What does it mean to think for yourself?

What if I told you that most of your thoughts are not your own? That sounds crazy. Of course our thoughts are ours… or are they?

How much advertising are you unconsciously aware of? How much is just going on in the background, out of direct thought but nonetheless there, quietly planting seeds for later germination? Nobody likes to feel they are being sold to so the most effective advertising is subtle, it’s not really there to make you buy something right here and now. It’s smarter than that. The best advertisers market in such a way that you don’t realise that when you wake up one morning and decide you need a holiday in Tahiti that it was their idea all along.

But how did they ‘get to you’? That poster on the underground that advertised cheap flights to Tahiti that you didn’t really focus on because you were reading your Kindle? Ok, maybe you glanced at it once but no more than that…at least you think so. Those annoying ads that pop up after you searched for ‘Best beach holidays all year round’ a few months ago? Sure, but you just ignored them right? Of course, course. But here is the rub – these things are like water that constantly drips onto a rock. At first there is no noticeable change, but, after a prolonged period, a small hole starts to develop until eventually, the rock cracks in two. Looking at the giant rock, split in half, the last thing you think is that that a little drop of water could have had anything to do with splitting the rock. And you’d be wrong. Advertising is like that drop of water and, like the rock, none of us notice it, until it is too late. I say ‘too late’ because one of the most difficult things to reevaluate is an idea that you think you came up with yourself.

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