The Chicken Nuggets Theory of Human Behavior

Two weeks ago, I was in Delray Beach, Florida, attending the AWAI copywriting bootcamp. On Thursday evening, at the conclusion of the Job Fair, I took a chair in the lobby to make a few notes. While making my first note, a young man named Lou came up to me, introduced himself, and started talking about how much he admires my copywriting and the way I market my “combat conditioning” program. Naturally, this gave me a good feeling.

About 20 minutes later, the conversation turned to physical fitness . . . then to fighting — and next thing you know, I was in the back corridor showing him exercises and variations of brutal submission holds that are a bit different from what the “mainstream” martial artists are doing.

What I liked about Lou was how he soaked up everything I taught him like a sponge, even though he has been taught the exact opposite of what I showed him. He didn’t condemn, question, or attack what I showed. Instead of rejecting what I was teaching (because it didn’t jibe with what he had learned from someone else), he kept an open mind.

Later on that night, I had a conversation with Lou in which I gave him what I call my “Chicken Nuggets Theory of Human Behavior.”

I came up with the “Chicken Nuggets” theory a couple of years ago when my son Frank, who was then two years old, gravitated toward them as a road trip snack.

One day, whilst on the road for a few hundred miles, Frank got hungry and asked for Chicken Nuggets. Only trouble was . . . there was no Wendy’s anywhere in sight. With each passing minute, the little guy got hungrier and hungrier — and more demanding. So I looked for an “alternative” to Wendy’s. Of course, there was McDonald’s, and they have Chicken McNuggets (Wendy’s goes by almost the same name — minus the “Mc”), but Frank wanted no part of the golden arches. So I kept on looking.

A few minutes later, I spotted a Chick-Fil-A. Figuring “this’ll do,” I pulled up to the drive-thru window and ordered a box of the closest thing to Chicken Nuggets they have.

When I handed the food to Frank, I figured he’d be fine. But . . . when he opened the box and took a look, he cried, “These NOT Chicken Nuggets. I want Chicken Nuggets. These NOOOO good.”

“You haven’t even tried them yet,” I said. “Just give them a try. They’re actually a lot better for you than Chicken Nuggets.”

No matter what I said, my two-year-old son would not budge.

And that’s when I formed my “Chicken Nuggets Theory of Human Behavior.”

Here’s how it works: “Child learns something from parent, teacher, or some other authority figure. Child believes what he learns is true. Child then closes his mind to learning anything else on the subject. Child rejects any attempt by anyone to teach something that runs counter to what was originally taught. If attempts are made to teach anything NEW to Child . . . even if Child is now 45 years old . . . not only does Child reject idea — but he gets angry.”

Now, you may think this is an extreme example of the point I’m trying to make — and it is. But it is an accurate reflection of how most of society goes through life. As my buddy Mark Twain so ably put it, “Once a human being acquires a superstition . . . nothing short of death will remove it from him.”

The moral of this story is two-fold: One, be very careful what you teach your child first on anything. And two, do your damndest to teach your child to have an open mind.

Much of what I teach in my books and courses runs contrary to what you may have learned in the past. That I know. But my books and courses are international best-sellers because they resonate with that part of you that says, “OK, before I pass judgment, let me check it out and see for myself. Maybe there’s something to it.”

Today, Frank is almost 4.5 years old . . . and the good news is that he’s moved beyond the Chicken Nuggets “only” stage. Thank Goodness!

Well, my friend, that’s all for now.

Kick ass! Take names!