Improve Your Persuasion Powers By Speaking Their Language


Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to pay attention today to the words people use to describe their experience. Find out what "representational system" they use the most. Once you learn how to do this, you can start talking to people in a way that will reach them, because you'll be using the representational system they favor. But for now, your mission is to simply identify the primary representational system of everyone you talk to today.

Now that I've given you the mission, I'm going to explain it. A "representational system" is one of three things: Visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. When you think or remember, you are representing reality in your mind. For example, you can remember what happened yesterday by seeing mental pictures. That would be using your visual representational system. Or you could remember by recalling what someone told you yesterday or the sounds you heard yesterday. That would be using your auditory representational system. Or you could remember how you felt yesterday. That's using your kinesthetic representational system.

This all sounds terribly complicated, but it's not. We have three primary ways to store and recall reality: Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Many of our memories or imaginings include all three representational systems, of course. In other words, you remember what you saw, what you heard, and what you felt.

But all of us tend to "favor" one representational system over the others, in the same way that you are right-handed or left-handed. You tend to use one representational system more than others. You tend to store your most important information in that representational system. You tend to respect and respond to information presented in that representational system more than you would if it was presented using a different representational system.

In other words, if you are a visually-oriented person, and I speak to you using visual terms, what I say will have more impact, will be more persuasive, will be more memorable to you than if I spoke to you using auditory terms.

Speaking in visual terms would be saying things like, "When you read the Quran, you will see things in a whole new light. You'll get the big picture." Speaking in auditory terms would be saying things like, "When you read the Quran, you are hearing the words of Mohammad the way Muslims around the world hear them. It may sound like what I'm saying does not make sense, but once you read the Quran, it will click for you." Speaking in kinesthetic terms would be saying things like, "When you read the Quran you'll grasp the overall negative, hostile feeling of Mohammad and Allah toward non-Muslims." Click here to find more examples of the kinds of words that indicate the three different representational systems.

But before attempting to speak someone's language, you must first know what it is. How can you know? By listening to the way people describe things when they talk. That's your assignment today. And ideally, you would keep it up every day until you can easily know what representational system people favor. Once you can do that, speaking someone's language is easy.

This exercise will increase your observational powers. And it will increase your ability to connect to people and influence them.

You can practice all day long. Anytime you are speaking with someone, pay attention to which words they use. Which sensory system are they talking about?

This is not as hard as you would think. If I told you to determine whether someone was right or left handed, you would be able to tell just by watching, don't you think? If you observed the person's behavior for awhile, you'd easily identify which hand they favor. You may have known the person for awhile and didn't know if they were right or left handed, but once you pay attention, once you're looking for it, you can find out just by paying attention.

You can do the same to discover the representational system they favor. It is only a matter of paying attention.

We need to reach people. We need to help them understand what we understand about the third jihad. We need to get past their barriers to listening. So we need to get really good at gaining rapport with people. One excellent way to improve our rapport and help people to listen to (and respect) what we say is to speak their language — to use the representational system they favor most when we speak.

Citizen Warrior is the author of the book, Getting Through: How to Talk to Non-Muslims About the Disturbing Nature of Islam and also writes for Inquiry Into Islam, History is Fascinating, and Foundation for Coexistence. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


When You Meet Resistance


Milton Erickson was an accomplished and well-respected psychiatrist who created innovative therapeutic techniques and was able to cure or significantly help many seriously mentally ill patients whose cases had stumped every other psychiatrist who had tried to help them before Erickson.

I once read something Erickson wrote that struck me as profound and important at the time, but it wasn't until many years later when I began trying to share what I was learning about Islam that what he wrote became personally relevant. He said in psychiatric literature, they talk a lot about "resistant patients." This is a common phenomenon in psychiatry: Patients often put up psychological barriers to change. Frequently, the mental illness causes intense suffering for the patient, yet patients will often resist change. From the point of view of the psychiatric literature, the resistance originates in the patient.

Erickson's point of view was entirely different. And I believe his different point of view led to his many innovations in the field and allowed him to successfully treat patients who were unreachable by other competent psychiatrists:

Erickson considered a resistant patient to be an indication of his own lack of skill. 

