnt the only one in the persuasion business. The fact is, we are all in the persuasion business, all the time, whether we realise it or not. Perhaps you dont think this applies to you? Well, lets see. Ever been on a first date? Ever been for an interview to get a job, or to get a better job? Ever tried to get a teenager to tidy up his room, or to be back by midnight? Ever tried to get the delivery man to actually call when youre in, as opposed to when youre out? You can see what I mean. We are all in the persuasion business, all the time. And most of us would like to be a bit more successful at it. So, what actually works?

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

How Can We Be Persuasive?


Persuasion is a big subject, and in the time I have this evening I cant go into a huge amount of detail. Lets start with a few simple points. We know that if you want to be persuasive, short and simple messages are good. Devising the right short and simple message isnt easy. You have to pay a lot of people a lot of money to end up with Coke adds life. We also know its important for the message to be memorable. You have to find ways to make it sticky. One good way is to use rhyme. In fact, I can use rhyme to take over your minds. I can make a thought pass through your head tomorrow, as soon as anyone mentions the word Friday: Friday is my favourite time / To think about this stupid rhyme. The thing is, you cant forget this even if you want to. Friday is my favourite time / To think about this stupid rhyme. Annoying, isnt it? And the more I say it, the more sticky and annoying it becomes. Friday is my favourite time / To think about this stupid rhyme. By all means try really hard not to remember this annoying rhyme. See what happens. I could mention several other persuasion basics using the right vocabulary / the importance of a smile / the role of colours and emotive imagery / using yes questions and so on. However, there are two factors that matter more than all the rest.

Ayers Rock, Australia

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

ELF and PEG

The two words you need to remember are ELF and PEG. [ I know these are acronyms, but in a live talk its easier to say words. IR ] Lets look at them one at a time. ELF stands for Emotions Lead Facts. In other words, emotions count far more than reasoning and rational arguments. People can be rational when they have to be, such as when compiling a tax return or trying to figure out how to program the DVD. However, although people can be rational when they have to be, they experience life emotionally, and its the emotions that matter most. You may think your views and opinions are based on sound reasoning. In fact, most of us first decide what we want to be true, and then we get very selective. When we notice a bit of evidence that happens to support our opinion, we collect it. When we notice a bit of evidence that contradicts our opinion, we ignore it or assume its flawed and discredited. This is also true of people who pride themselves on being very rational. They may do it less obviously and less often, and maybe they try a little harder to achieve some objectivity. But theyll still have their ELF quirks, just like everyone else. Emotions drive opinions, and a lot of the time reasons are just self-serving wrapping paper. If you want to be persuasive, you have to understand this and work with, or appeal to, peoples emotions, rather than their rational and intellectual faculties. So thats ELF: Emotions Lead Facts. The next word I want to share with you is PEG. It stands for Perceived Emotional Gain. To see what its all about, we need to delve into the murky and fascinating world of motivational theory.

This is a copyright document and all rights are reserved. However, you can privately copy it and distribute it as much as you like provided you keep it intact, give full credit and attribution, and dont make money out of it or use it to add commercial value to anything such as a publication or website. - IR

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

Motivational Theory In Two Minutes

Motivational theory is all about why we make the choices we do. There are many models and theories of motivation. Some of you may have heard of Maslows hierarchy of needs, and if not you can look it up online. This is one good model of human motivation, but there are many others. Heres a very simplified summary. Inside your skull is a squidgy grey cauliflower weighing 2 or 3 pounds. This is your brain. We have a handy label for the activity of the brain: we call it your mind. Your mind doesnt just exist. It is purposeful, as if its programmed to do certain things and pursue certain goals. First of all, your mind is trying to survive. Assuming it manages to survive, its trying to be safe and feel comfortable. Some of this is taken care of consciously, some of it unconsciously. Your mind also wants to reproduce. Not all the time, of course I mean not right now, although you never know. Those two over there are looking pretty darned friendly from where Im standing. [ This was a reference to a rather amorous couple that I pretended to notice in the audience to obtain a weak laugh. It didnt work and this delightfully humorous remark was met with stony silence. Pearls before swine, or what? IR ] Your mind also wants to belong. It wants to belong to a family, tribe or society. It wants to belong to groups based on shared interests, such as a particular sports team, or shared activities, such as scuba-diving, playing chess or eating biscuits. (Not necessarily all at the same time.) Your mind also wants status, respect and recognition. And on top of all that, when time allows, it wants a little bit of pleasure, leisure and fun. Your mind is constantly seeking all of these things that Ive mentioned. What has this got to do with persuasion? Everything

