Two Sneaky Methods For Writing So That People Will Obey

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Born Jun. 29, 1900.

One of the hardest ways to get people to do what you want them to do is to try and talk them into it with facts and logic. And you sure as shit don't want to make the action you need sound like work.

One of the easiest ways to get people to do what you want them to do is to make them feel like it was their own idea to do that thing anyway. For their own benefit and fulfillment.

How can you do this? I'll give you my two favorite ways.

First: Desire precedes action. Discomfort precedes desire.

Find out what makes your mark uncomfortable. Then convince them that their current situation should be making them uncomfortable in those ways. Make their current situation feel untenable and undesirable to remain in.

Then simply offering a change will be something they want to pursue. They will feel like this is the lifeline they've been waiting for. And the desire to take action comes from their own internal wants and needs.

Whatever your action actually IS becomes inconsequential. It's the CHANGE they long for, and your thing is simply an opportunity to change.

Second: you use the exact same framing, but you don't have to push so hard into their feelings or make them uncomfortable.

Whatever your niche/market/arena/bailiwick is, compile a list of errors, mistakes, obstacles, gotchas, etc. inherent in that milieu.

Then teach and preach those. Educate your audience about the pitfalls and roadblocks they may encounter. Warn them what to look out for.

This feels valuable (and makes you seem altruistic to boot) but doesn't actually give anyone anything to DO…

So in the case of having a head full of problems, they begin to long for a solution. All you have to do is point them to one and they will take action to get it.

And there you have it – two ways to make people long for the sea before you recruit them to build your ark for you. Use separately, or in tandem.

And realize that one of the underlying triggers of persuasion is simply providing proper motivation.

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