What Is Applied Psychology? [this one is important]

When people ask me how mentalism works (Are you psychic? Are you for real? Is this is a gift you were born with? Is this a skill anyone can learn?) I like to tell them:

It’s a unique recipe of applied psychology, showmanship, and moxie.

~Jonathan Pritchard

Now, I’m not going to breakdown everything there; I want to take an initial pass at the first part. Applied psychology.

To do that, I like to think back to WWII.

On March 10, 1942 (3 months after America entered the war), the “Applied Physics Laboratory” was founded and tasked with protecting ships at sea. It was in partnership with the U.S. government and John Hopkins University.

Interesting side-piece of personal history: the first project of the laboratory was a radar-enabled proximity fuze that would detonate when it got within a certain range of a positive radar ping. That means it knew that 1) something was in front of it 2) how close it was 3) and how close it needed to be in order to detonate. It worked so well in the Pacific / ocean theater that it was then implemented in the European / ground front. My grandpa was an artilleryman under General Patton, and he used those radar fuzes in shells. He kept that secret for decades until he told me about his experience in the war in the 90’s. “It must be out by now, I can tell you, even though I was sworn to secrecy” he told me.

Now, back to the idea.

We’ve had “physics” since proto-man picked up rocks and threw them at rabbits for dinner. The ancient Greeks contemplated the inner workings of reality. Newton reasoned about the laws of cause and effect. Early Alchemists explored the nature of metals and purifying elements.

But, understanding something only gets you so far.

Everything changes when you ask, “Now, what can we do with this?”

When we started asking that question in WWII we unlocked the atom.

Regardless of whether you think that was a good or bad thing for humanity, you can’t deny that it gave us access to unprecedented power to affect the trajectory of all human civilization.

My belief? This is the same power that rests behind applied psychology.

Psychology is the understanding of how the mind works. What physiological mechanisms are at play? What happens with stimulus and response? What is classical conditioning?

All that kind of “how does it work” stuff.

Now. Ask yourself, “What can we do with this understanding?” and you just unlocked the mental atom, so to speak.

If you understand how & why people think the way they do, then you could improve any and all situations where a human being is involved.

And I mean all.

Anywhere the human mind factors into a dynamic, applying your understanding of psychology can lead to greater success.

If you’re a lawyer you can represent your client more successfully. You can communicate more clearly to the jury why your client is innocent. Or, if you’re a prosecutor, why that man is guilty!

Applied psychology is literally a matter of life or death.

And it also applies to other high-stake situations.

Billion dollar businesses doing sales. Or negotiations. Or founders pitching investors for startup capital.

Or a small business owner with a dream who needs to convince the bank representative that they are a solid investment for a bank loan.

This is the root of how I can have such a big impact across vastly different businesses, verticals, or dynamics; it’s all because I’m working with the root element: the human mind.

When you’re leveraging psychology on a one-on-one basis we call it coaching. When we are working with a group of people we call it a workshop. When you’re introducing ideas at scale we call it public speaking. When we use it to amaze people on stage we call it mentalism.

If you want better advertising, I’m a marketing expert. When you want better sales, I’m a sales consultant. When you want a more effective website, I’m a conversion rate optimization specialist. When you need to explain what you do to prospective clients more persuasively, I’m a branding and marketing consultant. Want to leverage human curiosity to drastically multiply your return on investment, then I’m a trade show marketing expert.

But it’s all the same thing.

Apply what you know about the human mind to accomplish a specific goal or outcome.

This is what magicians have been doing for tens of thousands of years.

I just happen to be one of the few in the world who understands the value of the secrets we’ve been keeping for so long (and willing to explain it to the world).

That’s it for this one. It’s a topic that’s been rattling around in my head for awhile, and I wanted to get it out into the world. I might even do a video on it, but I figured you should get a sneak peek at it, first.

Let me know what you think. I read every reply!

Best thoughts,
~Jonathan “what’s the big idea” Pritchard

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