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

PEG Theory

Ive mentioned several things that your mind is trying to achieve all the time. It never stops. Your mind regards any step towards one of these goals as a Perceived Emotional Gain (or PEG for short). When you present your message to someone a message that you hope will be persuasive you are making an offer. If you do not offer a perceived emotional gain, then you will not be persuasive. (In fact, you cannot be. It is impossible for a human being to knowingly choose options that do not constitute a perceived emotional gain.) If you do offer a perceived emotional gain, its possible and likely that you will be persuasive. Its not guaranteed, because people are complex and weird and persuasion is never an exact science. But at least you stand a chance. For example, if you are selling a car, you have to first of all figure out what the person you are dealing with will regard as a PEG. One customer may want to feel its a very safe car, another just wants it to be fast and powerful. One wants to know it will be economical to run, another just wants confirmation that its the same car that his sporting hero drives. Its a case of tuning in to the mind you are dealing with, and seeing which PEG, which perceived emotional gain, it is looking for and will respond to. Get it right, and you will usually succeed. Get it wrong, and you never will. By the way, notice that I say perceived emotional gain. This is all that matters. The emotional gain might not be real. Many people buy things that dont actually work. Women buy cosmetics that dont actually make them look younger. Men buy aftershave that doesnt actually make them irresistible to women. However, so long as the product offers the customer a PEG, he or she will often buy it.

Persuasion Summary

So, summing up if you want to be persuasive, remember that emotions matter more than reasons, and that you have to offer a perceived emotional gain. ELF and PEG will get you a long way in the persuasion business. Of course, this is necessarily a very short and superficial discussion of what is a vast and very interesting subject. See the notes at the end of this document for further details.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

Persuasive Impossibility
After many years in the persuasion business, I developed an interest in a very special kind of persuasion: persuasion in the realm of the impossible. If I am trying to sell you a car, it is at least possible that the car is, in fact, a pretty decent car and one that would suit your needs very well. But how do you persuade someone about something that doesnt make sense, and isnt even possible? Im a member of the Inner Magic Circle. Ive performed as a magician and mind-reader all over the world. Im not famous or anything, but Ive had a lot of fun entertaining audiences large and small everywhere from Los Angeles to Sydney, and Ive even been on TV a few times. As a magician, I know how to persuade your mind to accept an impossible conclusion, like the little demonstration I used at the start of this talk. This is what magicians are good at. We can play with your mind and make it reach the wrong conclusion. However, magicians do what they do in a theatrical context. You see a performance on a stage, and you know its not real-life. When you see an actor die on stage, you know its just stage blood and not a real death. What about deceptive impossibility outside of a theatrical context? How does that work? One very good and widespread example would be psychic readings.

Sunset over frozen lake, Ljubljana

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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Psychic Readings: Why?

All of you have either been for a psychic reading or you know someone who has. Some psychics read tarot cards or palms. Some offer astrological or clairvoyant readings, while others say they can relay messages from the dead. (Reading tea leaves was very popular at one time. You dont see it much these days due to the emergence of that great dark nemesis of psychic powers: the teabag.) The psychic industry is one of the oldest in the world. In one form or another, it is found in every society, all over the world, throughout history. Its also one of the most profitable industries. Lets put it this way: its more profitable than oil. To make money from oil, you have to find it, drill it, refine it, distribute it and sell it. To make money from readings you just talk to people and they give you money. So, how does persuasion work in this context? Its clearly not based on an appeal to reason. Theres no scientific evidence for psychic powers, as the sceptics never tire of telling us. Then again, not everything is a scientific question. Theres no scientific evidence I ate two biscuits last Tuesday, but that doesnt mean it wasnt a real phenomenon. However, even setting aside the science issue, common sense tells you that a few tarot cards some pretty pictures printed on card stock cant have any specific connection to you or events in your life. So why do people pay for readings? You already know the answer. Its because readings offer a PEG, a perceived emotional gain. We all get frustrated sometimes by the fact that we cant see the future. Its nice to think someone can see some of what the future holds. Its even nicer when they say, as they always do, that the signs are generally positive. Some people go to see psychics because theyre looking for hope, comfort and reassurance of a kind they cant obtain any other way. Some people just go for fun. Its a pleasant, relaxing experience where you get told that youre basically a good person and your futures going to be mostly okay. Many people happen to think thats worth paying to hear. Okay, so thats the why. Now lets look at the how.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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Psychic Readings: How?

