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Finding the right words matters so much

Great storytelling fuels influence.
Which is good, bad, and ugly … some thoughts on how to deal with bullshitters:

If you manage to tell a story that resonates well with many people, you can make a huge impact.

The good is that this power is available to everyone.

The bad is that “everyone” includes the bullshitters.

The ugly is that bullshitters often wield storytelling as a tool to manipulate or mislead, rather than to enlighten or entertain. They shamelessly ignore the truth. It’s just not a concept that matters to them.

The only question that matters to a bullshitter is:
Does the story work to their advantage?
When it works it’s just fine. True or not.

Now, this is important to understand: They are not exactly lying. In order to lie, they would need to care for the truth. Which they don’t. They are simply not interested in the truth. They are only interested in achieving their goals.

Here’s where people get it wrong: They assume that bullshitters would be similar to themselves. That deep inside even a bullshitter would care for the truth. That they just need to be convinced of the facts.

But that’s not how bullshitters roll.

They don’t care about the truth.
Therefore, they don’t care about facts.
Therefore, they can’t be convinced by facts, no matter how hard you try.

Bullshitters care about whether it works. Nothing else matters to them. Again: They couldn’t care less about whether they are right or wrong.

If a story resonates, they will tell it.
If a made-up story resonates better,
they will switch to that story.

You shouldn’t treat them as similar to you. They are not. Unlike yourself, they have no sympathy for the truth.

The only thing that can make make them stop what they’re doing is when their story stops working.

And that, essentially, means that you need to tell better stories.

You need to find a way to tell the truth in a way that resonates stronger than the bullshitter’s made-up story.

That, I think, is the only way.

And it’s why – in times like ours – finding the right words matters so much.

Telling stories is something that bullshitters really excel at. You need to become better at it.

For example … 

… when bullshitters are extraordinarily good at making their audience feel heard, you need to become even better at understanding people’s struggles and desires.

… when bullshitters promise the blue from the skies, you need to become even better at finding words that resonate strongly but that are grounded in the truth.

In other words, we need to shift our focus away from trying to convince the bullshitter (which is never going to work) and onto the people we want to resonate with.

The more empathy we have for them, the better our stories can become.

The better our stories become, the better they can spread.

The better they spread, the bigger their impact.

That flavor of impact starts with empathy, honesty, and the will to find the right words.

If you care for the truth and want it to have impact, you need to care for finding true stories that resonate strongly.

What’s your strategy of dealing with bullshit?

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