The Psychological Theory I'm Into Most Right Now

author
By Alexa Ward

What's On My Mind

I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this before. This is a game changer.

That’s exactly what I said to my wife Becky, as I sat the book down, about half-way through.

​The book?
​It’s called Wanting, and it’s coming out in June.

​I was lucky to get sent an Advanced Reader Copy to reviewit explained so many things that were previously invisible to me.

​The content Is based off some decades old theory called Mimetic Desire, which has been refreshed and modernized by Wanting’s author, Luke Burgis.

​Here’s the nut.

​We humans are highly imatitive.

Far more than we think.

Science: a classic study found babies imitate us within days of birth in a way that can't be explained by conditioning and newer reserarch shows babies are even listening in the womb, ready to imitate our mothers the moment we're born.

It seems we're born to imitate.

​As adults, we think we want things rationally.

​Like, I want to buy this thing because like it.

​Or I want to pursue this course of action because I think it’s a good idea.

In reality, we‘re largely acting through the filter of imitating someone else.

Could be someone we know. Or, someone we don’t, like a model or celebrity.

​Advertisers already know this. It’s why they choose a model or celebrity to pitch their product.

​They know it’s not about the product at all.

It’s about us wanting to be the spokesperson.

​(Son, I know it didn't make sense, but Magnum PI told me to get that reverse mortgage!)

​Seriously, we often don’t realize the extent we’re imitating others.

​Said a different way, as we’re imitating and making decisions with one part of the brain, our thinking mind is coming up with all kinds of reasons to justify our decision.

So, what do we do about this?

Two examples: first us then our prospects and clients.

​For us...

We need to be really clear on who we’re imitating and why. Mimetic Desire is strong—so our role models need to be concious and clear.

​A personal example: one of the most important groups I’ve been around the last few years is a business-oriented group my friend Shawn puts together. I’m the old guy in the group, but I’ve learned so much from the amazing people in it. I’m ahead of them in some areas of business leadership, and they’re ahead of me in others. We're all "net givers" and everyone in the group benefits from being a part of it. This tiny group has had a huge impact on me.

​Questions to ask ourselves:

  • Who should be our role models?
  • How can we design mutually beneficial ways to interact with them more?
  • As we’re feeling our desire to mimic their actions, we should ask: Is this even the right thing for us? If so, how can we modify what they've done to work best for us?

For our prospects and clients...

We can help others help themselves by giving them models.

​Questions to ask ourselves:​

  • The highly-regarded clients we work with are more important than I ever realized. When appropriate, how can we more effectively share their stories with others, even if they have to be anonymized?
  • In specific conversations, who should this prospect or client I’m talking to aspire to be and learn from?
  • How can I connect them in a way that’s mutually beneficial?

​​Wanting was a game changer for me. High recommend!

​My takeaway: being clear about who I and others should aspire to be can make us better leaders.

What We Just Created

You'll love this.

​I got to interview Luke Burgis about his book Wanting a few weeks ago, and the episodes all dropped this week.

​We mashed up The Snowball System and Wanting in a SUPER powerful way.

And, it was fun. Turns out Luke is a great guy.

Ours is one of the first major podcasts to interview Luke about the book, so you're getting a sneak peek!

​While there’s five short episodes, I’d suggest starting with these two:​

  1. Luke giving an overview of Mimetic Desire and applying it to business development.
  2. Me and Luke talking about how to harness Mimetic Desire for good, creating and closing more of the business you want.

​If you like those, just keep rolling and check out the other three.

So good.

​(And as always, if you're non-Apple, we're on a few dozen other platforms here.)

What's Worth Lingering On

Knowing why and what I desire made me rethink everything.

​After reading Wanting, in general, I want much less.

​But for the things I‘ve decided are worth pursuing, I want more:​

  • The platform to make a bigger impact.
  • The freedom to spend more time with close friends and family.
  • The business that will leave a legacy long after I’m gone.

​I’ve shed some unhealthy models. I‘ve added others with intention.

​With clients, I’ve been much bolder about suggesting who they might model.

​And when it works, I introduce them. Win/win!

​These small changes are making a big difference.

How can you harness Mimetic Desire for good? 
​Mo

​ps. If you only have 121 seconds, here’s a super short clip of the first Luke Burgis interview on LinkedIn.