How do psychic readings work? Its a big subject and I cant cover it in detail, but lets take an example. Lets say John [ someone called John happened to be in the front row IR ] goes to see a psychic and says, She told me all sorts of things that she couldnt possibly have known. For example, she knew that my brother moved to New York last year, and I got a call from him yesterday! It sounds impressive. However, if you could go back and be a fly on the wall at that reading, you would see thats not quite what happened. The psychic says something like, Im seeing a connection with overseas, Im getting the letter A for some reason, can you understand this connection? Lets consider this. Many countries contain the letter A, and two very big ones start with it: America and Australia. The psychic hasnt said whether this connection is past, present or future. She hasnt said whether its personal, social or professional. She hasnt said whether it pertains to real events or just dreams. The connection could in fact be anything at all. Heres the point: the psychic provides the statement, but the client provides the significance. In this example, John might say, Well, my brother moved to America last year, to New York, could that be it? The psychic says, Yes, thats what Im sensing, a family connection with New York. Im also seeing communication maybe quite recently? What does communication mean? It could cover dozens of different possibilities. Once again, the psychic has offered a statement, but the client provides the significance. Well, says John, as it happens he phoned yesterday. The psychic says, Yes, thats what I was sensing, a recent call from him. It can all feel very convincing. After the reading, John will talk about it in a way that makes it sound far more impressive than it really was at the time. This process can never fail. If John cant find any connection, of any kind, with any country containing the letter A, the psychic just says, Well, if that doesnt mean anything to you now, it will do soon will you look out for that? Its going to be quite a promising opportunity. This process is called cold reading and this is just one quick example. There is a lot more to it! See the notes at the end of this document.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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A Digression On Sceptics, Believers And Conflict

Having mentioned psychics and readings, I want to digress for a moment. There are many believers who are certain that psychic powers do exist. There are many sceptics who are certain that psychic powers do not exist or at least we dont have any credible evidence. Sceptics even have their own magazines, societies and conferences. Ive been to several and performed at a few. I even went to Italy to perform at the World Sceptics Congress yes, there really is such a thing! These arguments about whether psychic powers are real or not have been going on for a long time. They never achieve anything and never will. Heres the truth. I can give it to you in eleven words: psychic powers are as real as you want them to be. When were talking about psychic powers, were not talking about something like that glass of water something that either does or doesnt exist. Were talking about something that is a reality in terms of someones emotional perception. If you want or need psychic powers to be real, they are real for you. If you dont, then they arent. Thats all there is to it. The same goes for many other things in life: the brilliance of Manchester United, the merits of drinking beer, the desirability of buying clothing from a particular designer. All these things are as real as you want them to be. Its the same with your relationship with a god of some description. If you want or need him to be real, hes perfectly real to you. To the rest of us, not so much. It would be great if we could all just learn these words: its as real as you want it to be. Then we can all be friends, we can all love one another (which is more important than anything else), get on with our lives, learn from one another, help one another and stop re-hashing the same old arguments. When I look at the world around me, I honestly dont feel we need more conflict. I think we need more people to relax, smile, shake hands and say, Well, I guess its as real as you want it to be. Lets just leave it at that. (By the way, if there is a god, I believe he has a plan for me. Its a plan that involves eating a lot of biscuits.)

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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How Can We Be Happy?


[ At this point in the talk, I performed my second miracle of the evening. I started with a single, flat sheet of newspaper, made a few cuts, and ended up with two solid, interlinked squares of paper without any joins or gaps. This is impossible, but I did it anyway. - IR ] Earlier on, I said that in very simple terms our minds are always seeking various kinds of perceived emotional gain the need to belong, to feel safe, respected and so on. Putting it in very simple terms, were all trying to be happy. The obvious question to ask is: how come we arent very good at it? Why does happiness seem so hard to achieve? Why does the health service spend a billion pounds a year on sedatives and anti-depressants? Why is there no such thing as an out-of-work therapist? Why is it that any guru gets swamped with people asking how to understand life and achieve happiness? The answer lies in the difference between two different kinds of happiness, and in the patterns that we run in our minds.

