A Word is Worth 1,000 Pictures

#themindseye #images #pictures #sales

by Adam Kulidjian, 6 minute read

Uber or Walk

Something interesting happened last night. It was approaching 12:30am, and a few hours of house-warming chats had slowed down to a natural break. With empty beer cans sprawled across various spots around the brand new apartment, the three of us decided to call it a night. William, sunken into the leather couch facing the open concept room, pulled out his phone. “I’m gonna call an Uber”, he said.

To this I suggested, “Why don’t you just walk it? You’re on our street.”

But in sudden reflex Callum, my roommate standing a few feet away, chimed in: “Nah, get a ride. Our apartments are 350 units away.”

Life of a Salesman

Callum is a salesman. Quick to his feet when his phone rings with work emergency; he’s a problem solver who applies tactics tactfully. A charismatic guy, and among his several skills is the ability to persuade with his words.

Let’s assume that Callum’s response originated from an emotional response that he put into words: a car ride is gonna be easier and warmer than a cold walk through the streets of downtown Toronto in early March. And my question now is very simple. What if his brain automatically composed a reason to explain the emotional decision and verbalized it afterwards?

When he said 350 units, it felt like he was selling this idea to me, using words and body language to communicate an idea into my mind. This is something we all do by virtue of language, but if we narrow our band of focus to look only at sales folk, surely we would find the “I’m good at convincing people” factor go up.

Pictures in our Head

I’m a visual person. Pictures come naturally to me and I tend to think in images.

And so even if it wasn’t my roommate’s intention to trigger any pictures into my head, he did. The image of “350” plopped into my visual field. And since our brain is a neural network of connections, one idea can trigger another, and another, and another. Only a few moments later, as I was looking up and into the top-left window of my mind’s eye, I’m pretty sure I noticed a long line of dots, one after the other in close proximity.

And as the image faded into the ether, as mental pictures do, my mind naturally went elsewhere. After Will said what he was going to call the Uber, my own emotions kicked in. “It’s healthier to walk than to take an Uber”. I pulled out my phone and I punched in our address and Will’s address into maps. On the map appeared a short line joining the two apartments, with a 15 minute tag indicating the walking time.

Closing Note

It’s a mystery to me what these pictures in the mind mean. Do our mental pictures dictate our moods and emotions? Or are moods and emotions the things that dictate the images that we see?

Are mental pictures creating our thoughts? Or do thoughts create our mental pictures?

In the spirit of the neural network idea, perhaps the two are intertwined in a dynamic relationship. One influences the other and vice versa. Maybe when I saw the line of dots, that triggered a subliminal image, triggering some mental sounds in the mind’s ear, triggering another subliminal image…and it continued.