The art of focus

In our technologically-advanced age, people are constantly trying to multi-task. We are trying to do more than one thing at the same time. We think multi-tasking makes us more productive.

Well, it doesn’t. Multi-tasking actually makes us less productive. All sorts of studies prove it, including a recent study. This Stanford University study proved that people multi-tasking across electronic devices cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. Startling information, considering how many of us text/browse the internet while watching TV. We are more productive if we do one thing at a time – if we uni-task.

Don’t multi-task. Uni-task.

How do you become more productive through uni-tasking? You simplify and focus.

Simplifying is about saying no, to yourself and others. This is not easy to do. You may hurt some feelings or you may feel like you are turning down opportunities. But if you simplify, you can focus. And if you focus on the right things, you’ll be better and more effective at the things that matter.

At the end of the day, no one really cares about how many things you do. They care about how well you do the things that are important to you.

So while you may be able to send a text message, answer an email, read Facebook, drink a coffee, and do your “real” work at the same time, my bet is that you aren’t doing any of those things as effectively as you would if you set aside time for each task and really focused on the task at hand.

Try this experiment for one week: do one thing at a time.

Simplify and focus your attention and energy on that one thing. See how it works. I’ll bet you will be more effective and less stressed. I’ll also bed that what you spend time working on will turn out better than if you try to do too many things at once.

‘Tis truly better to give than to receive

Out of the blue, a good friend of mine sent me a book called The Go-Giver.

It’s a short book. I started reading the book the night I received it and didn’t put it down until I was finished. What a great book with some really good lessons! (If you want me to send you a copy, click here.)

The book is a parable: it discusses a week in the life of a hard-charging salesman named “Joe” who is a real “go-getter,” but who is beginning to feel that the harder and faster he works, the more difficult it becomes to reach his goals.

A the beginning of the book, Joe learns that he has lost a potentially lucrative sale that would have resulted in him making lots and lots of money. One of the older salesmen at his company offers to introduce Joe to a legendary man, called “The Chairman,” who holds the “secret” to success.

Over the next week, The Chairman introduces Joe to five different people who teach him five lessons about success in business and life.

Joe eventually learns that the secret to success is not what he thought. Joe learns that changing his focus from “getting” to “giving” – putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives  – leads to unexpected rewards.

The idea of “it’s better to give than to receive” is a lesson found in every religion and belief system. But, in 21st century America, it seems like we can’t quite grasp the concept. We have the same problem as the seagulls in Finding Nemo – the mob of mindless gulls who all dove for the same thing at the same time, saying, “Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.” We’re busy, we work hard, we contribute to society, but are we giving back?

How can you give back?

The number one predictor of success

“Grit” – perseverance and passion for long term goals.

At VB Attorneys, we represent a lot of people who’ve suffered severe, life-altering injuries. I’ve been inspired time and again by clients of mine who have faced incredible odds just getting back on their feet again. When I see one of my badly injured clients fighting to get better, to get back to work, to make a life for themselves, it inspires me to fight with them, to battle with them, and to never, ever give up.

Study after study has confirmed that the number one predictor of success isn’t intelligence. It isn’t who you know, or where you were born. It isn’t how much money you have, or how you look. The number one factor for success is grit. Perseverance. Determination. Never giving up.

To list just a few examples, a study at West Point showed that the cadets who had the most perseverance performed better than those who may have seemed smarter, or had better leadership skills. Students at Ivy League schools who show determination and grit had higher GPAs than those who entered college with higher test scores. Top finishers in the National Spelling Bee weren’t any smarter than their peers – but on average, they worked harder and spent more time honing their skills.

When I left for college two decades ago, my dad bought me a book of sports pictures. The title of the book was, Never Quit. The book was loaded with photographs of athletes persevering to victory. Athletes fighting through adversity, injury, obstacles, and never giving up.

My dad wrote me a long message in the front of the book. His basic message was, “never, ever quit. Never give up. Perseverance wins.”

It’s a message I’ve never forgotten.