View from the top of a glacier, Milford Sound

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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Short And Long

There are two kinds of happy: short-term happy and long-term happy. Short-term happy is what our bodies and minds can perceive very easily. If Im sipping a fine Zinfandel, listening to Sinatra singing Cole Porter, while a close friend of mine treats me to an all-over body massage, Im pretty sure Im happy. If she adds a couple of biscuits, Im really happy. Its also easy to plan for. If this is what Ive got planned for tomorrow evening, then Im reasonably sure Ill be happy tomorrow evening. Long-term happy is harder to perceive. Our senses arent wired up to work on that timescale. Were you happy last year? The question doesnt even seem to make sense. You could only say something like, In what way do you mean? I guess I was happy in some ways but not in others. As we cant readily perceive long-term happy, its also harder to plan for. Just to make things even more complicated, the world we live in is really good at short-term happy because lots of people have found ways to make money out of it. This is why we all have a million entertainment options these days: pubs, clubs, cinemas, theatres, restaurants and so on. Weve all got a hundred TV channels to ignore and we can carry every song we know in a small box made of metal, silicon and magic. Thats the entire history of mankind right there: from Eve with an apple core to Steve with an Apple Corp. Our amazing high-tech world is all about infinite choice and instant gratification, and theres plenty of money to be made catering to this demand. But its harder to make money out of long-term happy, so theres a lot less emphasis on it. You never hear this sales pitch: Sign up to our entertainment service and you can watch any movie you like, five years from now. Doesnt really work, does it? So thats one part of why many people arent very happy: they get distracted by short-term happy, and neglect the long-term. Theres another good reason, and it has to do with running bad patterns. Let me explain.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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Patterns In The Mind

Your mind is constantly striving to be happy. To this end, it runs what some people would call strategies but I just call them patterns. Your mind acquires patterns from many sources. Some can be regarded as innate. You get other patterns from your parents, authority figures, family, peer group and from your own experience both indirect (friends and the media) and direct. Some patterns work very well. If you have a pattern that says eat a wellbalanced, nutritious diet, with the occasional indulgence but not too much, and take regular exercise, youre probably going to be quite fit and healthy. If you have a pattern that says avoid exercise, because its boring and doesnt feel nice, and eat junk food because its quick, easy and tasty, then you will gradually diverge from the words fit and healthy, and will probably speed up your divergence from the word alive.

The Patterns You See

I find that seeing and understanding people in this way is very useful. Its quite common to hear people say, Oh, so-and-so treated me really badly. No, they didnt. The person they are complaining about did not get up one morning and think, Oh, Ill go and treat someone badly today. The person they are complaining about is in the same boat as the rest of us. They are trying to be happy, and running the best patterns they have available. If they dont seem to have very good patterns, well, have some sympathy for them. Who knows maybe you can help them to find better ones? When you see someone angry whats going on? You are seeing a mind that is trying to be happy, but it has tried all the patterns it knows and none of them have worked so it resorts to making a noise. An infant child cant feed itself, so it makes a loud noise and this nice person called a mother comes along and feeds it. When we grow up, we learn to do lots of things for ourselves. We learn some patterns for getting what we want. If a mind runs all the patterns it knows, and nothing seems to work, it resorts to a very early one: make a loud noise. Thats what anger is the sound of someone running out of patterns to try.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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The Patterns You Use

I think its also useful to apply this way of looking at things to yourself. There are times when its useful to stop and ask yourself, What patterns am I running? Are they good ones? Where did I get them? Whom did I get them from? Do they work? Could I use better ones? Another good question to ask is, The person I got this pattern from did they give it to me because its in my interests, or theirs? If you reach for a cigarette, what pattern are you running? Where did you get it from? Does it really work? Is it a good one? If you repeatedly form relationships with someone who hurts and abuses you, what pattern are you running? Where did you learn it? Does it work? If you stick with a job that leaves you weary and frustrated, what pattern are you running? Why? Whom did you get it from? Does it work? We all run lots of different patterns every day. Some of them will be good ones that work. See if you can improve them, make them work even better. Some of them will be bad ones that dont work. Fix them or ditch them. Of course, the fixing part is difficult. Changing behaviour is something many of us find difficult. There are people who can help you with that, such as my friend James Tripp, but its a separate subject. See the notes at the end of this document for further details.

