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Ron Robinson

Affirmations In Radio


Perhaps the most famous of affirmations is the one attributed to Emile Cou, a French psychologist and pharmacist, who became known for his affirmative approach to psychology. Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better became the mantra and the basis for other affirmations for a number of generations, including ours. The only downside is the evidence demonstrates they (affirmations) dont work!

A radio salesperson, performer, or member of a creative department might take on, as part of their job understanding, the responsibility to deliver affirmations to themselves and to their clients and/or their audiences. Sure somewhat, sorta reasonable at surface.

The following is a portion of a talk that I would usually give when wearing my H/R hat. But, because there is the inclusion of the dynamics of language an important element, as it turns out, in radio communications it might be interesting to, momentarily, tie the fields together. Radio also applies the strategy of multiple exposures of a given message to an audience in order to accomplish a desired reaction. Those who use personal affirmations, meanwhile, are attempting to influence themselves in much the same way as any broadcast communicator (performer or ad producer) would attempt to influence an audience.

The purpose of regularly uttering these affirmations has always been as a strategy to influence the unconscious to make significant changes and to reflect those changes out to consciousness, which, by way of generating new and/or different behaviors, improves the experience of the affirmer.

Too bad, then, that the unconscious is such a powerful element in our psyches so powerful that it refuses to be tricked by a series of white noises from just a puny, sometimes frustrated and contemptuous consciousness. A person can repeat any affirmation they want that is opposite to something that is absolutely missing in their experience. They can sing, chant, demand, cajole, or whine the affirmation out loud or as an internal vocalization.

Some people will get before a mirror and, with an Oscar-winning performance, insist the affirmation they are delivering is a truism in the ongoing process of being made manifest. The unconscious, hearing this drivel, responds with nary a yearning or a yawn as it has already determined that it (the unconscious) a.) Arranges and establishes subjective realities for the individual, and, b.) Rejects any pap from the outside   including the conscious that is not consistent with already-established, unconscious truths.

Most radio folks have already heard the admonition: If you tell em enough times, they will believe it. This is dangerous and extremely expensive nonsense. That is, unless the targeted individual is already in a position where the message is acceptable.

The minds of children are, of course, easy targets-of-opportunity and can be picked off without fear of recourse or complaint. Before the age of seven, most youngsters have already had their cultures, their religions, their beliefs about themselves and the world, their values, and many of the behaviors expected of them implanted and locked down. Changing any of these elements takes a combination of overwhelming evidence, emotional involvement and a willingness to entertain information that will (later) seem horribly counter intuitive. Another option is in skilled interventions and the application of very precise change-strategies not something to which everybody has access.

Until or unless very specific, intentional changes are made, we are all stuck with our beliefs, values, and behavioral propensities. Its important here to remind: The unconscious has no interest in evidential realities, only in perpetuating previously determined truths.

Good news for radio! Electronic signals tend to by-pass the logical, rational portions of our capacities to digest information to arrive at (assumed) reasoned and conscious decisions. Radio signals have a free pass to the unconscious. The gatekeeper is snoozing. The irony, as it applies to radio people, is that we communicate with our spots as if we were addressing the conscious portions of our audiences. Prices, products, benefits, and other features are presented. Too bad, especially when metaphors and emotionalism are the ingredients necessary to influence the unconscious elements at which radio can excel.

As the unconscious continues to hold Top Dog position in our psyches, any affirmation will continue to be met with either indifference or a pushback.

Affirmer: I am getting better and better at reaching my sales/communications goals.
Unconscious: Not a chance, babe. And further, youre a mess!

For anyone interested in determining what their own beliefs and values really are, the following question, when answered honestly and considered fully, will be as revealing as any other.

The question: What would I have to believe about myself and/or my environment in order for these (insert any undesirable personal behaviors) to be there? Very few people complete this little exercise and launch into their version of The Hokey Pokey. Readers can, however, be assured: Thats not what its all about. Valuable information and some revelations are available now.

Some who use affirmations can confirm their experience is one of spouting the affirmations and having disturbing, second thoughts (and feelings) that only confirm the experiences they want are the ones that are missing. We call this reinforcement. What we are actually doing is setting up an internal struggle what the Transactional Analysis-crowd of the 70s-80s used to call a game of Lets You And Him Fight! Using affirmations is like applying a wish list forcefully. Santa recognizes frauds and bullies.

Some sales trainers urge salespeople to do what you fear. For some, it boils down to just that if no other alternatives are available. Indeed, making useful changes is about making powerful, often discomfort-producing decisions and acting on them. It is about learning precise new skills and applying them. Most importantly, making changes begins with challenging already-held beliefs, values and proprietary behaviors. Insisting that what is not there is manifesting anyway while doing so with background emotions of doubt, fear, or desperation will only perpetuate the persons current states. Voo-Doo, Ju-Ju and Woo-Woo are not useful components. Affirmations are crude, rude, and subject to conscious and unconscious pushback.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian Radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting, as they relate to Talent and Creative, have yet to be addressed. Check out his website