You can’t beat someone who never quits. If you just keep getting up, working hard, fighting, believing in yourself and your long-term goals, then eventually, you will succeed.

Don’t quit. Continue fighting, working hard, and overcoming obstacles.

Persistence wins.

Why Having Problems is a Good Thing

Have you ever woken up in a bad mood? Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, then you check email first thing and find an inbox full of tasks and problems. Or you watch the news and it sounds like everything is going to hell in a hand basket.

I’ve certainly had plenty of those days. And given the fact that I spend my professional career helping people solve some pretty complex and stressful legal problems, many of my clients and friends have plenty of tough days, too.

I want to suggest that you try to look at your tasks and problems differently, and see if it makes a difference in your mood. It’s worked well for me, and hopefully it will work well for you.

Ask yourself: Do you really expect to have no more problems at some point in your life? Do you really expect that you’ll wake up one morning with nothing on your to-do list? No issues to face?

Would you even want that?

Here’s the truth as I see it: Life is mostly about solving problems.

That will be true from the moment you become a thinking, conscious being to the moment you leave this Earth.

Whenever I find myself complaining to myself about all the things I have to do and all the problems I have to solve, I try to remind myself that I’m not thinking clearly and accurately. Problems and tasks aren’t anomalies. And we shouldn’t treat them as such.

No one in history has ever gotten rid of all their problems. Why should I expect not to have new problems to solve? That expectation is ridiculous. In fact, that expectation makes the problems worse.

It makes no sense to be surprised that you’ve got new problems to solve, basically every day. The scope and scale of your problems may vary, but the fact that you’ve got issues to face doesn’t.

Expect problems. Welcome them. Luggage gets lost, planes are late, people cut you off in traffic, the dry cleaner loses your favorite shirt, someone posts something on Facebook that makes you mad.

If you expect that you won’t have any problems, then your expectations will cause the problems to become even worse.

Or look at it this way. Think of life as a video game. Would you want to play a video game where you reached a certain level and had no challenges to face? No tasks to complete, no more work to do, no problems to face and solve? That would be the most boring video game in history.

Such is life. So enjoy it.

Digital Detoxification

I was able to take 4 days off over Christmas (2 days before, day of, and day after Christmas). I spent that time with my wife and kids at an isolated resort on the northwest coast of Costa Rica.

During our family trip, I decided I needed to try a “digital detox.” So as soon as we arrived, I put my phone and iPad in our room safe and didn’t look at any digital devices during our four day trip.

Being without a phone or iPad/laptop was a positive experience. At the same time, it was also a strange experience. I learned a lot. It is definitely something I recommend people try from time to time, even if just for a day over the weekend. It is definitely something I will be doing again during breaks and downtime in the future.

Here are a few observations from 4 days of no technology:

  1. The first day was easy, although I found myself repeatedly reaching for my phone even though it wasn’t available. I am clearly “addicted” to my technology devices.
  2. The second day was even better. I stopped thinking so much about reaching for my phone or iPad. To fill the time, I actually read books! Real books. I also wrote a lot in a paper journal. I even practiced my drawing, which was fun. And I noticed that when we were at lunch or dinner, or just hanging out, I was more “present” with my family than I am when I’m busy at work (which is almost always). I was paying attention to what was around me. I also noticed that my thinking calmed down and I was able to focus for longer periods of time.
  3. The third day was harder than the first two days. I started worrying about what I was missing. Was I missing important emails or texts? What was happening with the news? I almost cheated on Day 3 but stayed strong.
  4. The last day was the hardest day by far. My 10-year-old daughter Addison asked me, “What if your friends or Papa or your brother are texting you and you aren’t responding? Won’t they think you’re being rude or maybe they will think something is wrong?” I had started to worry about that too, even before Addie said that to me. After she said what I was already thinking, I started getting more anxious about what I was missing and more eager to check my texts and emails to make sure I wasn’t ignoring people who I care about. But I remained disciplined.