In other words, if he was skilled enough at dealing with a particular human psyche, there would be no resistance. If his rapport with the patient was strong enough, there would be no resistance. If he had the right approach, there would be no resistance. And in fact, many times Erickson was able to help "resistant" subjects nobody else could help because he would use their resistance. He would say things like, "I don't want you to change too quickly" and they would resist him by changing immediately.

I often think about this when I run into someone who "just won't listen." My first instinctive response is, "This person is too self-righteous and stubborn to listen." But then I remember Erickson's perspective, and I think maybe I'm just not skilled enough yet. And I wonder, "What might get through to this person?"

We've got a real problem here. If national policies are going to change, a significant percentage of non-Muslims will need to be acquainted with the basic gist of Islamic doctrine. And for this to happen, it is up to us. The media will not do it for us. Politicians won't do it. School teachers aren't going to do it. If it's going to happen, it will be we few who do it — those of us who are now acquainted with Islamic doctrine.

And of course, you've already discovered that a significant proportion of the general population resists learning about Islam. One way to interpret this is, "They are idiots. They won't listen to the facts." Another way to interpret it is, "I must not be skilled enough yet. I wonder what kind of approach might get through to this person? I wonder what new skill I could learn that would make it possible?"

I propose to you that we will accomplish our goal much faster with the second interpretation than we will with the first. And on this topic, speed is important. To see a good example of this approach in action, watch Freedom Writers, get inspired, and then get to work improving your abilities and coming up with new ways to approach the task. And as you discover ways that work, share them with us here: Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims.

P.S. For efficiency's sake, it is important to focus first on the undecided.

Citizen Warrior is the author of the book, Getting Through: How to Talk to Non-Muslims About the Disturbing Nature of Islam and also writes for Inquiry Into Islam, History is Fascinating, and Foundation for Coexistence. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Why Aren't All Muslims Violent?


If it's true that devout believers in Islamic doctrine would kill all non-believers, why aren't there more deaths? Someone asked us this question, and the answer is very interesting.

First of all, many Muslims are really not practicing or devout Muslims, just like in any other religion. They don't even know the doctrine of their own religion. They were simply born a Muslim and so that's what they call themselves.

There are also those who know what the doctrine says but they don't want to do some of it, so they ignore certain teachings even though it says in the doctrine you must not ignore any of its directives.

But for the true believers, the orthodox Muslims (and according to Islamic doctrine) the goal is not indiscriminate murder. Killing is one tool allowed to be used to accomplish the goal, which is to establish the law of Allah everywhere on earth. The goal is not even to make everyone Muslim, but to make sure everyone is under the rule of Islamic law. It can be done in many ways, and it is being done in many ways all over the world.

In the U.S., for example, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is, by the way, the largest international Islamic organization in the world, has created many organizations that work to establish Islamic law incrementally. They've got their members into high places in the government, they have teams of lawyers who sue people or put pressure on companies when one of their employees is critical of Islam (one of the laws of Islam is that nobody can criticize Islam), they have organizations that influence what is printed in our public school systems about Islam, they've got organizations that pressure Hollywood to depict Muslims in a positive light, and on and on.

They don't advocate violence, but not for moral reasons. They advocate these nonviolent methods for strategic reasons. They feel that violence doesn't help the cause yet. But they take full advantage of violent episodes by other Muslims, having press conferences about fears of "backlash" and blaming free speech for the atrocities. 

The Muslim Brotherhood plan was first uncovered in an FBI raid. They have created what is called the “Civilization-Jihadist Process” – a term taken from a key 1991 Brotherhood document, "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," submitted as evidence by the Justice Department in the landmark 2008 U.S. versus Holy Land Foundation, a HAMAS terror funding trial. Here's what the document says:

“The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers, so that is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

By its nature, the object of such a stealthy form of jihad is to ensure that the target community remains unaware of the extent of the threat until it is too late.

Another group working nonviolently toward Islam's prime directive is the OIC (the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — the “collective voice of the Muslim world” and second largest intergovernmental organization in the world after the United Nations, and the largest voting block in the UN). Their goal is to establish a limit on free speech worldwide. It is one small step in the direction of Islamic law.

OIC General Secretary Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu admitted in a speech in June of 2008 that the OIC is working to criminalize speech that offends Muslims, noting their success is causing the West to deter "freedom of expression." Ihsanoglu said, "In confronting the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film Fitna, we sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed."

