That noise inside my head

  • Why do [some] people struggling for an income end up using an expensive check cashing service when the bank right next door will let them have a checking account for free?
  • Why do [some] students spend an hour fighting about their homework instead of ten minutes just doing it?
  • Why do customers fall for slick come ons or fancy financing instead of buying what’s best for them?
  • Why is it so easy to fool voters with patently false accusations?
  • Why do some people turn a routine traffic stop into a life-endangering argument with the cop?
  • Why can’t worthy charities (with dreary stories) raise more money than they do?

I think in every case the answer is the same: Internal noise. [I got a few notes about check cashing services, by the way. In many cities, there are banks that have sensible policies for low income customers, and most jobs that use a payroll service like ADP offer direct deposit. The combination would save a large number of people a lot of time and money, and my point isn’t that there are enough financial services available to the less fortunate (there aren’t) but that if it weren’t for a fear of banks, plenty more people would take advantage of the services that are available. $5 a week for check cashing might account for 30% of someone’s disposal income, which is a sin.]

My friend Lisa was on a plane once and her seatmate kept looking at her. She finally said, "Is the noise inside my head bothering you?"

Just about everyone has noise inside their head. It’s a noise that keeps them from being rational, that forces them to avoid the simple truths sometimes, that makes them unable to take a shortcut when a long (more emotional one) is available.

Emotional intelligence
(EQ) gives us a way to talk about how people navigate the world. Far more important than IQ in most settings, emotional intelligence can be learned, but it rarely is. My take is that not only is it important for dealing with work and personal situations, it also makes you a better consumer of marketing.

If you as a marketer(/fundraiser/teacher/blogger/salesperson/parent) are assuming that all the citizens in your audience have genius level EQ, you’re almost certainly making a mistake and you’re paying for it every day.