On the last morning, as we were readying ourselves for the trip to the airport, I checked my phone for the first time. I had hundreds of texts, emails, and other unread messages. What I found, however, was that none of them was a “national emergency.” Most weren’t that important. My friends and family were all fine, the law firm was humming along as usual, and I didn’t miss anything important. I think I made a bigger deal out of my phone that I should have.

This year, I recommend you try a digital detox, even if you only do it for a day or two. A close friend of mine has “Phone Free Sundays,” where he and his wife and kids all put up their phones on Sundays and spend the day together. He told me his kids actually look forward to those days!

Now that I’ve done a 4-day digital detox, I can see why his kids enjoy the break. My thinking was clearer and more focused, I was calmer emotionally, and I was able to do a lot of reading, thinking, and planning.

Best of all, I was “present” more than usual. I wasn’t checking social media every 30 minutes, reading the latest news from Washington, or trying to respond to every email I receive.

Looking forward to making 2019 the best year yet for our clients and friends.

Dedicated to Your Success,


Want to start a new habit? Start tiny. Be ready to fail. A lot.

With the new year upon us, many of you are hoping to achieve some New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, the statistics of people actually achieving New Year’s resolutions are shockingly small. Why?

Perhaps because once our brains are hardwired with a particular habit, it is almost impossible to “get rid” of that habit. That habit has literally become part of the physical wiring of our brain.

But people can – and do – change. And people can – and do – meet their New Year’s resolutions. The obvious question is, why do most people ultimately fail but a few succeed?

I recently read an awesome story about how to change your habits. First, you have to understand that you’re not really changing your habits. Instead, you’re forming new habits that override the old ones. Here are some tips on creating amazing new habits:

  1. Start so small you cannot fail.
  2. Work on the small habit until it becomes a ritual.
  3. Make continual small additions to the habit until you’ve obtained your goal.

For example, let’s say your New Year’s resolution is to get up at 6 a.m. every morning instead of 7 a.m.. Rather than try to immediately start waking up at 6 a.m., which dooms you to failure at the outset, start by getting up at 6:50 a.m. for one month. Just 10 minutes earlier. Then, once that becomes an ingrained habit, go for a month where you get up at 6:40 a.m.. Keep building on that habit until you are getting up automatically at 6 a.m..

Also – and this is really important to keep in mind – YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL. A LOT. You have to understand that you will not be able to break a long-term bad habit instantly. And you have to give yourself some slack when you fail. Failure for some is an excuse to quit. Failure for others – you and me – is an excuse to learn and grow.

So realize that you’re forming new habits, start as small as you can, build on your success, and when you fail use that as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Growth v. Fixed Mindsets

I’m something of a nerd. Whenever I’m faced with some sort of problem to solve, or issue to overcome, my first tendency is research the issue as widely as I can by reading as much as possible about the topic. I then try to implement the best suggestions and ideas I can find to see if they work.

Over 15 years ago, I was faced with one of those “issues.” My wife and I were about to have our first child. Of course, my nerdy brain went into full-fledged “studying” mode. I read quite a few books and articles on parenting tips.

The most impressive bit of psychology I read came from a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Professor Carol Dweck. Dr. Dweck came up with the groundbreaking theory that our mindsets could be divided into two types: “fixed” and “growth.”

How to tell the difference between fixed and growth mindsets

People with “fixed” mindsets are people who believe that “you are who you are.” Fixed mindset people believe your intelligence and talent are fixed, there’s not much you can do to improve, and your fate is to go through life avoiding challenge and failure.

People with “growth” mindsets, by contrast, see themselves as fluid, a work in progress. They believe their circumstances can change, and that through hard work, struggle, and perseverance, they can become better versions of themselves.

It turns out the fixed v. growth mindset is incredibly important when you are mentoring or teaching people, and especially children. Parents with a fixed mindset tend to raise their kids one way, while parents with a growth mindset approach things differently.

