The Caveman Principle™

Imagine you’re a prehistoric hunter.

Your mate is fast asleep in the cave.

The sun is coming up.

It’s time to kill breakfast!

Out in the prairie, you wait. Silent. Motionless. Anticipating even the slightest movement.

Because you’ve learned (in your experience as a prehistoric hunter) … ANYTHING that moves is a threat to your survival.

It could be a lion.
It could be a woolly mammoth.
It could be another hunter trying to steal your catch, or worse yet, clobber you.

Either way, your Caveman Brain is conditioned in the following way:

Movement? —> Change! —> Threat! —> Respond!

No movement? —> No change. —> No threat 🙂 —> No response.

So, unchanging backgrounds get filtered out by your brain.
Because familiar structures lead to mental laziness.
Which means there’s no need to pay attention.

I call this The Caveman Principle.

And although it originated a few million years ago, it’s VERY interesting to note how this prehistoric survival trait manifests in our daily businesses activities.

Especially when you realize that The Caveman Principle can actually make you more money.

Mmm … good … Ug like money!

This brings to mind something I read in the (fantastic) book Mindfulness, by Dr. Ellen Langer:

“A familiar structure or rhythm helps lead to mental laziness, acting as a signal that there is no need to pay attention.”

GREAT EXAMPLE: Ever Watch The Simpsons?

Not only is The Simpsons the basis for my entire personality.
Not only is The Simpsons greatest show in the history of television.
Not only is The Simpsons longest running sitcom in the history of television.

The Simpsons also happens to be the best example of The Caveman Principle in action.

Think about it…

During the opening credits to every episode of show, something always changes.

(Actually, THREE things always change, every time.)

Can you name them all?

Well, if you’re like me and you live your daily life is based on episodes of The Simpsons, this should be an easy question.


1. Bart’s detention chalkboard.
2. The Simpson Family Couch.
3. Lisa’s saxophone solo.

So, why is that important to your business?

WELL, THINK ABOUT THIS: With the exception of The Simpsons, when was the last time YOU actually tuned in to watch the opening credits of your favorite show?

Never! You just hit the fast forward button on your Tivo remote, zipped through the opening montage, skipped the subsequent commercials and started the show at seven minutes past the hour.

See, the reason you never watch the opening credits of your favorite show is because they’re always the same.

No movement? —> No change. —> No threat 🙂 —> No response.

Completely predictable. Ug was right.

But that’s the genius of The Simpsons. By changing three distinct elements to their opening credit montage, they FORCE millions of people to tune in – and never miss –the very beginning of the every episode.

Movement? —> Change! —> Threat! —> Respond!

Predictably unpredictable.

And I’m sure their advertisers just loooooooove that!

NOTE: I’ll be discussing The Caveman Principle in detail as it pertains to online video platforms tomorrow night during my teleseminar for Speaker Net News.

Mmm! Ug like teleseminar!

How are you keeping your viewers’ attention?

For the list called, “7 Questions to Assure People Don’t Tune Out Your Marketing,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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