Your entire life will be made better if you truly understand how to get people to do what you want them to do…

If you run a business, you only get new customers in through the door if you’re able to figure out how to get them to buy…  And you only get employees lined up and working on your behalf if you can properly motivate them…  Plus partners, suppliers, and more help your business move forward MOST when they are contributing in the way you know adds the most momentum to your operations…

In parenting, the eternal question is how to get your kids to “behave” more often, which pretty much just means doing what you want them to…

In relationships, there are a lot of things from what to eat for dinner tonight, to who is responsible for which chores, to what your big life goals are…

And in every little area of life, there are situations where getting someone to comply with your requests makes your life better and easier…

The better you get at the one skill of getting other people to do what you want them to do, the more all of life will seem to go in your favor, and seemingly “luck” will rule your world.  But it’s not luck.  It’s this one little skill.

Example: all those times I’ve gotten pulled over by police…

That bold sentence makes it sound like it happens a lot.  It really doesn’t.  But, like many drivers, I frequently drive a few miles per hour over the speed limit.  Especially in situations where there’s no other traffic on the road, or where a lot of traffic is also going over the speed limit.

Occasionally, this has led to me getting pulled over by police.

But I’ve yet to get a speeding ticket.

Why?  Not because I try to smooth-talk my way out of tickets.  The officers see right through it.  But because I have this one skill, I’m able to get what I want — to get out of tickets.

What’s the skill?

Get out of your head, and into theirs!

Most people — especially strangers — don’t care one iota what you want.  They just don’t care!

People are inherently self-centered.  Which is often interpreted as selfish.  And sometimes, it is.

People have their own conversation going on in their own heads about their own lives, with their own fears, frustrations, failures, dreams, desires, and sense of destiny on loop in their heads.

They may not be the center of THE universe, but they are the center of THEIR universe.

And when you come careening into their life, you’re upsetting that balance.

If you show up and want them to get into your head, they ain’t gonna like it.  If you want to become the center of their universe, even for one fleeting moment (such as a customer service phone call), they will feel like you are violating their priorities.

  1. A few people are like water — or chameleons — they change shape or color to fit the situation. But that’s because they’ve already mastered the skill.
  2. Some are good at hiding their inner angst, wearing a smile of acquiescence as secretly inside they seethe.
  3. And some wear the suffering on their sleeve, as you break their attachment to the idea that the train of thoughts running through their mind are not the only priority for the universe right now.

Most people fall under #2 or #3.  Whether they express it internally or externally, they don’t like thinking that your priorities just might be more important than theirs.

And since that’s “most people,” if you want to make most of life go your way, you’ve gotta learn how to make it in their best interests to help you out.

Align your desires with their priorities and the conversation going on in their head, and they’ll be happy to do what you want them to do!

Back to the police.  Police officers spend all day getting zero respect.  They spend a ton of time with lawbreakers.  Their job is to enforce the law, and stop lawbreakers.  That means that often times they’re the last people anybody wants to see show up.

Now, I’m not going to promise this works for getting out of breaking major laws.  It probably wont.  But minor traffic infractions, this might just save you a hundred bucks on a ticket.

The secret?  Give ‘em respect.  If they don’t get it all day long, from people in your situation, it’s a breath of fresh air when you give it to them.

Admit your wrongdoing.  Admit you made a mistake.  Acknowledge that they have all the power in the world over you, in that situation.   You don’t have to do all this verbally, but with your body and tone, you take this posture.

Show them as much respect as you’d show your momma.  And don’t argue.

You’ll be surprised how kind they can be.  They’re just regular people, in a uniform.

(And by the way, I do recognize that there’s a whole undercurrent of race and class that impact police-citizen interactions — I’m not blind to it.  Maybe that makes it a bad example.  But when we’re talking individual interactions with individual police officers, you’ll find a little bit of respect goes a very long way.)

The same thing goes for ALL authority figures.  They want to be respected for their accomplishment and the position of status and authority they’ve gained.  Do that, and you’ll suddenly find they’re on your side.

Enough of the police examples though…  Let’s go more universal.

Once you decide that you’re going to get out of your head and into theirs, here are the universal motivators to look for, to get people excited to help you out…

First, people basically want to be happy.  But what does that even mean?

Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage, points us toward the ancient Greek definition of happiness.

Today, happiness is defined as being closer to pleasure.  You’re happy if you feel good in the moment.

The ancient Greeks thought of happiness differently.  They thought of happiness as the joy you feel when moving toward your potential.  (If you consider that the founders of the United States studied ancient Greek scholars, this puts a new spin on “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”)

The joy you feel when moving toward your potential.

So, everyone you come in contact and want something from perceives their own potential.  The potential for their day.  The potential for their life.  The potential for their job.  The potential for their relationship with you.  The potential for this very interaction.

They have a vision of what that potential is.

If you interact with them in a way that’s in line with that, they’ll be happy to follow you in whatever direct you steer the interaction.

Let’s take it further…

In Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, he goes even further.

He debunks the modern misconception that money is the best motivator.

It’s not that money isn’t a motivator.  It can be, especially in certain situations, or when certain significance is placed on it.

However, there are much more effective drivers of true motivation.

Autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

(Note that mastery and purpose line up perfectly with the ancient Greek definition of happiness as the joy of moving toward your potential.)

So, let’s imagine for a minute that you want something from someone.

What are the questions you can ask yourself before making the request, that will give you the best possible chance of knowing how to get compliance?

— What does this person feel like their potential is, and how can I eliminate roadblocks to it or help them get their faster?

— How can I help them feel autonomous, that they are in control in the situation, even if they’re doing what I want them to do?

— What can I do to help this person feel like they are handling this situation or role masterfully, or that it contributes to a mastery they want to develop in their life?

— How is my request for this person aligned with what they feel to be their purpose, in this moment, and in life in general?

— How can I respect, combine, acknowledge, and carry all of that in my request to them, in such a way that they feel like it’s in their best interest to do what I want?

Forget bribes and financial rewards, unless they are aligned with these other motivators.

Example: Money can be a great way to keep score in business.  But the real motivation is the masterful marketing and fulfillment of a customer experience you created from nothing.  Plus motivation comes from the purpose of enriching more customers’ lives through that customer experience.  When the money is really rolling, it’s just an indicator that you’re doing all of that right.  And because it’s a sign that you’re moving toward your potential, it can make you happy.

Apply this throughout your life, and you’ll find people lining up to help YOU in return.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr