Don’t Fear Placebos

In his podcast, Akimbo, Seth Godin teaches us how to adopt a posture of possibility, change the culture, and choose to make a difference. Here are my takeaways from the episode.

  • The nocebo effect can set in when part of our brain reacts to things instinctively without really understanding it.
  • Our brain can be taught that, when a placebo worked, it can work just as well or better the next time.
  • We can work on having the rational part of our brain send positive signals to the rest of brain, so placebos can kick in. It is up to us.
  • Our brain does not speak English, but it understands emotions. It also reacts to the effects of nocebo or placebos. Our brain can will us to do things we did not think it was possible.
  • If placebos can be powerful without side-effects, we should do it on purpose.
  • We should not be timid about trafficking placebos provided we do it without ill intents or taking advantage of others.
  • We, as receivers of placebos, should seek them out. As creators of change, we should consider creating placebos on purpose.
  • Four ways to bring the placebo effects to those who can use them: 1) comparison, 2) affiliation, 3) ritual and 4) fear.
  • We can use placebos as opportunities to help people around us. Doing it in a way that is ethical and without short-cuts.
  • After we have done our best work and tested it… After we helped our clients believe that they can reach the goal with the four approaches… There is nothing wrong with wrapping the solution up with placebos to reinforce the positive feelings our clients want to feel about themselves.