Can You Cure Someone Else's Pessimism?

THIS IS WHERE YOU ADVANCE on the enemy (pessimism). The lampreys try to invade, but you've learned to protect yourself. And you've learned to rid your own mind of lurking lampreys of negativity. Now it's time to advance into the enemy territory and claim back some of the positivity that used to be native to our minds. And how you do that is by learning to influence other people. The art of war in this war is the art of influence. You can help people learn to undemoralize themselves and do something about their anxiety and do things that raise their morale. You can help them learn to become active rather than passive in the war on pessimism. You can help motivate others. Influence by people like you is what is needed and wanted.

But influencing people takes skill. Persuasion is difficult sometimes, even when your intentions are good. People are prone to feel defensive if they think you disapprove of them, or if you try to persuade too heavyhandedly.

So below we have a few links that take you to material you can study and practice to improve your ability to influence. This is an important mission. World events, as shocking as it seems, revolve around very human feelings such as being offended, losing face, and personal pride. The skills of diplomacy and persuasion are some of the most important abilities you can develop in the war on pessimism. Skillfulness with people can make you extraordinarily influential.

The best resource for persuasion is:

How to Win Friends & Influence People

by Dale Carnegie. It is available at any bookstore. It has been around for 70 years, and it's still on the shelves, for good reason. The principles can also be found online here: WestEgg.

When you practice the principles, don't try to do them all at once. Work on one skill at a time. Take one principle (for example, Give honest and sincere appreciation) and concentrate on that one for a couple days. Master it. Then take another principle and do the same.

Another good source of information about influencing is the PEOPLE section of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works. Some chapters are about influencing others, and some are about human nature in general, which helps indirectly in influencing people. Start at the table of contents:

Table Of Contents of the book
Self-Help Stuff That Works

Persuasion 101

Always curb your desire to overstate your case. If you err, err toward understatement. As anti-intuitive as it seems, you are more persuasive when you are calm and conservative in your statements than you are when you get emotional or exaggerate. Les Giblins, author of How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People, wrote:

"In one experiment, the researchers put together three 15-minute talks on dental hygiene. For one group of students, the researchers emphasized the threat of not following the guidelines: cancer, tooth decay, gum diseases, etc.

"The second group received a milder form of the same thing — facts mixed with what might happen if care was not taken with their teeth.

"The third group just heard information without any scare tactics.

"One week later, in a follow-up test, the researchers discovered that the more scare tactics were used, the less the students changed their behavior."

A great resource in learning why people agree to things is a fascinating book called Influence: Science and Practice (4th Edition), by Robert Cialdini. He is a researcher and experimenter who took time off from his work at the University of Arizona to join sales organizations (as an anonymous salesman) to discover if the practical world was using the principles he had found in his research, and to find out how they were using the principles. Very interesting book, full of great examples. He boils his findings down into six fundamental principles of influence.

And here is a hot tip from Benjamin Franklin, a man with a proven record of persuasiveness:

The way to convince another is to state your case moderately and accurately. Then say that of course you may be mistaken about it; which causes your listener to receive what you have to say, and, like as not, turn about and convince you of it, since you are in doubt. But if you go at him in a tone of positiveness and arrogance you only make an opponent out of him.