How to Manipulate

One way is to create a compelling headline and then fail to deliver in the content.

Bwahahaha! Got you now.

But where is the value in that?

I used to work with foster kids. One of the coping skills kids in the system have developed in spades is manipulation. I used to tell them as long as you’re doing it for you’re own success and not hurting anyone along the way, it’s fine.

I mean, isn’t it? I know we don’t like the word manipulation. It’s full of connotations and implications.

We all do it. And some are worse than others. But if you’re becoming a better person for it and no one is hurt, then is manipulation a bad thing? Other than the actual word “manipulation”, of course.

Maybe we like nicer words like persuasive, charming, strategic, insightful.

Seth Godin recently blogged on manipulation:

“It’s easy to fool someone or lie to them or give them what they think they want.  It’s easy to write a great block of copy, to sell on credit, to grab the attention of the mob. Not so easy: to build mutually profitable long-term relationships that lead to satisfaction, trust and work worth doing. Lincoln was right about fooling people, but along the way we often forget that while trickery is easy, the longer path of keeping your promises is far more satisfying and stable.”

I think this is profound. His insight applies to everything. Writing. Business. Church. Parenting. Marriage. Friendships.  Is there a relationship of any sort that isn’t better for this kind of effort?

Not only is fooling all the people all the time  impossible (as Lincoln said), it wouldn’t be worth it. Because, Seth is right. It doesn’t lead to long term relationships. I think it’s like the Bible verse about a wide and narrow path. The narrow path might be more challenging, but it leads somewhere much better.