As survival-driven human beings, we are driven towards creating one sensation more than any other in this life: Certainty.

Evolutionary Psychology 101 says: it’s our job to create as much certainty around ourselves in order to aide and prolong our survival as a living being.

We want to be certain that we can handle any situation that comes our way both now and in the future, certain that we can take care of the people that matter most to us when the time is needed and certain that ultimately our survival won’t be threatened in any way that we can’t nullify when required.

And at the end of the day – even though it may not seem like it in the most mundane and predictable moment-to-moment of our lives – that’s the name of the game: Certainty. Through its most black and white, bare-bones perspective, life is nothing more than a never-ending aspiration to survive until the day we no longer do.

Apologies to the optimists amongst us as that above paragraph may seem a little pessimistic in nature, but if you’d be so kind to upgrade it in your mind to a ‘realist’ view just for the next 10 minutes you’ll discover something rather intriguing about what we are truly selling in the running of our businesses.

You see, this idea of ‘certainty’ comes with it built in an extremely interesting paradox – one which is undeniable for the modern business owner, yet once appreciated will assist to offer the true clarity of what we’re really here to do for the buyers within our desired markets.

The paradox – as it plays out in the modern business landscape – is that every buying decision we make is designed to give us more of a sense of the certainty we crave as survival-driven beings, yet this certainty itself is never actually attainable.

It just so happens that this world was created in a way that doesn’t offer anything close to resembling ‘absolute certainty’. Nothing is for sure in this world and anything that gives us certainty in any given moment – whether that be on a mass level as an entire race or on a minor level as an individual – can be stripped from us in the blink of an eye as we are left to deal with the consequences that ensue.

And so with that comes the inevitable realisation that no matter what we are selling in our businesses, we are always selling the illusion of certainty in an otherwise highly uncertain world.

But if we understand that on a behavioural, evolutionary level we are always selling something that is designed to offer more certainty, yet we also realise that this certainty is literally unachievable, does that mean every sale made is a form of negative manipulation?

Is it morally right to continue to sell the illusion of certainty whilst knowing that on a behavioural level it is no more than exactly that: an illusion?

The irony here is that you probably clicked on this article with an expectation of how it was going to go. You likely expected a problem to be outlined, the consequences of that problem to be explored in order to build a little pain around the situation, followed by the solution to that original problem that leads to its writer gaining and leveraging their own status of authority.

But in the context of this article, providing that solution would be giving you the exact form of illusory certainty this writer has just spent the last hour writing about for you, and so it would render both the time writing it and your time reading it useless.

Why offer you the solution and the certainty it promises, when the certainty it promises is a false promise anyway?

The nature of a paradox often comes with it questions that aren’t designed to be answered, and that’s exactly what needs to be realised through reading this article. You’re meant to feel like there’s something missing as you read this – direct experience is the ultimate teacher for the best business owners.

There is no solution to the certainty paradox here, but there is a form of answer that once appreciated is far more powerful for you and your business than any other solution could be…

And that answer is for you to realise yourself.

Is every single sale ever made a form of negative manipulation? Is it selling a lie that could never possibly be a truth? Are we as business owners promising something on a behavioural level to our buyers that we could actually never fulfil? That’s up to you to decide.

It’s up for you to decide what’s right and what’s wrong, and creating the sale of your services accordingly.

That is the true certainty you’re ultimately looking for, because it sits within yourself and not in the purchase of something external to you.

Because it’s not just the ‘certainty paradox’ you’ll need to answer for yourself on the business journey, it’s an endless number of paradoxes that will continually require you to decide what’s right and what’s wrong in this world. Those that fail to provide a straightforward, black and white answer with a clear line in between…

And the ultimate paradox that sums them all up? The fact that the world will keep turning and services will keep being sold no matter what your answer is.

Feels strange to sit in the middle ground, doesn’t it?

Darcy J Smyth is the lead trainer and creator of the Tonal Persuasion Method for Sales – a methodology that teaches you to close sales without the ‘Hard Sell’ that turns so many buyers away in the modern business landscape. 

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