Pundits, politicians, hustlers, unethical marketers, hucksters and grifters seek to manipulate people every day.
Manipulation is pushing for a change that benefits the manipulator, not us. It’s often based on misinformation. Mostly, the test for manipulation is: “if you knew what they know, would you be happy to do what they’re asking?”
It might be something as simple as tricking you into clicking, or as expensive as signing away your house. It might be the daily news cycle or the relentless push to make people feel inadequate or unsafe.
Some simple questions worth asking:
1. How does this announcement/offer/news/pressure make you feel?
2. Is there something about this news that touches a hot button issue or fear? Is the story being told designed to trigger you?
3. Are you surrounded by people who are also engaged with this news? Is it becoming a mob?
4. Is the presenter of the news using external pressure to push you into acting in ways that contradict your self-interest or self-esteem?
5. How would you feel if you discovered that the story you just heard wasn’t actually true?
By the time you’ve asked all five questions, it might be easier to resist what felt irresistible.