The Rider and the Elephant
1 min read

LinkedIn July 2020

How many of you consider themselves good at persuasion?

In his book “The happiness hypothesis”, Jonathan HAIDT used the metaphor of the rider and the elephant to represent the 2 parts of our brain:

**The Rider represents 1% of our mind, our reasoning.

It’s rational, slow, and analytical. It’s impotent but acts like he’s in charge.

**The Elephant represents 99% of our mind and runs most of our behavior.

It’s intuitive, emotional, fast, and automatic.

Most of us spend a lot of time trying to persuade other people’s riders. When in fact, the way to persuade people is to talk to their elephant. The elephant is much stronger than the rider.

If the elephant feels the truth behind what you’re saying and wants to walk your way, then it’s effortless to persuade the rider. But if you fail to convince the elephant, then there’s nothing you can do to persuade the rider.

Most of us are not rational, we make a decision in a second, based on our intuition, then we use our reasoning to justify our decision.