Adjusting Your Lens

Hi Persuader,

So now we have some framing basics. By no means can framing be summed up in three little articles, but in that, there’s a beginning foundation from which to build our persuasion arsenals.

Now that we have frames in mind, it’s time to examine our lenses. When you wear glasses, you don’t walk around with just the frames on, you have lenses that fit your particular prescription.

Some lenses are distorted. The frame an alcoholic or drug addict has is: how can I get more of what I’m addicted to? The lens they’re looking through is highly distorted and fraught with denial.

Are all of our specific issues lenses? If these issues are strong enough to warp and distort reality, then I’d say, yes. My whole life I was using a really strong lens when it came to food. I’d think about my next meal as I was eating. My blood sugar was so out of whack that I craved more and more sugar or simple carbohydrates after finishing and filling up on an entire meal. The lens I was looking through was overpoweringly focused on unhealthy foods and fear of scarcity. But by adjusting this view, things have changed dramatically.

On the opposite end of things, consider an anorexic who looks in the mirror and sees themselves as fat when they actually have little or no body fat whatsoever. Distortion.

Some social issues can also be thought of as lenses. I read about a summer camp in Northern California where the campers would go to the camp to ‘unlearn’ issues of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism. The presupposition of the facilitators of the camp was that if we grew up in the US, we’ve all been indoctrinated into a racist, sexist society, either subtly or overtly and the only way social change and equality can be achieved is to examine the lenses we’ve been looking through to view the world.

Now, whether or not you believe this, it’s a very strong frame and by ‘unlearning’ these ‘isms’, they believed the distortion of the lens is lessened.

What are some other distortions that prevent us from seeing the real picture? How about religious fanaticism? How scratched, cracked and myopic is a suicide bomber’s lens on the world? VERY. Their views go WAY beyond framing.

As I mentioned before, addicts have distortions, as do violent criminals, people with mental illnesses, the Klan/Aryan brotherhood. . .they’re extreme and often view the world literally in terms of ‘black and white’.

What are your extremes? Where do you find your lens distorted? One of the first steps in persuasion excellence is the ability to persuade yourself. I’m not suggesting that we eliminate everything about ourselves that make us who we are, not by any stretch, but I’m just looking to examine where we might have some blockages and/or weaknesses and/or blind spots in relation to ourselves and our outlook on the world. Remember, for all of our beliefs, there’s an equally strong opposing belief in someone else.

I’ll tell you a little secret. My lens is powerfully, intensely, vigorously focused on persuasion. Some might think to the extreme. Okay, maybe that’s not a secret. But it’s definitely my lens to the world and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

Need more? Look over our programs that can help focus your lens, or Call Kim about ways to turn up your persuasion power.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Jack Ford - December 3, 2007

Pure gold. This is incredibly useful on many levels.

Those of us who have some interest in politics, don’t have to look very hard for examples. Just listen to Barack, Hillary, Giuliani and the rest of the gang for some good (and not so good) examples of framing.

Then ask these 5 questions:

1) In order to say this, what would this person have to believe, and/or what they would want me to THINK they belive?
2) What are they presupposing here?
3) In order for me to accept this as true, what else would I have to accept as true?
4) Cui Bono? Who benefits here? ( or “follow the money, honey”)
5) What’s the big picture here?

Think “reading between the lines”

Thank you for this post.



This is critical: When examining a person’s frame, don’t prejudge– temporarily set your beliefs aside and see if you can *grasp* and *understand* theirs, so that you can influence them.

James - December 3, 2007

It’s interesting as I listen to 3-4 new prospects a day now. I enjoy listening to people and finding their distortions of the world, as I know this is where their objections will often come into play, if not brought up. As someone who works in Silicon Valley I deal with a lot of engineers who feel the need to do research before buying a product. As a former engineer I can relate to that, and I know that I have missed out on some great opportunities and a lot of money because of my demand for more research, information or proof that I am doing the right thing, in search of perfection. As our 26th President Theodore Rosevelt says “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Whilst it is easy enought to quote a great leader I find it more benificial to my clients and to myself to overcome this “I want to think about it” objection with a moving story. A simple story of regret a story that they can easily relate to and experience emotionally, before I ask ask if there are any other questions or are they ready to start filling out the paper work. I also find that stories are a great way to get myself back on track when I feel like I have let too many unuseful frames distort my reality.


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