Rituals of the Nacirema
My first semester of college I took an ethnography class and the first reading assignment was about a people called the Nacirema. The reading described their morning ritual in strange detail. Everything seemed obscure but after the fifth or sixth paragraph something started to sound familiar.
I realized that standing in front of the reflective alter and anointing their face with water and a sacred cream, then painting their face with traditional pigments was really just washing their face in the mirror and putting on makeup.
The ritual of crushing the tribe’s crop of sacred beans and stewing them in boiling water preparatory to consumption was just making coffee.
Finally, it dawned on me that the Nacerima were American (spelled backwards).
To the outside world, our daily rituals probably seem…well, weird. To us, they are familiar.
Our rituals connect us. They let us know we are in the same tribe. They let us know we are safe with each other and that we can be vulnerable around one another.
They help us believe in each other because we are the same.
As you project yourself into the world, now more than ever, through social media, I challenge you to mention your rituals to set the stage for what you’re about to say.
Let your audience connect with you on that one thing and then move them toward a paradigm shifting idea. They will walk right with you every time.