Be the Expert: How would you encourage a quitter?
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Sometimes I like to take a break from my normal writing on strategies of psychology, persuasion, careers, entrepreneurship, and money to see how well you can actually APPLY my material. After all, it’s easy to read and read along, nodding your head, saying, “Yeah Ramit, I got this.”
But what happens when I put you to the test?
It’s like a good Asian father surprising you before dinner with an unannounced math test. “But daddy,” you might say, “I already took math today at school!” Asian dad laughs, then pulls out an apple and a banana and demands you demonstrate how to rotate conic sections.
So, in the spirit of my upbringing, I created a series called “Be The Expert,” where I invite you to apply your new insights on money, psychology, and behavioral change. For example…
How would you persuade a young guy to start investing? How would you help someone start working out at the gym? Hmm, this dude has poor social skills and actively wants to improve them…what persuasion techniques should you employ to help him?
Most of your answers have been atrocious. After reading several years of sophisticated material on behavioral change, social influence, and persuasion, IWT readers still tend to answer in generic layperson comments like, “If he really cared, he would do it!” or “You should just tell him to seriously get it together.”
Lesson 1: Whenever you use the word “seriously” or “should,” you’ve already lost.
Lesson 2: You can be persuasive or you can be right. Often (not always), those two are mutually exclusive.
Your spectacular failures have nearly convinced me shut down my email list, turn my blog into a private community of 1, and solely write for my own amusement. At least I could write the really dirty jokes I’ve been holding back on.
So today, I’m giving you another chance.
Like any 30-year old single guy in Manhattan, I read UrbanBaby, a site for NYC mothers, to learn insights on the human condition. Wait, that isn’t normal?
Anyway, here’s a question I found while spending yet another afternoon calmly browsing thousands of posts while sipping a cup of tea:
Question from UrbanBaby:
“How do you encourage someone who is a friend or family member who is, for lack of a better word, a “quitter”? This person is smart enough, capable enough, and has good ideas. She has started exercise programs–done really well, and then quit right as she was making progress. The same goes for jobs, writing a blog, and new friendships. She starts out strong and then abandons ship. No one knows why.”
We ALL know someone like this. We all know how frustrating it can be — you just want to shake them and say, “WAKE UP!! Your life isn’t that bad! In fact, if you actually did something instead of complaining about it…it might actually be better!”
What would you do? Assume she has complained and wants help.
Warning: I have contemplated killing myself multiple times after reading your previous responses. If you want me to keep writing this site, think carefully before you answer. Answers that will not be accepted include the words “seriously,” “should,” and “get off your fat ass.”
Do me proud. Or I swear to god, we’re going back to school.
Share your advice in the comments below.