For strategic long-game reasons, then, not even all orthodox Muslims are violent.

Citizen Warrior is the author of the book, Getting Through: How to Talk to Non-Muslims About the Disturbing Nature of Islam and also writes for Inquiry Into Islam, History is Fascinating, and Foundation for Coexistence. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Does it Really Matter What the Doctrine Says?


Did you know it is a Mormon practice to fast once a month for 24 hours? Not all Mormons practice it, but the practice is recommended in the Mormon doctrine.

Did you know it is a Muslim practice for husbands to hit their wives if they disobey? Not all Muslims practice it, but the practice is recommended in Islamic doctrine.

What is different about those two statements? The first and most obvious difference is that the content of the doctrine is different. The actual teaching is different.

To many people, the statement about the Muslim practice seems like a criticism. But in the Muslim world, hitting a disobedient wife is not considered a bad thing to do. It is recommended in the Koran, so a devout Muslim may not want non-Muslims to know about the practice, but among themselves, if they truly believe the doctrine, it is not negative at all. In the Middle East, they have talk shows discussing the ins and outs of this practice. Where on her body should you hit your wife? Under what circumstances is it permitted?

So in mixed company (Muslims and non-Muslims in the same room talking to each other), it may be an insulting thing for a non-Muslim to say, but to a Muslim in his own mind, it is not insulting any more than the statements about the Mormon practice is to a Mormon.

Some people may disagree with the Mormon practice of fasting. Maybe they think it's unhealthy or too difficult. But it is just fine to say this is part of their religion, whether you like the practice or not. The same is true for wife beating in Islam or the obligation of jihad. This is part of their religion. When you get resistance from people, make this point. This will not only clarify that it is okay to talk about religious beliefs, no matter which religion it is, you will simultaneously make a second very important point: Different religions have different beliefs and practices. Not all religions are the same. And those different practices have real consequences in the world. The rules don't only apply to spiritual, non-physical practices.

Use this example in your conversations. These discussions need to be happening with our friends and family — as gently and kindly as possible, but also as effectively as possible.

Citizen Warrior is the author of the book, Getting Through: How to Talk to Non-Muslims About the Disturbing Nature of Islam and also writes for Inquiry Into Islam, History is Fascinating, and Foundation for Coexistence. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


How to Resist Islamic Encroachment and Still Be Happy


In a scene from the movie, Armageddon, a young couple is on a picnic, just being with each other and feeling in love, but with a tinge of sadness. He has to leave the next day, and there's a chance he won't survive the mission. It's getting dark. This may be their last moments alone together. And if the mission doesn't succeed, the entire human species will be extinguished.

She said, "Do you think there are others in the world doing just what we're doing right now?"

He said, "I hope so; otherwise, what are we trying to save?"

In the counterjihad movement, we know what we're trying to save, don't we? We're trying to save the Western world, freedom and human rights. Why? Because our political systems are the best ones ever invented to allow people to pursue happiness. It is worth protecting. It's worth defending. But do we have to be miserable to do it?

Each of us discovered Islam's prime directive, and each of us felt motivated to help others learn about the basic elements of Islam, and most of us ran face-first into a wall of anger and resistance and argument and judgment and self-righteousness, and our desire to simply help educate our fellow non-Muslims has become a stressful, eternally-upsetting, arduous chore.

Many drop out of the counterjihad movement because of the stress. They've lost friends. They've alienated relatives. Their life has become no fun. They've lost their happiness.

So they drop out. They burn out. They stop talking about it. The whole exercise seems futile, upsetting, and unbearably frustrating. They think to themselves, "It is going to take a nuclear weapon going off in downtown Chicago before these idiots wake up?" And they give up the fight and leave it to fate.

We can't afford to lose these people. We need to not only educate our fellow non-Muslims, but we need to keep the educated ones in the fight with us. We need to prevent the burnout. That means we need to make sure fighting the good fight doesn't make us so miserable.

Another good reason to focus some attention on this issue is that (as every sales organization has discovered) people who are unhappy are lousy at influencing others. Most people are repelled and repulsed by unhappy, angry, frustrated, depressed people. Nobody wants to listen to someone like that. People don't want to be influenced by someone like that. People don't want to become like that.

