Usually on the Cup of Joe series, I talk about some idea directly related to coffee. Whether it’s some conceptual idea I’ve been thinking about – like the unseen affect dark roasted coffee might be having on you – or some coffee history or tidbits.
A bit of change of pace today.
Think about something new that you’ve learned lately. Or multiple somethings new.
Something you watched, or read – probably on social media – which made you go ‘oh wow, I didn’t know that, interesting.’
Be very careful.
It’s very much in human’s natural instinct to learn. I think everyone has this built in – we crave it, even if we don’t know it.
This is reinforced in a society where being in the know gives you power over those who don’t (at least, that is a common perception). Just think of any time you are in a social gathering, and how it feels to be the knowledgable one.
You surely know an ‘actually’ person who likes to insert the “correct” information.
Marketers use this as a very powerful tool in their arsenal of selling and connecting.
Giving someone a tidbit of new information is a great way to hook them in and create connection and rapport.
After all, who doesn’t like the person that shows them something cool and unique?
This alone, is not a bad thing.
What I implore you to have care with, is that you don’t actually make definitive changes to your belief/understanding after ‘learning’ something from marketing.
Here’s where things go poorly – in the grand scheme. You run across a short video, and the video talks about a particular problem or negative feeling you’ve probably had. At some point they say ‘well actually, that’s all caused by X… did you know that, blah blah blah.’ You are now learning something new and interesting! You feel good, you like this video and this person. But what you don’t realize is that this new bit of information has created a new problem. Fortunately, the product they have solves this problem.
That framework is powerful and effective.
And I say to you – stop buying into it.
Start asking yourself, every time you are learning something new, are you being offered something, or given the opportunity to buy something?
As I said before, when this happens it’s not always a bad thing. But often when you are learning something new, there’s so much that you don’t know, and the marketing you are experiencing is counting on your ignorance.
It’s not really there to help you. Oh from a certain point of view, what is being shared helps you to an extent. But who is that marketing REALLY serving?
You need to ask, who is this really serving and benefiting in the end?
Is it really helpful to you as a person, in your personal growth, for someone to take advantage of your limited scope of understanding, string you along with breadcrumbs and tidbits?
I’m being perhaps a little dramatic in all this. After all, there are plenty of great businesses out there, which teach you things in this manner, and they have a lot of value to provide. If you find joy and value in your interactions with them, what does it matter?
On the flip side, I see a lot of this marketing build up a false or at least missleading impression of the world. Single serve pod machines are a great example. They have done such a good job of convincing people that they produce perfect coffee at the push of a button, that those who use them don’t realize they are paying absurd costs for their coffee, and not only that but contributing to an incredible level of wastefulness.
It’s safe to say, as you are watching this now, you likely don’t buy into any single serve pod systems, and I thank you for that.
But this whole dynamic is something we all run into at one point or another.
So the next time you find yourself learning something new, ask yourself why. Why am I being taught this right now? Why is this person teaching me this? Where did they learn? What are they trying to get me to do?
Injecting a little bit more self awareness into our lives will be a positive thing for everyone in the long term.