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The most important words I've ever read, & why they should matter to you.

Once upon a time, I read a book. A single line from that book is probably the most important thing I've ever read.

Decades later I still think about that line every time I go online, read an article, or see someone speak.

It even directly affects me in the work I do as a direct response copywriter.

It's not from a great philosopher, or business expert, or self-confessed guru of enlightenment.

Instead, it's from a fantasy novel I read last century before I even went to university.

"Wizard's First Rule" by Terry Goodkind.

Wizard's first rule.
What, did you think I was going to choose the Bible or something?

If you don't like dragons, magical swords, or general high fantasy shenanigans then you probably haven't read it.

The line itself isn't the actual Wizards First Rule ("people are stupid").

The line comes as one of the main characters, the wizard Zedd, explains the rule to others.

"they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. "

It stuck with me for almost 2 decades, but I never really appreciated it until I started looking into Bitcoin, blockchains, cryptocurrencies, & copywriting in 2016.

Because then I consciously realised something, which for many of you might seem obvious.

The truth is provable, but lies are only believable.

More importantly, we believe things are true when we have failed to prove them incorrect.

But, we believe lies more, the more we are afraid of them or want them to be true.

To make a lie more believable, the first thing you do is load the reader with fear.

To make people understand the truth you show them, with facts & figures, evidence.

But this is why we are prone to believe lies rather more than understand the truth.

We are emotional creatures.

We decide to react, be that buy, read more, or otherwise engage, based on emotion.

Then we rationalise after the subconscious has made the choice, based on whatever evidence is shown to us.

No matter how flimsy that evidence may seem.

The stronger the emotion, the weaker the proof needs to be.

And the 2 strongest emotions to get us to act are fear, & the hope for removal of that fear.

The proof is secondary to the emotion, & with the truth, there is often less emotion.

Look at the Covid-19 pandemic & the rise of the anti-vaxx movement.

When hospitals are overflowing, when people are dying on the news every day, when there is a clear & present danger we believe that we need a solution.

We, quite correctly, have fear & solutions give us hope.

We can then support it with overwhelming mountains of evidence from decades of vaccination, against dozens of diseases, proving that mass vaccination is a hugely effective solution.

Fear from the disease, hope for a solution plus evidence = we want vaccinations.

But that fear, for most of us, is largely theoretical

We might know someone, or even a few people who had it but they probably survived.

The statistics prove to us that the threat is real, but statistics are a weak driver of emotion.

When the disease starts to slow down due to vaccinations & other mitigations, when TV coverage has moved to the next news cycle, that fear goes away as well.

Suddenly we are susceptible to other fears.

What about side effects?

What if it kills your children?

What if they leave a chip in your arm?

Anything to make us afraid & believe vaccines are bad.

Or at least to act that way.

Plus, this is a directly personal fear.

It's not something happening to someone else far away, or statistically "might" happen to us.

It's "What if?"

Because it is a lie driven by fear, we then go looking for evidence supporting it, rather than disproving it.

"I saw a friend of a friend shared a post about someone halfway around the world who died from it".

"I saw a clip of a woman who stuck a magnet to her arm."

"This photo shows a child with X as a result of vaccines."

These are facts only in the loosest sense that we trust them, rather than prove them right or wrong.

Many are easily disprovable with the simplest of investigation, often a quick Google search.

We ignore the hundreds of thousands of people who have likely lived directly due to vaccination because theoretical numbers of avoided deaths don't trigger an emotional response.

We aren't hoping thousands survive, because they already have.

We aren't afraid we might die because the risk is so much lower & we aren't directly seeing it.

We can look at projections without vaccination etc vs actual results all day long without it helping.

Because, logic only supports a decision you have already made, it doesn't make the decision for you.

Now, with the ability to use the internet & communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time, it is easy to find cherry-picked evidence to support an emotional belief.

The same is true of Bitcoin.

It is a technology driven by logic, proof & truth, not emotion.

Anyone can learn coding to go & verify Bitcoin does exactly what people say it does.

There is no trust needed.

So there is no emotional trigger to be part of it.

Any properly coded & built blockchain or cryptocurrency solution is the same.

They remove emotion & trust, & replace them with truth.

That's why they are such a hard sell if built properly.

Not because they don't work, but rather they work so effectively & independently of people, they fail to trigger an emotional urge to participate.

But, with them, there is one clear hope that does drive user "adoption" of Bitcoin & cryptocurrencies.

"I hope this will make me rich."

It's a dangerous hope as it makes us over-invest, take risks, & only look for the evidence that supports our emotional drive.

But it is the single biggest reason most people will buy them.

At the minute anyway.

This is the reason so many pyramid-scheme coins exist, so many pump & dump groups are made, so many rug-pulls happen.

And why they target so effectively the people who can't financially afford the risk.

People who don't have money, who can't afford traditional slow investments, who live paycheck to paycheck understand the fear of not having money.

They have the fear that today will be the day they run out of money, or maybe tomorrow.

That fear, backed by the hope of a way out, drives them to take risks & invest in the cryptos which promise a better future.

Without the understanding of what they are, how they work, or what they truly do.

If fiat currencies start to collapse, if traditional money goes into a value nosedive then we may see a change as fear of that takes hold & people move into alternatives that they hope will hold value.

The reality is that "they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. " could just as easily be said about the truth.

All the evidence we can produce won't help someone know the truth when they have an emotional connection to trigger them into believing the lie.

Even if they do know the truth, that emotional connection will cause them to act as if the lie is real.

So, how is this connected to direct response copywriting?

Quite simply, you can't just show someone the truth about how great your product is.

You can't show them facts, figures & features.

You have to give them the emotional connection to it first before you give them the evidence to justify it.

That is why effective direct response copywriting is often about effectively showing the person what they fear as an outcome vs the hope of a future due to your product.

Doesn't matter if it is political manifestos, landing pages for your website, or a cold sales email.

The right mix of primarily fear & hope backed up by evidence is what gets people to act.

It's just your moral compass that chooses how you use this info & how you balance the emotions you feed in a prospect.

Plus, remember this as a final thought.

The truth is true whether we believe it or not but lies only exist when we, as individuals, chose to believe them.

No matter how scared of them we might be.

To find out more about working with The Wetware IA, Book a consultation