session I did what I normally do on a Southwest flight – I grabbed the first
available aisle seat upon boarding. After I settled in, the flight attendant
asked if I wanted to move back a row. She was in the emergency row and reminded
me I could not recline my seat. I declined because I normally don’t recline my
decision because the thought crept in, “What if I want to recline?”
Suddenly having my freedom restricted caused angst even though the restriction
was on something I hardly ever do. Scarcity was at work on me! This principle of
influence tells us we want things more as they become less available and it
doesn’t just apply to goods and services; it applies to our freedom of choice.
has to do with not losing out on opportunities because that restricts our
freedom. If you’ve raised kids undoubtedly
you’ve seen this. Isn’t it the case that more often than not they want whatever
they’re not supposed to touch, taste, smell, watch, listen to or play with?
someone tells us we can’t do something there’s a natural impulse that rises up
in us, “Who are you to tell me I can’t…?”
because there are times when our well-intentioned communication backfires
because our restrictions only make the other person want the restricted thing
even more! There are times when we’d be better off taking a wait and see
attitude rather than jumping in with a command – don’t, you can’t, you’d better
well to help the other person internalize why the restriction is actually in
their best interest. This taps into the principle of consistency. People
typically don’t resist their own beliefs, values and reasons, so helping them
form those will go a long way toward them believing the restriction is actually
good for them.
believe it’s in my daughter Abigail’s best interest to abstain from sex for many reasons.
But those are my reasons not hers and that means they might not last very long.
When she was a freshman in high school she met a nice guy who was a senior and
although they were not “boyfriend and girlfriend” they were more than
just friends. A short time after going to college he said it would probably be
best if they didn’t keep going like they were and Abigail was crushed. Perhaps
you can remember the feeling from your first love.
somewhere and the subject of sex came up so I asked her, “Why do you think
it’s wrong to have sex before marriage?” Right away she said,
“Because the Bible says so.” So I asked, “Why do you think the
Bible says so?” Immediately she replied, “Because God says so.”
I probed more, “Why do you think God says so?” She was stumped so I
asked, “Remember how bad you felt when he broke up with you? All you did
was hold hands and have intimate conversations. How do you think you’d feel now
if you’d given yourself to him?” I could see from the look on her face
that she got it in the deepest part of her being.
her mom and I ask her to refrain from things it’s not because we don’t want her
to have fun. On the contrary, we love her and want her to love life and enjoy
it to the fullest! With more experience under our belts we know the pitfalls of
the decisions many teenagers make. We talked more about sex, marriage and
relationships and as we did so she was generating her own reasons for her
best or right? No, but then again, we’re not the final arbitrators on right and
wrong, good and bad. And it’s been interesting to watch her grow up and make
choices at her young age that are far better than we made at that age…and
perhaps well into our 30s.
about what you restrict and how you go about it. When you do have to make
certain restrictions be sure to help the other person generate their own
reasons because that will lead to better, longer lasting behavior.
not being able to recline was a non-issue.
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
Series! Would you like to learn more about
influence from the experts? Check out the Cialdini “Influence” Series featuring Cialdini
Method Certified Trainers from around the world.