How I used to brainwash people and why I quit

Frederick Dodson

Frederick Dodson

From 1994-2001 I worked for a company that offered business training, language courses, NLP, etc.

Almost every week I did a seminar/course/training with a new group of people. Group sizes were usually between 3 and 15 people. Most of them were middle management, some CEOs and every now and then, an A-List celebrity.

I coached on every topic the company threw at me, even though I had no education in any of those topics.
I had to educate myself and learn through experience (school/university is a massive waste of time – doing a thing is the best teacher).

My work time was 9 am to 7 pm, Monday-to-Saturday for 7 years straight.

On Saturday I said goodbye to one group in hugs and tears only to meet a whole new group on Monday morning. After a couple of years of this, the students, being new to it all, had tears, but I no longer did.

It was so strange. I had been through so much with the last group and still hadn’t processed the experience, only to start a whole new group a short time later. During this time I got to know thousands of people – every type of person you can imagine. Here is where my ideas about “consciousness levels” began to take shape.

They were difficult times, but pressure makes a diamond. I was a coaching-machine, churning out one group after the other. The company kept making bizarre promises about the courses that were impossible to keep. I used all my resources to try to uphold the fake promises.

I became a master of make-believe. In the process I learned how easily people are manipulated. Way too easy. Way too naive. I was manipulating them to their benefit – but it was still manipulation.

For example, the company promised “suggestopedia” to “master” a new language in six days. No matter how creative you are as a teacher, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll “master” a language in that amount of time.

But at the end of these seminars, people filled out a form and gave full-star ratings from everyone. “Do you feel you’ve mastered the language?” “Why yes, of course!”.

Did I get people to believe things that weren’t true? Yes.

They got an excellent start in my courses – probably better than at most mainstream schools. But after the starry-eyed brainwashing wore off they’d probably realize that 6 days is too short of a time to learn the skill they had come for.

I’m good at spotting manipulators, because I was myself one. It takes one to know one.

In my early coaching days I would “make things true” on behalf of the student so that they were able to experience a thing. But outside of my influence-field they no longer had the same abilities. This is how I learned to reduce my own will/energy in a seminar and instead request EXERCISE from students. The student should be more active than the coach.

In 2001 I had a change of heart.

I was tired of pretending, exaggerating and hyping everything up. Tired of spending time with gullible people.

I yearned for a more authentic life. I left the company.

For a few years I became fairly poor. I wasn’t making the big money anymore, but at least I no longer had to live up to fraudulent marketing.

If you wondered why I don’t like marketing and make no promises for my seminars, now you know.

It took 3 years of self-employment before I began making more than I had made with the company. The lesson here was that BEING AUTHENTIC sometimes leads to short-term pain but always long-term gain. Not being authentic = long term pain.

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