When does it happen?
The moment that your perspective and understanding shifts.
The moment when you realize a new truth or understanding which reshapes the way your reality appears.
It’s the moments which completely change the course of action you’re likely to take, and possibly your entire life.
I’ve certainly had many. The significant ones I can still remember.
It’s a very interesting process to me putting together this email series and this “Down The Rabbit Hole” (name still questionable) secondary series running alongside the emails.
Before I keep going in this one …
I’ll tell you I’m likely on a shifting point belief wise. I’ve recently experienced a major one, which has influenced this new effort I’m taking, exploring long form and leaning into my own email more.
But there’s another more subtle one.
One which butts up against my resistance to “being an entertainer.”
More on that later.
In the email you just read, I laid down my first Fundamental Law of Marketing – it’s all about the relationship.
I left you with a look into the video “Liminal Thinking,” because belief is fundamental to how I approach all my work.
This has been an interesting experience to look back on …
Because for much of my life, I didn’t even understand it was possible to work for myself, let alone have that belief.
It wasn’t until I was 27 or so (i’m 39 as I write this) that I had some experiences and realizations which fundamentally changed my belief.
I grew up in a traditional “boomer” household (pardon the term, but it’s accurate).
My parents are wonderful people, who lived lives of solid careers, with large stretches at big companies. They were not entrepreneurs.
My vision of life was, go to school, graduate high school, go to college, graduate collage, go to graduate school, get a career with a PhD, get married, have a family, etc. (much like my parents)
Very 80s I think.
I had extreme dissonance as I entered my 20s and went through collage. (the image I was walking towards did not make sense, but I couldn’t see how or why)
It never occured to me that I could actually build a living working for myself, coming up with my own designs, creating my own life and reality. I thought I had to conform to expectations, work hard, climb a ladder, etc.
I always thought an “entrepreneur” was some rich person who did crazy things, coming up with businesses, or buying them, or something.
It felt like a fantasy world that didn’t connect with my own.
It was that dissonance though, which built tension, over the years, ever increasing, sometimes breaking a little, but never resolving.
Until it snapped.
And in the aftermath of that broken tension, I asked myself “what if … I could just make money doing my hobby?”
This was before the internet was prolific enough, before “hustle culture,” perhaps at the start of the boom of MLMs and anyone can get rich with the right side hustle, blah blah blah
This was just around when The 4 Hour Workweek was published, which possibly kick started all of that.
I was enjoying a passion of photography, helping the youth group at my local church, when I decided to try to sell my photographs. For one of their summer events, I created an extensive album for the parents, put it all on CDs (yes it was still that time in life), had nice labels made, and offered the albums for $5 a piece.
Didn’t sell a single one.
(I still don’t get that to this day, even with everything I know about marketing and copywriting, but whatever, life’s mysteries. As a parent now I would snap that up in a heartbeat.)
That sparked the change though.
A shift in my belief.
Liminal Thinking is a video which has had profound impact on the way I work and live. I did not discover this right away, but when I did, a great many disparate pieces of understanding fell into place.
(Another shift in belief for me)
This is the kind of thing for me which I constantly come back to, and every time I get something new out of it – the river has changed and so have I.
I don’t know if I can do this deep dive justice, but let’s give it a shot.
Everything, no matter what, boils down to belief.
We are creatures built on social structures of trust. We trust and rely on those around us, we always have. Being outcast has always been a death scentance.
Even today. Being outcast is terrible – it’s just far less likely you’ll be completely outcast, because there are people everywhere who ..
… wait for it …
Believe in the same things you do.
Belief has been the singular driving force in bringing people together, and perhaps more ubiqutously (and more sinister) in controlling people.
It’s easy to see how adopting similar beliefs allows groups of people to tie themselves together.
Religion is the simple example. Religious belief automatically gives you a group of people to belong to. That belief simultaneously controls and ties you to that group because if you diverge from the belief, you will be outcast (and biologically we are programmed to resist that, since it means death).
The Liminal Thinking video demonstrates, for me, how everything about our lives comes down to belief.
Our very reality is built on layers of belief.
YES EVEN SCIENCE, is belief.
It’s easy to point to science and math and say “that’s not belief, that’s truth.”
But lets dispel with the idea that belief = blind faith and acceptance outside of reality.
And slow down to understand that Belief consists of ideas, thoughts, interpretations, of everything around us which WE see as reality.
I believe the sky is blue.
I believe that when it rains, that’s water vapor in the air condensing, and then falling because it gets too heavy and dense to stay up there.
I believe that the words on the screen in front of me are actually words, as if I were writing them.
I believe that those words on the screen are made possibly by unknowably complex series of circuits and lights all participating in a dance.
Belief is the base level programming which makes it possible for us to live in the world
If I couldn’t just accept all of those things as true, every time I was confronted with them it would be impossible for me to function.
Belief is the foundation of our perspective of reality.
This is because reality is SO COMPLEX we actually can’t really understand it.