Mosque, gull and moon, Istanbul

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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Happy Endings

Weve looked at a few different aspects of happiness, and some of the reasons why people find it hard to achieve happiness. So, whats the answer? How can we be happy? I cant give you the answer. Im not that wise or enlightened. However, I can share with you an answer. The best one I know of, and here it is: If you act to fulfil your potential, life feels good. (And if you dont, then it doesnt.) I say act, because taking action is important. I know a lot of people who have something theyd like to do or try. They think about it, talk about it, buy books about it, ask about it online, dream about it, wonder about it, write out To do lists the only thing they never do is take action and do it. I also refer to fulfilling your potential. You do not get to choose what your potential is. Mozart was writing symphonies at the age of 8. We cant all do that. You do get to choose how much of your potential you fulfil. Thats down to you.

Four Types Of Potential

You can think of your potential in many ways. Here are four that I think matter a lot. Your potential to develop whatever talents you have Your potential to help others fulfil their potential Your potential to give and receive love Your potential to experience joy The joy can be the joy of laughter shared with friends, raising children, making love, making tea, watching Fawlty Towers, seeing a great sunset, or slamming the door in the face of a Tory MP. Or, of course, eating biscuits. So, thats the best answer I can share with you: Respect the difference between short-term and long-term happiness Focus on the long-term, and run patterns so you act to fulfil your potential Perhaps one day you will be kind enough to share your best answer with me. Id like that. We might both learn something.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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A Story
I said this talk was about two interesting questions and a story. The first interesting question was how to be persuasive. The second was how to be happy. That just leaves the story. To tell the story, I have to talk a little bit about myself. I know when I say that, all the women in the audience will experience a moment of shock and disbelief No, really? A man who wants to talk about himself? I dont believe it, that never happens! I expect theyll be covering this on the news when we get home.

Story Part 1: Living The Sleep

See if you can spot a pattern here. When I was young, they said, There are some very important exams you have to take when youre 16. If you pass them, thats okay. But if you dont, youre a failure. Being a failure didnt sound great, so I tried to pass these exams. This wasnt easy because Im not intellectually strong. Im not playing the false modesty card its just true. So I did a stupid amount of homework and burned lots of useless stuff into my head, and I passed the exams. After Id passed them, I thought maybe I could feel good about myself. But they said, No! There are some other important exams you take when youre 18. If you pass them, thats okay. But if you dont, youre a failure. Being a failure didnt sound great, so I spent another million hours learning more amazingly useless stuff and I passed the exams. I thought maybe I could feel good about myself. But they said, No! Theres this thing called a degree, and its important that you get one. If you can get a degree, thats okay. But if you dont, youre a failure. This was back in the day when the taxpayer paid for it, so I went to Sheffield University and I did a degree. It was a very embarrassing degree. I dont really want to mention it, but in the interests of humility and full disclosure, I will tell you. It was a degree in English Literature and Philosophy. You might not be aware of how utterly useless that is, so I will tell you. When this talk is over, go to the bins outside a burger bar. Put your hand in and pull out something at random. Whatever you have in your hand will be worth more than an honours degree in English Literature and Philosophy. So I got my degree, largely because it was the sort of degree where youd have to work hard not to get it.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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I thought maybe I could feel good about myself. But they said, No! What matters is whether you can get a job. If you can get a job, thats okay. But if you cant, youre a failure. So I got a job. Then they said, Ah, but what matters is whether you can get a better job. One that pays you more money so you can buy more stuff! And I said, What stuff? Im okay, I dont need more stuff. They said, You dont understand! Youve got to get a better job to earn more money to buy more stuff! Dont argue! If you can get a better job, thats okay. But if you cant, youre a failure. So I got a better job. I thought maybe I could feel good about myself. But they said, No! What matters is, can you get into management? Because if you can, thats okay. But if you cant, youre a failure. So I got into management. Then they said, Ah! But what matters is, can you get into senior management? Because if you can, thats okay. But if you cant, youre a failure. So I got into senior management. I was the UK Head of Sales & Marketing for a big, multinational internet technologies company. Then, in 1997, something happened. I realised Id been told I was living the dream, but I was actually living the sleep. So I WOKE UP.

