The answer you get depends on the questions you ask. It also depends on the conversations that precede the question. This conversation is anchoring the question and influencing the answer.
What do you mean by anchoring the question?
If you ask a group of people straight out if they are happy? They will say ‘yes‘, with the majority scoring this highly. The minds of the people you asked will link the question to the word happy, think of happy things and answer accordingly. They have been duly influenced. by that word, the mood that it conjures.
If, however, you engage in a conversation about their financial situation or engage in a short brief discussion about politics and then ask the question. Are you happy? You will see a sharp decline in the score and the positivity of the body language.
They have anchored the happy question to the initial conversation, which is a little more decisive and possibly more negative. By presenting the question in this context, you have shifted the answers. Changed the mood.
This is an excellent technique for salespeople who like to find an ‘in’ with you. Think about the car sales showroom and how friendly they are to you and your family. The salesman who passes complimentary comments and opens up a conversation about positive family things before he skillfully moves the conversation towards a potential sale.
Anchoring is used in many conversations, and it is the backbone of salesmen, politicians, magicians and tricksters alike.
It works, it is powerful, and it helps the world spin. However, it is good to know this because the answers you give may not reflect accurately when it comes to the questions you are asking yourself.
When it comes to your journaling, it is good to know what might be anchoring your thoughts.
This is why I go through some routines or have some other processes to support my journaling…
- I find writing in the morning is beneficial as your brain has made new connections overnight. I feel the morning is more optimistic, instructive and insightful to how I might be feeling at a deep level. It is more truthful.
- I will do some meditation in the morning before writing my journal. This helps me freshen my thoughts and reduce any of the anchoring that I might bring to the page.
- If I feel I start writing in a negative tone, I deal with this. I write it out as effectively as I can. Dump it all out to dispense with the negativity, and then I start a new page with a different trail of thinking. Look for the anchor that may have led you in that direction. This can be cathartic if you take the time to go deep.
- I have been exploring the anchoring impact recently as I would see patterns in my review of the week’s journals. Think about the conversation you have had before you write in your journal and understand that before writing. That understanding may prevent you from going down a rabbit hole of sorts.
- In the evening, empty out the day on a ‘twilight journal’ and leave it on the page for a later review. It is good to clear out the head for a night of restorative sleep.
A note here, you can not beat anchoring; it is the human mind. It is what makes us more than just apes. You can learn to manage it. Some people learn to master. Some engage with it for genuine or destructive reasons.
Whatever the reason for getting an understanding of anchoring, take the time to grasp it and maybe the next time, you can be honest with yourself more and…
Also, you see-through the salesman to save yourself a pocket full of cash.