And how WE operate, how our brains work, is so complex we hardly understand it as well (most of our decision making is emotionally based, not logically based … we simply use logic after the fact to confirm the belief we have)
Our biological matter computer known as a brain distills all the inputs, arranges them, and categorizes them into layers of belief so that you can accept that which is safe and won’t kill you, and filter to the top of your attention the dangerous shit you want to avoid.
Ultimately it’s all about survival. The stuff which is irrelevant to that has to get automatically filtered and dealt with.
On a base level, Belief is “if I breath I’ll be ok.”
I’m not sitting here making rational arguements and looking at the science of things every time I take a breath to convince my body that it’s ok. I just believe it, into the biology of my being.
And so when we bring this back into our lives, into society, into culture … every layer of our life and our existence really is put through these filters of life and death to help us accept reality through BELIEF.
What does this mean for YOU the marketer, the entrepreneur, the business owner?
The one who is trying to help other people and desperately wishes for them to understand the truth of what YOU understand?
It means that you must accept the thing you know to be true is Belief, and EVERYTHING that has gotten you to the place where you are now, is also Belief.
The pyramid concept presented in that Liminal Thinking video is a very helpful visual, because we can see how each person’s perspective of reality is built on layers of belief.
And each person has a unique pyramid.
For most people we naturally gravitate towards others who have similar looking top layers of the pyramid.
They have similar beliefs outwardly which we can see through actions in society.
But MOST people don’t have completely identical beliefs, and require some other layers of connection to move forward.
This is where the space between beliefs, and the structure of understanding how we all see reality comes into play.
Liminal thinking allows us to see that, if we can deeply understand how someone else has grown to percieve the world and life, we can step down to different layers of belief, and meet someone on a more fundamental level of where they are now.
If you understand how someone has gotten to where they are and why, you can meet them in that place, and slowly walk them towards yours.
The copywriting “hacks” for this are layered in concepts like Awareness and Sophistication, which originate from Eugene Schwartz in Breakthrough Advertising, and which many other marketers and copywriters have interpreted (I learned from Lukas Resheske).
I call this a hack, because Awareness and Sophistication alone don’t tell us the full story of belief, but they can help us get into this one key spot …
Where is your prospect NOW, what do they believe and feel NOW with respect to the things you are saying?
Becuase no matter what, you MUST go to their table, meet them at their table, and start the conversation where they are comfortable.
This is why I reserve my deep philosophical explorations for layers within MY world, because the only way it makes sense for you to be reading this is if we’ve connected on some level of similar belief.
In order to do that, you’ve got to be grabbed / touched / influenced by something I’ve done which connects to the reality of where you were at that point …
And then … and only then … can you be brought forward step by step.
This all still requires an openness and willingness to explore something new, to scratch an itch of curiosity, to see SOMETHING which resonates as truth which you can follow to discover a deeper more meaningful answer.
THIS IS ALL BELIEF
I’ve done NOTHING to try to convince you to be here and read all these words.
All I’ve done is talk through layers and layers of belief related to the problems and challenges I see and think I can help you solve.
Very few other people talk about this, because it’s such an Esoteric idea, and it’s challenging to implement on a business level …
There is no template or equation to build strings of belief which pull people forward into your world of belief and understanding.
All you can really do is start by asking the question … “What does someone NEED to believe for buying to be obvious?”
And then backwards engineer the answer from there.
I learned all this, including Liminal Thinking, from André Chaperon … a prolific email marketer who heavily shaped the world of email marketing in the last decade through Autoresponder Madness, now called The Art of Email.
His approach (and his busines partner’s), is based in belief. You’ll rarely see them talk about it, because the concept is core foundation to everything, but unless you get it, talking about Belief alone does not connect for most people.
Even I put belief further down into layers of what I do. I have the email you read, which led you to this long winded philosophical exploration.
And I have (currently, perhaps it will change), my “Inevitability Method: Build Belief, Don’t Sell” branding.
Since you’ve read so far, a little bit of behind the curtain … though beliefs hardly change, the presentation of those beliefs often does shift.
The puzzle is always, how do you connect with your ideal prospects and draw the right people into your world and down the paths you walk?
This is a complex answer. Belief is a fundamental building block of this puzzle, but it’s not the whole equation.
As I write this, lately, I’ve been distilling my understanding into “MINDSHARE.”
Mindshare is a concept which uses Belief and Liminal Thinking as foundational building blocks. But includes so much more.
I’ll have to explore this more in the future …
(and perhaps even change the shape of my email series and brand yet again)
You may not realize this, but you are a part of an evolution in my work and my business.
As you read this, I write further to explore exactly how to distill the understanding of what I do in a way which builds belief and creates positive relationship.
It’s become clear to me that my approach is unique in it’s own way, and that I can help others understand and implement the way I do.
Ultimately the how is not difficult.
You just need to believe.
And I need to tie it all together cleanly 🙂