So how can we remain in the counterjihad and still be happy? As silly as it may sound, this is an important question.

We have one thing working in our favor already: Having a meaningful purpose contributes greatly to a feeling of happiness and fulfillment. And if there is one thing we all share in the counterjihad movement, it is a meaningful feeling of purpose. This is often ruined, however, by living in a permanent state of upset, anger, and frustration.

How can we keep the positive feeling of a fulfilling purposefulness while reducing the negative, stressful emotions? If we can solve that problem, fewer of us would drop out of the fight, and our effectiveness would increase.

I don't think there is a single answer to this question. But we have many things we can do to reduce the stressfulness of our purpose and allow us to feel happier while still being a dedicated citizen warrior. For example:

1. Collect and associate with allies. Stay in communication with others in the counterjihad movement. This lowers the stressful feeling of being an isolated outcast. Find like-minded people on Facebook. Join ACT! for America and attend their meetings. Join Infidels United and check in every day. Knowing you have people on your side, knowing you're not alone, reduces stress.

2. Improve your effectiveness. Add new skills to your persuasion repertoire. Add new approaches. Success is uplifting. Failure is frustrating and demoralizing. So the better you get at reaching people — the better you get at making your message penetrate and have an impact — the less stressful the process is.

3. Use a stress-reduction technique. There are many different ways to directly reduce stress (see a good list of them here). Find one that works for you and do it when you feel too stressed out. It can make a huge difference in your feeling of well-being and happiness. It's healthy too.

4. Connect with people you love. Connecting produces oxytocin, an anti-stress hormone researchers believe is the antidote or counterbalance to stress hormones. One hormone (adrenaline) is for revving up your system to deal with threats; the other hormone (oxytocin) is for calming you down and rejuvenating and healing. Make sure these stay in balance.

5. Avoid talking about or reading about Islam an hour before bedtime. This habit has helped me a lot. It makes my sleep more restful. Try it and see if it works the same for you.

6. Use a mental checklist like cognitive distortions occasionally to clear your mind. It can greatly reduce your feelings of stress and reveal ways to think differently that can prevent stress in the future.

7. Don't try to do everything. Focus on the one aspect of the purpose that interests you most and that you are most motivated to do. Relax by reminding yourself that there are many of us with you in this fight, and we each have our own specialties and inclinations, and trust that all of it will be done. You can focus on the one thing you're most compelled to do and let the rest go. Let others do what they do, and you do what you do.

8. Don't watch much mainstream news. Don't overdo it on the news, period. Especially watching news; it is stressful and can be demoralizing. When mainstream news talks about Islam, the amount of distortion can be downright maddening. Take it in small doses.

9. Do less of the actual persuasion yourself and let DVDs, books, and articles do some of the work for you. Many people will automatically discount what you say about Islam, no matter how much you know, because they don't consider you an authority. This can be frustrating and stressful. But when they watch DVDs showing interviewed experts, they might be more inclined to accept the information. Not only that, but a 90-minute DVD can deliver a lot of information, saving you time and trouble. Focus on persuading people to watch a DVD rather than focusing on persuading them to listen to you about Islam. It's a more efficient use of your time. Learn more about sharing DVDs and articles.

10. Do your best to see things from the other side's point of view. We often get into a right-wrong, us-versus-them, all-or-nothing position, and part of the reason this is stressful is that the world is not as black-and-white as this oppositional stance tries to make it. The other side of this worldwide debate has some legitimate points, and it eases a lot of stress (and makes your arguments more persuasive) to understand those legitimate points and to graciously concede them.

11. Be committed to perpetual learning. Every time something stresses you out, take the time to improve yourself. What can you do differently next time that will make it less stressful? The process of learning and growing itself can give you a lift and reduce stress.

That's our list so far. Please add your own ideas in the comments, or email them to me and I'll post them here for you. Let's help each other fight the good fight and be happy too.

Citizen Warrior is the author of the book, Getting Through: How to Talk to Non-Muslims About the Disturbing Nature of Islam and also writes for Inquiry Into Islam, History is Fascinating, and Foundation for Coexistence. Subscribe to Citizen Warrior updates here. You can send an email to CW here.


Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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