When Suketu Mehta described Mumbai, he mentioned it as being all about transaction – dhandha. Sure, since Mumbai originated as a trading city, this culture of making quick money has become very unique to Mumbai. Because of how we naturally evolved as a people, that is why this city is fundamentally wired like this – the never-ending quest to make more wealth. This is the bigger context that has made Mumbaikars far more smarter than others in making money.
No wonder, this city also hosts some of the brightest minds in corporate marketing and advertising. With immense industry clout and persuasion powers, they have managed to rake in truckloads of money. But, shift your gaze from the corridors of corporate Mumbai and see what’s happening at street level, your perspective changes.
While the bigwigs have the power of money that can buy our attention, the other street-smart people are instinctively using a more fundamental understanding of the non-conscious human brain as their weapon in making money. Fundamentally, all of us exist at a conscious level, with our sub-conscious mind drowned out by the daily humdrum of everyday life. This sub-conscious mind shapes how we think, because like a large hard disk, it has stored every experience we have into long-term limbic memory. This influences everything that we do, but, rarely are we able to explain our actions.
It seems that these very street-smart people have developed the ability to speak to the non-conscious mind with techniques only a neuroscience genius can spot. They have identified patterns of sub-conscious behaviour, so subtle, that they are hardly noticed. This is commendable. They know the hustle, and they run it effortlessly.
For starters, by just observing daily life in Mumbai, one can uncover information into how our non-conscious brain influences thinking and behaviour.
Take the example of the waterproof watch seller. He successfully works on your non-conscious at a subliminal level. How is he attracting people? He could have sold them the way everyone other vendor peddles watches. But no, he chose to influence our buying decision by subtly changing the context. Continue reading The non-conscious mind of Mumbai