I went to a presentation recently that purported to be informational. And it was. However, as the presentation began, I realized that the information was being offered in the context of a sales pitch.
The “product” would benefit my life in grand ways. It was unique and far superior to anything in the same category, as evidenced by many scientific studies and personal testimonials. There was only one source for this product, and there was no way to learn more or to “try out” the product until I paid for it. And once I got my product, I would be bound by signed agreement not to share information about it, giving the product an aura of secret initiation and belonging to the “in” group.
The person making the presentation used other techniques as well, some subtle, some overt, to draw in the listeners. By the end people were eager to sign up.
Sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? But here’s the thing. Even though I could identify some of the various sales strategies being used, I still felt the pull. Despite my skepticism of the sales pitch, I still hesitated, wondering if my life might indeed be enhanced by what they were offering. And perhaps it would be. But I found my judgment too clouded by the careful manipulation to make any kind of trustworthy evaluation. So I walked away.
Wanting is a powerful emotion, convincing us that there is a lack, causing us varying levels of distress and discomfort which can only be alleviated by obtaining the object of desire.
The Dalai Lama admits to a fondness for gadgets. He told the story of walking by an electronics store and stopping to admire a device displayed in the window. Laughing, he described the desire that arose for this shiny object, even though he had no idea what it was for.
We can all relate.
Watching myself respond with at least questioning if not outright desire to what I recognized as a marketing strategy . . . well, it sort of amazed me. What an opportunity to contemplate the nature of wanting. What does it feel like? Where do I sense it in my body? What emotions are attached to it? What thoughts are attached to it?
Wanting is not good or bad. It just is. We want some things; we don’t want other things. But we needn’t be at the mercy of our wanting. We can get to know it rather than blindly follow it. And that knowing might benefit our lives in grand ways!
One who knows enough is enough will always have enough. ~Tao Te Ching