What happens when you parent with a fixed mindset v. a growth mindset

For instance, if your child comes home after making an A on a hard math exam, the fixed mindset approach would involve telling your child how smart they are, or telling them “you are really talented at math.” If your child does good in a soccer game, the parent with the fixed approach would spend most of her time telling the child “you’re so talented at soccer” or “you’re just really good at soccer.”

Sounds great, right? That’s what I thought. What could possibly be wrong with complimenting your child and giving them confidence?

Well, not so fast. What happens with a fixed mindset approach when your child does bad on the exam? Or when your child has a bad soccer game? If your child attributes their success to natural talent, then they will think are bad at math or not talented at soccer when they fail. More problematically, your child will give up when they face obstacles or don’t immediately succeed, because they think natural talent or ability is fixed and there’s not much they can do about it.

A growth mindset focuses on the work and effort your child put into studying for the test or preparing and practicing for the soccer game. The compliments would look more like this: “You did awesome on that math test because you studied and worked so hard!” Or this: “You play like you practice, and you practiced super hard that past month.”

Changing your mindset changes your life

In other words, when you focus on the work and the effort, your child will stop focusing on the end result and start focusing on the work and effort.

Now, when your child performs poorly on the test, at the sporting event, etc., their mindset changes completely. They don’t think they did poorly because they are “naturally” bad at math or naturally a bad athlete. Instead, they use temporary setbacks as opportunities to work harder and smarter. They become more confident in their ability to work hard and get better. And the harder the task they confront, the more their mindset tells them to work harder and smarter. Their growth mindset tells them to put more effort into the task at hand, instead of just throwing up their arms and giving up.

The concept of “fixed” v. “growth” mindsets changed the way I parented my kids (I’ve got three kids now) and changed the way I related to others. It also changed the way I looked at success and failure in my own life. After learning about the difference between fixed and growth mindsets, whenever I experience a “failure” or temporary setback, my mind starts asking, “What can you do to get better? How can you work harder or smarter?” I no longer have that fixed mindset mentality saying, “I’m a failure.”

How to develop a growth mindset

Here are a few examples of ways you can change your perspective from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset:

  1. Instead of saying, “I’m no good at X,” say, “What am I missing about X?”
  2. Instead of saying, “I give up,” think, “I’ll try a different strategy.”
  3. Instead of saying, “I failed,” say to yourself, “I learned.”
  4. Instead of saying, “I’m not smart enough,” say, “I’ll learn how to do this.”

Try looking at your life and those around you with a growth mindset. When you do, watch how your perception of your and others’ abilities changes instantly!

You have way more influence than you realize – here’s one way to use it

Let me tell you a story.

When I was in 8th grade (middle school), the high school where I was headed hired a new basketball coach. His name was Clayton Brooks. In the late spring of my 8th grade year, near the very end of the year, Coach Brooks came to the middle school to watch the incoming freshmen shoot layups.

A friend of mine and I were the only two 8th graders who were able to shoot layups on the left side with our left hand and the right side on our right hand, a crucial skill in basketball.

Coach Brooks walked up to me and told me something like, “You have a lot of potential. I want you to be part of my basketball program.”

At the time, like most athletic boys who lived in Texas, football was king. I was the starting A-team quarterback on the 8th grade team and figured I’d do that in high school, plus baseball. That’s what everyone else did.

But Coach Brooks’ words made a big influence on me and ended up changing the entire course of my life. I played freshman football and made the varsity baseball team as a freshman, and the junior varsity as a freshman in basketball. But after my freshman year, I quit football and baseball to focus 100% on basketball. Because Coach Brooks saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.

My high school basketball experience was as awesome as it could possibly get, including 3 straight playoff appearances and a run to the state championship that resulted in a 2 point loss in state finals.

After high school, I played basketball at Texas A&M and ended up meeting some of my best friends in the world through sports and Texas A&M.

Choosing to focus 100% on basketball changed the direction of my life massively.

And it was all because a coach inspired me and encouraged me.

I can’t imagine how many young men Coach Brooks led in a similar direction, young men he encouraged to reach for the stars. And those young men are now middle-aged men like me, hopefully finding other young men to encourage and mentor as they grow up.

