"Your brain and nervous system constitute a goal-strivingmechanism which operates automatically to achieve a certain goal."

— Maxwell Maltz, M.D.


Subconscious Movers

A best-seller since 1960, "Psycho-Cybernetics"is one of the first,and best self-help books. It is better than most because it is based on originalresearch. Dr. Maltz was a surgeon who did reconstructive surgery of the face.Noting the dramatic change in personality of those whose faces he changed, hestudied the reasons why.

He found that the mind works like an automatic pilot of an airplane. Just aslittle servo-mechanisms of an autopilot push the plane back on course, "subconsciousmovers" in the mind home us in on the course which our subconscious mindtells us will best serve our ends. This course is determined by manyinternalized, but not always conscious, goals.

The extent to which subconscious movers direct us without our knowledge isdramatically illustrated by the phenomenon of post-hypnotic suggestion. Give aperson a direction under hypnosis that some time later he will do something, andhe will do it. Asked why he did it, he will give some plausible-sounding reason,not realizing it came from his subconscious.

Subconscious movers are not a new discovery. Pascal knew it when he wrotehis well-known apothegm "The heart has its reasons which reason knowsnothing of." Pascal knew it, you know it, and we all know it.

We know it, but we don't act as though we know it when our interests areconcerned. We somehow believe it doesn't apply to us, a bit like WilliamSaroyan, who on his death bed said, "I know everybody dies, but I thoughtsomehow God would make an exception in my case."

There is a reason why we easily see the conflicting interests of others butfail to see them in ourselves. We judge others by their actions, whichstem from both conscious and subconscious movers. We judge ourselves by our thoughts,which reflect only conscious movers.

This is observable in every profession. Doctors see no problem with sendingpatients to labs they own. Lawyers today see no ethical conflict in promotinglitigation; the more professional lawyers of earlier days called it champertyand banned it. Accountants consult to continuing audit clients, blithelyoblivious to the subconscious movers which tell the consultant not to criticizethe audit client too harshly. And politicians! Where do we start? Corporations,PACs, and wealthy persons give lavishly to politicians for the simple purpose ofcorrupting their decisions.

Insurance brokers? No different. One of our largest, most professionalbrokerage firms charged a client $5,000 to do a captive feasibility study. Thethick study, mostly boilerplate, concluded that a captive insurer would improvethe client's program, and by the way, they [the broker] had a captive managementfirm in Bermuda that could run it. I reviewed the study and found they wereright. A captive insurer would improve their program, but a high retentionprogram would improve it even more. The client chose the high retention programand a new broker.

Do you fault the broker? Do you fault your dog if it chews up your slipper?It's the nature of the beast. The brokerage firm was capable and sincere, butsubconscious movers pushed it to the conclusion felt to be most favorable to itslong-term survival. A high retention program was just pushed out ofconsciousness by subconscious movers.

This subject is pertinent to the current practice of outsourcing. Much canbe contracted to a broker or others, but never management decisions such as:

Decide which risks should be insured.

Choose the type of risk finance program.

Select limits or retentions.

Choose vendors: medical, legal, investigative, financial, claims, andinsurance.

Make loss prevention decisions.

Determine when and how to subrogate.

Copyright © 1996 by David Warren
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