The core of trust in persuasive interactions is authenticity—the degree to which people think that the public face you have adopted fits who you really are inside. When people feel you are telling them things you truly believe, they are less likely to be skeptical of their interactions with you. Thus you have to see yourself as others see you. What do people perceive your motivations to be?
Behavior change is hard enough to accomplish when people are willing to engage in the process. When they have reason to shy away from it because they are concerned about your motives, then you have made things even more challenging for yourself. While any one of the suggestions provided below for helping others change will work to some degree on its own, combining them is even more effective. If you want other people to change, start with yourself and make sure the things you want them to change about themselves are things you do effectively yourself.
It is important to engage visibly in the goals that you want them to adopt. When you lead by example, your actions will serve as a source of goal contagion for other people in your environment. Your actions help people see how a goal can be accomplished successfully. Many professors I know make a point of working in their offices with their doors open. They would probably be more productive keeping their doors closed or perhaps even working from home.
They would get more done if they were interrupted less often.
The point of working in a visible way, though, is to give students a sense of what is required for success in academia. To balance teaching classes, doing research, writing papers, reviewing papers for journals, writing grants, and doing administrative service for the university, most faculty I know put in long workdays.
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Faculty talk to their students about the importance of putting in this time, but it is easier for students to internalize the effort needed to succeed by seeing their faculty mentors at work. A goal is an end state that provides a focus for your motivational energy. Goals that are near in time get more energy than goals that are distant in time. The more active the goal, the bigger the influence on behavior.
Consequently, you are biased against doing things that will pay off in the long run when there is some other activity you could do now to achieve a short-term goal. So if you want to help someone change, your task is to help him or her formulate daily short-term goals that will ultimately lead to long-term success— and then help them remember those goals.
Think like a business selling a product. Most businesses would never survive if they sold a product to a person only once. If you show people the conditions in which the product is used—through, say, an ad or product placement in a movie—then they will be reminded to use the product in those situations when they encounter them later. The same is true of drinking less alcohol or getting more exercise—the goal is important, but it helps to be constantly reminded of that goal.
Feedback can influence the mindset people adopt about behavior and motivation. However, underlying this statement is the idea that willpower is an entity that cannot be changed. The dieter might be exhibiting great willpower in that circumstance, but if he gives in to temptation in some other circumstance, does that now mean that he has reached the limits of his willpower? It is better to give positive feedback that does not reinforce an entity mindset. What is your secret? This kind of feedback promotes an incremental mindset, which acknowledges that most abilities are skills that can be nurtured.
Research by Ayelet Fishbach and her colleagues at the University of Chicago shows that positive and negative feedback have different influences on people.
Positive feedback helps make people more committed to a goal. Negative feedback is particularly good for spurring people to make more progress. When people are first starting to change their behavior, positive feedback is valuable because it helps them feel a greater sense of commitment toward the goal they want to achieve. Over time, however, people shift their own thinking away from their overall commitment to the goal to their sense of progress.
At that point, they are motivated by negative feedback, which reminds them of the distance between where they are now and where they would like to be. Matthieu Ricard asks: "Can People Change? Learn five tips for boosting your willpower. Find out how to set up the right environment for changing your habits.
Of course, this negative feedback does not make people feel good. Even in the later stages of behavior change, people still enjoy getting positive feedback more than they enjoy getting negative feedback. But at the later stages of change, the positive feedback is not nearly as motivating as the negative feedback.
Although it can be difficult to give negative feedback, it is important to be willing to make people uncomfortable when working with them to change behavior. If you have a scarcity mind-set, then refraining from spending feels like torture, like being on a crash diet over Thanksgiving. My intention is not for you to build wealth at the expense of your happiness. Instead of pain, I want you to feel both financially and spiritually fulfilled. This is only possible when you shift your awareness away from what you lack and focus instead on what you have—this is an abundance mentality.
When the running script in your mind is I have enough, then you feel more at peace.
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You have enough. The more you can hold off on spending today, the more money you will have available for the future. You can buy a cute pair of boots now or invest that paycheck and generate passive income to buy two pairs later. You will come to understand that the route to and abundance mentality and financial security is not meant to be laden with guilt and deprivation. In fact, feelings of guilt and deprivation are symptomatic of the Scarcity Loop.
You actually have the treasure box inside of you right now, a healthy financial future, and all you need to unlock it is to shift into an abundance mentality and change your perspective from what you lack to what you have. The loop then begins not with lack but with gratitude. This loop represents a balanced approach to achieving financial security, and it starts with embracing the wealth you already have. No matter how little you feel you have today, if you have the means to purchase and read this, you have more than you think.
To help you with this, I invite you to visualize an image with me. Take a moment to clear your mind and relax. Take a couple of slow, deep breaths. Now I want you to imagine that the company you work for has shut down and you are out of a job. Imagine that every dollar you have in the bank is now gone; and you lost your home, your car, and all your belongings. Then imagine that you lost your partner, your family, your friends, and your pets; and you also had to move from your community.
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How do you feel? How hard would you work to try to get back everything you had lost? Now, shake your head and clear your mind of these tragic thoughts of loss and despair. Can you believe the abundance you have right now?
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When you think about balancing work, children, marriage, friends, church, personal health, and finances, how does that make you feel? When you believe you have to do it all and you have to do it all right now, you feel squeezed for time. This pressure to optimize your time puts you in task mode and you try to juggle it all, very often by trying to multitask. The rest of us are better off focusing on one task at a time. I end up feeling guilty for not being a good mom or being a good professional.
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You do the job well and feel good about completing something to the best of your ability. If the task includes another person, then sharing quality time with that person instead of juggling e-mails and texts will result in a stronger relationship. Positive reinforcement supports you to continue operating in and abundance mentality, firmly in the Abundance Loop.
Money is the root of all evil. This is not exactly the wording from the famous phrase in the Bible, but it is the wording that many of us have internalized. What is interesting about this phrase, however you say it, is highlighted in the following story. He was excited about my speaking on the topic of the abundance mentality, and he shared with me what happened when he adjusted his language around rich people relatively late in his life. For Harold, rich meant having enough resources to devote his time to making beautiful and elaborate collages in his small seaside studio.
When he became aware of this, he asked himself why he should judge someone simply because they have the means to afford a more expensive lifestyle. He has lived and traveled through Europe, Asia, and Africa with his family of artists and together they worked on some amazing and high-profile public art projects.
He eventually saw that he is indeed rich. As a result of reflecting about who is rich and what it means to him, Harold now interacts more peacefully with his patrons, taking better care of the money he earns, and feels better about himself, all hallmarks of an abundance mentality.
I share this story because there is value in taking stock in how you perceive money or those with money. You can see now how someone who holds this belief will repel money and let go of it as quickly as it comes into his or her hands.
I keep coming back to ways to build your awareness about how this works, because only by truly understanding and questioning what you hold to be true can you break through blocks that keep you from flowing into an abundance mentality and the Abundance Loop. If this is an issue for you, try the following statement as your new thought pattern. I am thankful for money. See how this simple statement is a much more positive way to look at money in general?
Carol was often stressed about money. She was tired of living that way and desperately sought to shift into an abundance mentality and heal her relationship with her finances. I suggested that she write down all her beliefs about money. After I tell you about her experience, you will find this exercise explained for you to try.
I asked her to write down all the words that came up for her as she thought about money. Her list looked like this: scary, overwhelming, hate, questionable, scarce, hopeless, confusing, and help! I then asked her about each word and how true it was. She immediately thinks about the scarcity of money as opposed to the presence of money.