How do you make your voice heard when fear is louder than love?
In this short read, I explore a few ideas on why fear is leveraged in marketing and how those working in the healing industries can willingly let go of these models in favour of a more heart-centred approach. A rambling muse on the nature of humans, knowledge and innate wisdom, I'm keen to ignite conversation, cognition and connection.
Fear is louder than love
There are basic human reasons why this is so. Are you more likely to shout:
‘There’s a lion in your garden!’
‘There’s a beautiful butterfly in your garden!’
at your neighbour?
In the unlikely event of there being a predatory animal wandering around, your instinct to warn of danger is going to kick in before you have any time to think about what you’re saying.
Shouting that there’s a bright cabbage white coming their way over the fence with similar vigour is going to result in odd looks next time you nip out to the garage to fetch the lawnmower.
How we’ve amplified fear
We live in an information-rich age. Has it brought us happiness?
In any given week, one in six people in the UK reports experiencing some kind of mental health issue. Surely we would have figured out how to be happy by now?
Our behaviour and mental health are affected by what we consume and if we dine regularly on what’s largely on offer in the news and media, then we’re likely to be affected by what’s called the negativity bias.
I’ll not go into the details here but suffice to say it’s important for keeping us safe and allows us to learn about the risks in the world as we explore it as children and then into adulthood. The problem is that it's loud and has a tendency to drown out other, perhaps more positive, information coming in.
So I believe there's a link between fear and the proliferation of knowledge.
I say knowledge but really I mean stories.
I say stories but really I mean narratives.
According to historian Yuval Noah Harari in his book Sapiens, humans developed ever more elaborate narratives to stick their increasingly more elaborate cultures together. Our collective knowledge grew with the invention of writing, the printing press and our digital age.
And yet, he claims that ancient humans had bigger brains to house a greater personal and intimate knowledge of the land they lived on: the plants, animals, fungi and water sources to keep them alive.
In our quest for safety and freedom from injury, illness and lack, we have reduced the need for this individual knowledge and increased our reliance on collective intelligence.
I realise it would be foolish to ignore the ease and comfort medicine, transport and literature has brought to our lives but I wonder whether the disjoint between our comparative luxury and the distress we nonetheless feel about our existence has something to do with our outlook?
Inner knowledge vs outer narrative
Collective knowledge is curated and mediated. Whether you examine a text like the Bible or the Six-O’clock news, a person or group of people have decided what goes in, what is left out and how the story is going to be told. It has been going on like this for an awfully long time.
But I’m watching a gentle revolution taking place and I’m happy to be part of it.
I make no secret of the fact that I grew up in a high-control religious group. We were told what to believe and what to read. If we thought for ourselves or broke the rules, we’d be kicked out and our family and community would shun us.
I’m not saying the rest of the world necessarily lives like this but I can see that historically, most people have been warned off thinking for themselves and tuning in to their own intuition. I’m a tireless learner and a hopeless bookworm, so I’m not suggesting that we burn our libraries but what I’m suggesting is that we take on board the ideas and discoveries of others and then make up our own minds about what these things mean and how they should affect our behaviour and interactions.
What’s happening now is really rather beautiful. The mindfulness and healing industry is expanding rapidly. Of course, there are charlatans out to make a fast buck (like in any industry) but the professionals I come across in my everyday working life are living the change that they hope to see in the world.
Words like meditation, mindfulness and holistic healing have moved from the lexicon of a few aware and awoke individuals to the mainstream.
What all this means for your marketing
Everyone in this industry is a healer. Whether you’re the most secular of coaches in the corporate professional services sector or a past life regression therapist, you’re a healer. If you're in the business of helping people to get out of their own way, level up or transform their career, believe me, you're a healer. Whilst there are some now taking kundalini yoga and human design into the c-suite, there is still some resistance to the benefits of bringing holistic practice into the workplace.
Like it somehow depletes your credibility, effectiveness or productivity.
But the human and business benefits of a more tuned-in approach are making it less of an option and more of a necessity.
As we move from a focus on outwardly curated and mediated narratives to intuitive and innate human knowledge, not only can we have hope for collective healing but also permission for a return to an autonomous pause for thought. By grounding ourselves, we’re taking time to examine our surroundings and work out what we can use, play and experiment with on our own terms, according to our nature.
In this way, we focus on genuine learning and growth. We focus on healing rather than the wounds around us because if, as Gabrielle Bernstein says, an attack is a cry for help, clearly there are many wounds to heal.
If we’re using marketing techniques known to deliberately traverse people’s healthy boundaries (think charm pricing, false scarcity and rushing them to a decision) then we’re effectively attacking them. Not with a bow and arrow but with circumnavigatory tactics deliberately put there to bypass their natural decision-making processes.
If we’re doing this, we need to question whether we’re doing it from a place of panic like fear of lack or losing out to our competition - or if we're doing it because we've been told to.
If you are here to heal, then heal. Use everything in your power and every communication to do this: and it starts at the very first contact, with the first words you use.
For a few tips on practical ways of doing this, check out the other articles up on the blog.
If this resonates but you have no idea where to start, please book a free chat.