“But why do I have to do it now when I’m busy pushing superglue into my sisters toothpaste tube?”
My dad being the brilliant philosopher and debater that he was, would almost always respond by saying:
“Because I said so”
“Oh well” I’d think, “Why didn’t he say that in the first place?” and with that I’d happily put down the glue and start to clear the room up.
It sounds completely ridiculous, doesn’t it?
Responding, “because I said so” isn’t really a compelling argument. After all, I knew he’d said so there was no need to tell me that, other than it worked more often that not.
Fast forward a few decades and I’m reading the brilliant book by Dan Ariely, “Predictably Irrational”. In the book Ariely talks about some research that catches my eye.
Ariely discovered that one of the key components in getting people to do as you ask is to give them a reason why, something for them to justify to themselves that it was cool to help out. Even, and this is the really fascinating bit, the reason or reasons are ludicrous.
Ariely set up an experiment in which he had somebody stand in line to use a busy copier machine in a large office. The person was instructed to tap the person in front of them on the shoulder and ask if they could go in front of them.
Most people when asked the straight forward question of “Can go in front please?” said no.
However, if the person asking adding the word ‘because’ the responses were significantly different.
To such an extent that even saying “Can I go in front of you because I have some copying to do?”, which barely makes any more sense than what my dad used to say to me, improved the chances of somebody saying yes by over 40%.
It seems that word ‘because’ is incredibly powerful and if people were offered a genuine reason such as “I’m in a real hurry”, it exponentially improved the odds of being waved to the front of the line.
This is one of the reasons with Life Coaching clients I not only explain what I’m doing, but why I’m doing it, and why it will work.
Simply saying, “Do this!” is seldom effective this side of an S&M party.
The 20 Greatest Motivational Quotes Of All Time was my first post in close on 5 years of blogging that went viral. I really had no idea why, as there are lots of websites and blog posts dedicated to great quotes.
Then I wondered if it had anything to do with the reason I not only listed the quotes, but also went to the trouble of explaining why I thought they were so cool.
The honest answer, is I don’t know, but I do know it stirred me on to wanting to expand on the process. Therefore, I decided to write an ebook titled “The 50 Greatest Motivational Quotes Of All Time – And Why?” and give it away to my newsletter subscribers.
If you would like a copy because you think it might be useful, sign up to my newsletter in the box in the left sidebar (sorry if you are reading this via e-mail, you’ll have to click through to my site) and as if by magic it will be delivered to your inbox forthwith.
Worry not about getting bombarded by spam. As a rule I only send out one newsletter per month unless there is a specific reason otherwise and all my special offers and free stuff get offered to my subscribers first.
If you just like free stuff you can even sign up, grab the book and then unsubscribe. Obviously I hope you don’t do that, but it’s an option.
As you read this I’ll be floating on a boat somewhere in the Caribbean, no doubt thinking of you. The dogs are being looked after by the in-laws and we’re taking a long overdue vacation as I aim to walk the work/life balance walk.
I have no idea when I will have Internet access, so any help mentioning this post on Twitter and Facebook would be really, really, appreciated. Why would it? Because it just would ;-)
Note: A few kind souls have taken the trouble to point out a couple of typos in the ebook. That’s what happens when you let an illiterate Englishman loose on his own editing, sorry!