Visiting the dragons of Komodo Island

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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Story Part 2: What Are You Going To Do?

I realised that I wasnt happy. I realised that I didnt want to go into the Monday management meeting and the Wednesday planning meeting and the Friday team meeting. I wanted to live my life for me instead of following other peoples ideas about how I should spend my time. So I just walked out. I said, Ive had enough. Its boring and I want more than this to look back on. And the biscuits arent very good either. People said, Is this a mid-life crisis? I was 36. I said, No, its called waking up. People said, What are you going to do? I said, Ive no idea, but it has to be more interesting than this. People said, How will you survive? I looked around the office and I said, Do you call this surviving? This isnt surviving. Its existing. Anyway, I dont want to survive. I want to live. People said, Oh, its very brave leaving the big salary, the car, the perks. I said, The brave people are the ones who can look ahead and see more of the same the commuting, the meetings, the spreadsheets, the wretched company parties and go forward into that tunnel. I cant do that. Its just too scary to think thats all Ill have to look back on. So I left my job and I went on an adventure called Seeing what happens next. Its a great adventure, Im still on it and I love every minute of it.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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Story Part 3: One Thing I Did

One thing I did was write a book on cold reading. I wrote it for my own interest, and just because I wanted to. I offered it to publishers and in their infinite wisdom they said no, theres no market for it, theres no point, youre wasting your time, dont bother. By rejecting me they did me a wonderful favour. I published the book myself and learned how to sell it online. So far Ive sold over 25,000 copies to customers in 60 countries, and it just keeps selling and selling. I figured out how to run the business without spending a penny on marketing or advertising of any kind, saving myself a fortune. Since I publish and sell the book myself, all the money comes to me instead of other people. Yay! Its an online business, almost fully automated, so theres virtually nothing for me to do. This means that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I can just sit and watch money pour into my bank account. Its quite likely Ill never have to work again. Theres an interesting twist to this story. Remember I mentioned the importance of taking action? Last year I prepared a small booklet. It explained how I built my online business and showed the reader how to do the same and make money online. As an experiment, I gave this to about forty people around the world from many varied backgrounds, just to see what would happen. All of them read it and liked it. None of them put it into practice. They are all great people and they all had their reasons, of course but it does make you think!

The ancient stone city of Petra

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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Story Part 4: Other Things Ive Done

What else have I done apart from create a cash cow for life? I love travelling, which is why Ive included a few photos in this document. Ive seen the sun rise over Ayers Rock, and the incredible Kilauea Caldera in Hawaii. Ive seen the stone city of Petra and visited the giant Komodo dragons of Indonesia. Ive been to the top of the Petronas Towers, and seen the depths of the amazing Postojna Caves in Slovenia. Ive taken a hot-air balloon ride at dawn over the mountains of Cappadocia in Turkey, one of the strangest landscapes on Earth. Ive stood on a glacier at 5000 feet in Milford Sound in New Zealand, looking out over scenery so stunning the mind cant take it in. I arranged one trip so that I was on Easter Island on Christmas Day (yes, I really did this). Ive seen the Cathedral on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg and the Kiyomitzu temple of Kyoto. Ive seen the awesome Hagia Sophia, and stood next to the full-size Saturn V rocket at Kennedy Space Centre. Ive climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa, visited Alcatraz prison, flown a helicopter over Sydney harbour and been to Vienna to see my favourite painting, Breughels Return of The Hunters. Ive met scores of fascinating people. Some of them are famous, and I could drop a few names but I wont. Some of them arent famous, but they are wonderful and incredible people all the same. There has been a lot of love in my life, because the world is full of amazing and delightful women, all with this fascinating gift of being able to think in extraordinary ways that we men just cant even begin to imagine. Most of all, Ive had fun. Ive lectured by invitation at both Oxford and Cambridge. Ive performed just about everywhere, including places where they dont normally have performers, such as the Times Literary Festival. I was hired by the FBI to teach their agents. I was an advisor to the Ministry of Defence and I am an advisor to the sports psychologists of the British Olympics team. Ive done all these things just by waking up. If you went on a similar adventure, you wouldnt do the same things or go down the same paths as me. You would do different things, wonderful things. But I expect you would have just as much fun.

