The Ten Insights

1. Nothing is happening now that has not happened before.
(The causes of our present crises can be discerned and can be fought by examining past patterns.)

2. People don’t do what they should, they do what they do.
(Find the constants in human behavior and plan accordingly.)

3. Human thought is imprinted at an early age.
(Try to incorporate your frames into existing modes of thought.)

4. The liberal/conservative balance is almost universal in human societies, which indicates an evolutionary advantage.
(Work with evolutionary biology rather than trying to ignore it.)

5. Human brains have evolved cognitive effects to protect us.
(These will often backfire and make us vulnerable to manipulation and distorted thinking instead.)

6. Most thought is subconscious.
(Many people don’t understand their own minds and can be manipulated by those who do.)

7. Humans are social creatures and can be heavily influenced by appeals to social consensus.
(But you have to understand what makes your approval important to them.)

8. When you come straight at people with how their beliefs are wrong, you actually strengthen those beliefs as their brains throw up barriers to letting you in.
(Moral persuasion is a more effective approach.)

9. Many people are risk-averse and change-averse because they fear loss.
(If you want to take something from them, have something ready to take its place.)

10. You’re either working with human psychology or it’s working against you.

Some of these insights come from studying the work of George Lakoff, Drew Westen, and Anat Shenker-Osorio.