Regardless of whether we want to get ourselves or others to do something, we have the best chances if we use the magic word. Small spoiler: it is not "Please!" ...
Sport, tidying up, finally saving a little money, paying more attention to the partner, cooking more often, snacking less in between ... All things that often require a lot of motivation (some more, some less). There is a very simple trick with which we can outsmart ourselves and create everything we want. Mega plus point: the trick works even if we want to convince others!
The magic word is "WEIL"
As early as 1977, Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer demonstrated with her famous copier experiment that people jump on reasons like magic gates on "Sesame, open yourself".
Langer sent a guinea pig to ask people in line at a copier to let it go. It should try three different variants:
- "Sorry, I have five pages to copy here. Can I please?" (No reason)
- "Sorry, I have five pages to copy here. Can I please because I'm in a hurry?" (Understandable reason)
- "Sorry, I have five pages to copy here, can I please because I want to copy?" (Nonsense reason)
The result: When the guinea pig did not provide any reason at all, only 60 percent of those waiting waited. On the other hand, 94 percent jumped on the understandable justification and 93 percent on the nonsense justification.
Since then, the experiment has been carried out again and again in different versions and sizes, each time with the same result: It is easier for people to do something if they have a reason for it - and that does not even have to be particularly useful.
How we benefit from it
For us, this means that whenever we encounter resistance, we should try first with a reason.
- "I go to sports tomorrow morning because I feel great afterward"
- "I cook myself today because it's cheaper and healthier"
- "I watch the stupid comedy because I do it for his sake."
- "Please bring strawberry yogurt with us because we don't have any more ?!"
- "Please clear the table because I did it yesterday ?!"
The reasoning does not have to be carefully thought out. The main thing is that it sounds a bit like meaning and purpose. And if all of this is not so convincing now: Just give it a try - because it certainly can't hurt 😉