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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The End: A Point Of View


To end, I dont want to offer advice. You havent asked me for advice and its not my place to give it. Instead, I want to share a point of view. No matter how well you look after yourself, there will come a day when either your mind or your body will start to let you down. Thats when some options start to be taken away from you and they never come back. Thats when you start to realise all the things you wanted to do but never did, and now you never will. So heres my point of view. If there are things you want to do, do them. If there are places you want to see, go and see them. If there are people you want to meet, go and meet them. If there are experiences you want to have, have them. If there are things you want to try, try them. See what happens. The alternative is that youll spend the rest of your life wondering What if? Everything you try will either be a success or a learning experience, and learning is great. Do these things while you can, because life is very short indeed and soon it will be too late. Do these things because youre great, and you deserve to have a great life. Understand that when you act to fulfil your potential, you will always feel good, and if you do anything else then you never will. Most of all, love yourself, love other people and love life. I also suggest you live as if anything is possible. I dont know if thats actually true, but I know it makes life one heck of a lot more fun. Thank you. I hope its been interesting. [ To end my talk, I said Id do one more thing to show that anything is possible. I proceeded to eat, chew and swallow broken glass. In my experience, this tends to make a talk quite memorable. - IR ]

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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One Small Advertisement You Dont Even Have To Read


I teach something called Applied Cold Reading (ACR). It has nothing to do with pretending to be psychic. ACR gives you super skills to sell, persuade and build rapport. Its very useful in any role that involves meeting and dealing with people. Ive been teaching this for four years to men and women from all walks of life. Anyone can learn it, use it and benefit from it. Theres some work involved, but its fun as well. All I ask is that you check it out, read the benefits, see the zingy testimonials and see if its right for you: www.appliedcoldreading.com It wont kill you to take a look, and it might even turn out to be a good move. Thank you. - Ian

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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References
Interesting Talks See www.interestingtalks.co.uk or www.meetup.com/interesting-talks-london Persuasion Changing Minds by David Straker. The best book ever written on all aspects of persuasion. See www.changingminds.org . Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland. A classic book, fun to read. Influence: science and practice by Robert Cialdini. Regarded by many as the standard go to book on the subject. Resistance and Persuasion, edited by Knowles & Linn. Excellent overview of academic research containing many hidden gems. Understanding People Improv by Keith Johnstone. Though it was written for actors, its a great book that provides wonderful insights into people and communication. Passages by Gail Sheehy. A guide to the predictable crises of adult life. The Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel. How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. Inspiration Illusions by Richard Bach. This book changed my life. The Battersea Park Road To Paradise by Isabel Losada. A wonderful, funny, touching account of the authors search for enlightenment. Bringing About Positive Changes In Your Life I myself am not a therapist and I dont deal in change work. If this is what interests you, I can recommend three people. James Tripp. www.jamestripp.co.uk John Morgan. www.jpmorganjr.com Gemma Bailey. www.peoplebuilding.co.uk ( More > )

Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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Cold Reading My book on cold reading is available from www.thecoldreadingbook.com . Other books on the subject are available. They just arent as good as mine. Alternatively, just tap cold reading into Google. Youll find plenty of information. My Courses I offer several training courses: Applied Cold Reading (described as like mind-reading for business) Persuasion Secrets Of A Mindreader (the same course I presented to the FBI and members of the British Olympics Team) Use Your Super Mind (creativity, super memory, speed-reading etc.) The One-Day Marketing Course For Small Business Making The Break How To Quit Your Job And Be Happy Some of these are offered publicly, some I mainly offer to the corporate sector, and some are available on a one-on-one basis if youre willing to pay me lots of money. If interested, see my website www.ianrowland.com or contact me: ian@ianrowland.com . Im always interested in speaking opportunities, especially if they involve visiting new parts of the world. I look forward to hearing from you. - Ian Rowland, London, 2011

This is a copyright document and all rights are reserved. However, you can privately copy it and distribute it as much as you like provided you keep it intact, give full credit and attribution, and dont make money out of it or use it to add commercial value to anything such as a publication or website. - IR

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Mind Twists / Copyright Ian Rowland 2011 / www.ianrowland.com

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