Tuesday, March 27, 2007

10 Ways to Build a Cult-Like Following

By JK Ellis
Author of Mind Control 101

Recently I was contacted by a very successful Internet marketer who asked me what I would suggest to someone who wanted to create a cult-like following.

This is right down my ally so I gave him some very good advice that he couldn't wait to put into action but the question got me thinking. What steps are there for anyone who wants people to want his/her attention and wisdom?

The result are 10 ways to build a cult-like following. Of course each one of them could be a book in itself but here goes.

1. Initiation vs. Instruction

There is a marked difference between learning by instruction and learning by initiation.

Most people give instruction. This is nothing more than stating facts and teach processes. Any good teacher does that as well as most bad ones.

Learning by initiation is about creating an experience that makes the learning personal and visceral to the student. A good example of that is the 1984 movie “The Karate Kid” . On the one hand you have the macho western karate instructor who taught his students by instruction in a skill 'n' drill process. On the other hand you have the character played by Pat Marito who says that he will teach Ralph Macchios' character karate in exchange for doing chores. But the chores must be done in a certain way “This way wax on. This way wax off.” Only later does the young hero find out that there was a method to his instructors madness and when he figured it out it made complete sense to him as if struck by a lightening bolt.

There are many things that you could simply tell someone and they would intellectually understand but they wouldn't “get it” as an insight. They would only see it as information. The result is that they may use it or they may not.

Teaching by initiation means holding back on simply telling what the student wants to know and instead provide an experience where the student “gets it” on their own.

The subjective experience of the student is that the lesson is much more valuable because 1) they had to work for it and 2) it is felt more personally.

2. Being Accessible

Someone once told me that “There are no long lines for the guru at the bottom of the hill.”
Making yourself scarce adds perceived value but it also distances you from the masses. If you want a cult-like following you need access to the masses otherwise you're just an ivory tower wannabe.

There is an ingenious compromise.

Be accessible as a person but present your knowledge and wisdom as being rare, expensive, mysterious, and only for those who are truly ready for it.

This compromise allows you to build deep personal bonds with people yet have them want more or your presence... as well as be willing to pay for it.

Keep in mind that one cult leader, 2000 years ago, would speak to anyone who would listen but he granted his most sacred attention to his 12 closest disciples.

You can add to this compromise by having “special times” when you are not accessible to anyone. You can tell people that you are meditating, or doing your “spiritual practice” but you don't have to say anything. It's the mystery of why you are absent that you want to cultivate.

3. Imply Secret Knowledge

The role of simply remaining calm and silent will recur again in this essay so I can't understate it. Here is where silence is worth a 1000 words. Saying things like “Hmmm... There are 100 possible solutions to that within your own mind.” and nothing else implies things that you know and that they should know.


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