Believe in the Power of Tom Asacker’s The Business of Belief
Tom Asacker’s The Business of Belief gives an in-depth look at the idea that absolutely nothing is more important than belief. Asacker is an educator, speaker, and author who argues that in order to succeed in business and leadership, we can’t think of our minds as “fleshy machines” that make decisions based on facts. Instead, we must focus on the feelings our brains create and how those feelings impact our decision making process.
Asacker offers up insights about how to use belief as a motivator for marketing, business, and leadership. When we are faced with evidence that contradicts the things we believe, our brains work hard to extinguish this information in order to relieve the psychological discomfort. Asacker adds that belief depends on the power to choose, and when we are forced into a certain decision, we resist.
In Asacker’s model, belief is followed by desire. Desire is what moves us from thinking to doing. Effective business leaders understand the beliefs and desires of their employees and customers. They’re able to make new paths seem familiar and help their brain picture the desired destination. The more familiar our actions are, the more willing we are to believe an outcome is beneficial to us. That opens us up to changing our habits, shifting our perspectives and trying new things.
It’s a powerful concept for marketers and business leaders. We asked a few Braithwaite staff members about their beliefs and how Asacker’s book influenced their ideas — here’s what they said.
“Obedience is not belief.”
“One idea I’ve seen in my work is that one’s belief in something is based on their power to choose it. In many instances, force is often answered with resistance. As humans, we generally don’t want others to make our decisions for us, so when given no options, we may not believe what we’re doing is in our best interests. We want to believe that we are making the right choice, that we are doing the right thing. When we cannot take credit, it takes away from the gratification we get when a choice works out in our favor. In marketing, I’ve found it’s important that we give customers the idea that what we’re selling or promoting is actually their choice—that they are choosing something rather than being told it is the right decision.”
“We picture desired outcomes.”
“Our brains use a ‘connect the dots’ approach to information being processed. I know from personal experience that when I’m put into unfamiliar situations, my brain uses this technique to predict a desired outcome. I seek out what I recognize and what’s familiar to me. When given new information, customers will automatically picture their desired outcome. It’s up to marketers to make that new thing seem familiar and guide people down a path to trying (or buying) it.”
“Believing is Feeling”
“Asacker uses the example of the flat Earth in his book when explaining his reasoning behind why feeling is so vital to believing. Today, I don’t think anyone would believe the Earth was flat (outside of Kyrie Irving). But hundreds of years ago it was the norm — explorers were deathly afraid of sailing past the horizon because they thought they would fall off the Earth. As absurd as it seems now, we would have believed it back then. I often think of that anecdote as I’m writing materials that reframe a perspective or challenge the status quo.”
This article was written by Alice Regan. It is part of our B On The Books series, in which Braithwaite staff explain their favorite ideas from the best business and marketing books. Read more in this series.