Friday, March 6, 2015
Understanding the Depths of Persuasion
By his language, Cooney showed sensitivity to the criticism that he had "not gone the distance" in his career and had "no business" being in the same ring as the champion, Holmes, but was given this fight due to his race.
Cooney was tall with a lengthy reach and undercut and had knocked out, in brutal fashion, Ken Norton, in the very first round.
Normally an aggressive slugger, Cooney seemed to have a strategy, not to go all out for the early knock out, but instead, to box in a manner that would cause the fight to go "the distance."
This may have been his undoing, as Holmes, unpopular for knocking out the aging Muhammad Ali as well as some of his own more coarse statements. Holmes, the more talented boxer, battered Cooney to the point where Cooney's manager "threw in the towel", that is, quit in the 11th.
What happened next is relevant for Statement Analysis and specifically for business sales.
Gerry Cooney had a microphone thrust in his face, exhausted and beaten down, teared up and recalled something that should reverberate with us in whatever position we hold in life.
Cooney spoke in what could be seen as extreme "excited utterance", that is, appearing wobbly on his feet, having just lost the fight of his career, appearing disorientated and exhausted; his brain signaled to his tongue, which, of his perhaps 30,000 words (perhaps 29,000 after that beating) to say.
The 'whole world' (so to speak) was listening.
The spotlight was exhaustively upon him as media (and even promoters) sold tickets playing one race against the other with, "Great White Hope" tag. The media was more interested in interviewing the loser than the winner.
What would he say?
He spoke of his father.
If you do not know what he said, what might you expect to hear? In Statement Analysis, this is called the "Expected", that is, what is commonly expected to be heard by someone who is "innocent" (didn't do 'it') which then, by this presupposition, sets up the hearer/listener/analyst for the "unexpected" "confrontation of words" heard.
Hence, great information is gained, including deception.
What would you expect?
"I want to thank my dad..." and "I owe everything to my father", or something along these lines.
This was, at least for me, what I expected.
What he said, however, was not only the "unexpected", but was immediately ridiculed across the nation.
He spoke of how his father, basically, told him that he was worthless, a failure, and would never amount to anything, and his loss to Holmes was the fulfillment of that which he was brought up hearing. Gerry Cooney apologized for letting everyone down. He was a failure, according to his own language, rather than one who reached an amazing pinnacle in the sporting world and had accomplished more than most people even dream of.
Children believe what their parents tell them, which is what makes verbal abuse so insidious. Yet it is within this principle that we learn a great deal about language, emotional connection to words, development, and truth.
That Cooney, and other highly skilled, highly competitive athletes turn to substance abuse, is often indicative of something that is very important to them, internally:
that they destroy themselves.
Condemnation of a child comes:
a. During brain development
b. Comes from the one specifically trusted above all others
c. Has strong emotional connection to the words, in the processing center of the brain.
The condemnation is believed. This is seen in self-loathing where the behavior follows the belief. What we believe, we do. When a child believes he is worthless, he will either yield to it, and do things that are self destructive, or he will fight against it. It will not, nor ever be, a neutral issue in life.
There is something that must be understood at this point of Statement Analysis:
There is a 'comfort level' for the subject with the words, even when the words are harsh, brutal, abusive, cruel and who's purpose is to tear down.
The comfort level is this:
This is something that takes place in a level that is not technically "subconscious" but it certainly feels that way. There is a connection with certain words that go way back, and were given to the child with specific emotional connection, making the intellectual connection far stronger.
This is where Gerry Cooney reached into at one of the most critically important times in his life. This is likely what haunted him, and haunts him today, each time he faces the element of failure. Failure is common to all of us.
This 'comfort level' is due to familiarity because the words were engrained into the brain's internal dictionary with the added element of emotion (hormonal, too, like PTSD. See articles on PTSD for further information).
Adults spend their entire lives either embracing or fighting the words given to them during critical years.
Even sanitized, decades later, he said, "I grew up in a big Irish, Catholic family. My dad was a pretty rough guy. So one of my brothers left home when he was 15 and found his way to the gym. It gave me the opportunity to go and spend some time with him and work out in the gym."
How "rough" is "pretty rough" in his personal, internal, subjective dictionary? Rough enough for him to tell us that this was the cause of a 15 year old brother leaving home. "Rough" enough for the number one contender to the boxing world heavyweight championship to rush back to childhood at a critical point of his life.
Analytical Interviewing lives, breathes and succeeds on this very principle:
Getting to the words in which the subject's own brain; the subject's own internal, personal, subjective dictionary, has a level of comfort with, seeks to "enter into" (this is different than parroting) and get to the truth. In other words, you "decode" the language of the one who holds the information you need.
The implications of successful, legally sound, ethical, non-intrusive form of interviewing, are myriad.
The world's best are highly trained and intuitive in this very thing. The world's best include not only investigators, therapists, journalists, but another field where it is often the "magic" produces stunning results.