Why Your Brain is a Dolphin

humor influence marketing neuroscience Jun 13, 2024


Occasionally on weekends, my wife and I like to enjoy some ice cream while we watch a movie. One night in particular, she was sitting on the couch flipping through the options on Netflix… because (let’s be honest) sometimes choosing the movie takes longer than watching the dang thing. In the meantime, in efforts to win “Man Card Points” I had gone to put things away in the kitchen… without being asked. [Pay attention, Gentlemen… that gets a lot of points!]

As would be expected, I was opening cupboards, shutting the fridge, and moving plates around on the counter. You know, the normal background noise that comes with putting stuff away.

Stacking the plates? *Clank*

Putting the silverware in the drawer? *Clankety clatter*

Shutting the cupboards? *Creak….Woomp*

And all the while, she paid no attention to me as she flipped through the programs. Then I opened the freezer and selected *one* of the two cartons of ice cream we had, and placed it on the counter.


Time stopped. The lights flickered. Even the dog barking across the street hushed.

Sensing frequencies perceptible only to the mysteries of nature, my wife paused her scrolling and slightly tilted her head. The plant in the corner quivered.

With the DNA of generations of pastry loving Danish people surging in her veins, she knew with military radar accuracy, that chocolate, in some form, had just entered the airspace.

And suddenly everything in the world felt different.

More hopeful.

Without turning her head and looking, and in a voice of surprising command… she said, “Can you scoop me some?”

I was stunned. Of all the distractions, the kitchen noise, and the Netflix trailers, her senses…. like the echolocation skills of the spotted bat, and the bottlenose dolphin… were so finely tuned that not only could identify the sound of an ice cream carton, but she distinguished her favorite flavor from across the room, without even looking.

I had no idea my wife could do that. Speechless, I quickly put a few scoops into the bowl, and as we later watched the movie, I looked a few times to see if she could hear my very thoughts.

At least I thought the jokes in my head were funny.

She didn’t think so.

What does this have to do with influence?

I’m not sure if anyone told you today, but your brain is astonishing. Specifically, that 3 lb lump of grey matter between your ears is the most powerful computing marvel in the known universe. Able to synthesize millions of data points every second, one study suggested that the average person processes up to 74 Gb of data every day. (1)

To put that in perspective, have you ever wondered how many pages of text it takes to create 1 Gb of data? The entire Holy Bible (in raw text form) is only 4.3 Mb in size. Hence, when you think of all the sounds, sights, video, conversations, emotional cues you take in every day… (to say nothing of your senses and the signals your body sends like breathing, heartbeats, and keeping balance, etc.) the average person processes the equivalent of 17,000 bibles worth of data every single day.

That’s a lot of Sunday School class.

So here’s the problem…if you consciously processed and evaluated each piece of information, then you would be like me when I stare at the menu (nay, the Tolstoy-length novel) from the Cheesecake Factory: completely overwhelmed. That’s why one of the engineering wonders of your brain is its ability to filter. It learns to pay attention to what’s important, and what’s not.

Like, for example…. the sound of an ice cream carton of chocolate chip cookie dough vs the sound of a stacked plate.

Here’s why this matters: If you understand how the brain’s filter works, you can use it to your advantage… especially when you are trying to stand out and get chosen. Which is what I cover in my book, The Influence Mindset: The Art & Science of Getting People to Choose You. If you haven’t grabbed a copy (or listened to “Yours Truly” narrate it on Audible), check out what some of the recent reviews on Amazon have said:

So next time you’re scrolling through Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, HBO Max, AppleTV, Peacock, Hulu, or Prime Video… just to find THE perfect movie (which you’ve already seen 4 times) stop for a moment. Instead, give your brain some love by reading the Influence Mindset.

Trust me, your brain (and life) will thank you later.


  1. https://kids.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frym.2017.00023

CHRISTIAN HANSEN has gone behind the scenes in some of the biggest organizations in the world to find out the reasons why some people get chosen and why others don’t. As the #1 bestselling and LinkedIn Top Ten ranked author of “The Influence Mindset: The Art & Science of Getting People to Choose You” Christian helps teams and organizations who want increase their earning potential by standing out from the crowd and influencing people to choose them. With degrees from Brigham Young University and The London School of Economics, he’s helped thousands of individuals position and sell themselves. A fan of international communication, history, and choral music, he currently lives in Utah with his wife. Reach him at: TheChristianHansen.com

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