Influence by What the Other Person Wants

The most effective approach to influence others is to consider what they want.

For example, one day Ralph Waldo Emerson and his son tried to get a calf into a barn. Unfortunately, they made the common mistake of thinking of only what they wanted. Emerson pushed and his son pulled, but the calf was doing just what they were doing. It was thinking only of what it wanted, so it stiffened its legs and stubbornly refused to leave the pasture. The housemaid saw their predicament. Although she couldn’t write essays and books, on this occasion she had more horse sense, or calf sense, than Emerson had.

She thought of what the calf wanted, so she put her maternal finger in the calf’s mouth and let the calf suck her finger as she gently led him into the barn.

You do things because of what you want—whether it be referred to as a need, a desire, or a craving. This even applies to giving a contribution. If you hadn’t wanted the feeling of helping more than your money, you would not have made the contribution. (Of course, you might have made the contribution because you were ashamed to refuse or someone asked you to do it.) But one thing is certain. You made the decision because you wanted something.

The same reasoning holds true in learning and in discipline.