How to Be Convincing

In high school, my mom suggested that I go into investing, but I refused. A few weeks ago, I read one book and now I am completely convinced.

What made one statement so much more convincing than the other? I wanted to write my thoughts about why today.

Rejecting Real Estate

When I was in high school, my mother caught the real estate bug. My aunt was a successful real estate investor and began teaching my mother all about the tools of the trade.

My mother thought it would be helpful for me to learn the ropes too. Countless times in high school, my mother would walk into my room, interrupting my studies.

“James, how about you take over managing the investment property? You can own it and it can make money for you.”

But I would always get annoyed and refuse. At the time, my world was school. Why would I put time into houses when those hours could be put into improving my grade from B to A? Or looking for an internship or a summer job. Those were the things that would bring me success.

Real Estate Revisited

Fast-forward to January this year. I had always heard about this book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and was curious about what it actually said. When I finished the book, I finally understood why my mom wanted me to take over the house and I am now deeply motivated to start investing.

Why was I never convinced by my mother’s suggestions? What was the difference between what my mother said and what the book said?

Answer the Why

First, the book actually gave reasons. My mother told me I should invest in real estate, but she never really told me why. The implied reasons would probably be “because it’ll be good for you” or “because you’ll make lots of money”. Reasons that don’t really motivate me.

The book gave me reasons. It gave me reasons that resonated deeply with my values.

I was never motivated by superficial reasons to invest. I didn’t respond much to a message like “With your new money, you can own your dream house or that expensive car.” Rich Dad, Poor Dad instead gave seductive reasons that are at the core of most every person’s idea of fulfillment.

In a phrase: “If you build passive income, you will gain financial freedom and autonomy. You will never have to feel dependent on a job, trapped in debt, or stuck in a mortgaged house ever again.”

These powerful, fundamental “whys” convinced me deeply and I was now armed to pursue investing completely.

Appeal to Values

When my mother explained investing to me, I understood, but her explanation didn’t speak to the right values to spur action. The book armed me with the values (freedom, autonomy) needed to motivate me.

The book gave me things that felt right rather than just objective facts. It gave me something I truly wanted.

Practical Takeaway

If you want to be convincing, look to give the explanation that feels right. Speak to what your audience values.

To accomplish this, first understand what that person values. Ask. Maybe even explore the various values people in general have.

Then, connect your message with the person’s values. Once they understand that your way of thinking will bring them the things they value, they will pursue it completely without any further instruction.

So many of us attempt to convince using logical arguments that would work on ourselves, but this falls on deaf ears because the other person values other things. Appeal to what the person values, and they will listen.