Here’s the thing, though: Coach Brooks was just a coach, a human being, a normal person. We all have just as much influence in our circle of family and friends as Coach Brooks had in his circle of basketball players, or the high school principal has in her circle of students, or the Air Force drill sergeant has in his circle of enlisted men, etc., etc.

Every time you encourage a young man or woman to reach above and beyond what they think they can accomplish, you are influencing them in positive ways that will stretch for decades. And your positive influence will reach countless more people as the young people you encourage and inspire will encourage and inspire young people too, and on and on and on.

Positive words of encouragement are free. They are easy to give. And they have massive payoffs. A one-sentence compliment to an 8th grade student may change his or her life in ways you cannot even imagine.

So here’s your “homework” assignment this week:

  1. Think about the people who have influenced or inspired or encouraged you in your life and why their words had such an impact on your life.
  2. Ask yourself what you can do to inspire or influence or encourage a young person in your life?

I can’t think of very many things we can do in our lives that are more important than trying to inspire and encourage young people to go beyond what they think is possible. And everyone one of us—every single one of us—has way more influence than we think we do.

Have a great week!


The story of Oscar and Otis

Oscar is sitting in his prison cell, which is small, dark, wet, and cold. He has no pictures or posters because the prison guards won’t allow him to have any. It’s late at night, he’s alone except for the cockroaches and rats, and he’s laying on a hard wooden bed with scratchy sheets.

Yet Oscar is happy. Very happy. Joyful.

Meanwhile, in the rich part of town, Otis is at the big dinner table in his warm, beautiful house with his loving family, enjoying a steak dinner with an expensive bottle of red wine along with a crackling fire in the background, surrounded by his loved ones.

Yet Otis is miserable. Depressed and anxious.

How is this so?

Because Oscar is getting released from prison tomorrow, and Otis is headed to prison tomorrow.


I read the story of Otis and Oscar recently in a book about human psychology. The story of Otis and Oscar shows beyond any doubt that mood is a result of our internal mental state and not our external physical state.

As a trial lawyer who represents lots of people in dire circumstances, I am constantly amazed how so many of our clients are kind, happy, and compassionate people, even though they are going through some of the most difficult experiences a human being will ever face (loss of a loved one, a severe life-altering injury, home or property destroyed, they got cheated in a business deal, or they face financial devastation).

And I am also amazed when I am hanging out with rich and successful people in social situations how so many are absolutely miserable. How could someone show up to a nice restaurant in a fancy sports car wearing fancy clothes then they spend their time complaining and moaning about everything under the sun? It’s absolutely bizarre.

Your mental state determines your happiness. It’s just that simple.

So if you agree that your mental state determines your mood, then the next question is what to do about it? Most people do nothing. Most people just let their minds do whatever they want.

But some people realize you can train your mind just like you can train your body. And you can train your mind towards happiness, joy, and compassion, and away from sadness, anxiety, depression, fear and anger.

I know this for a fact because I’ve studied this intently for years now, and while I certainly don’t have all the answers, I do have some thoughts to share on his subject, which I’ll share in some of our future newsletters.



Playing the Long Game

Every single day, we all make decisions in our personal and professional life that have major consequences for our future personal and professional well-being. We often make decisions that are obviously bad for us in the long term. Choices that we know will lead us away from our own well-being.


One reason is that human beings tend to prefer the “short game” over the “long game.”

I believe that most human beings play the short game most of the time. If you’re mostly playing the “short game,” then you are setting yourself up for failure.

If you play the long game most of the time, you are setting yourself up for massive success. Every time you choose to delay some gratification and look towards the accumulated consequences of your decisions, the power of compound interest kicks in. And compound interest is one of the most powerful forces in the world.

So what’s the “short game” and what’s the “long game?”

Glad you asked!

Here are some examples of playing the short game:

  • Taking the escalator or elevator when you could take the stairs
  • Driving 4 blocks to the store when you could walk instead
  • Paying with credit instead of cash
  • Putting off your workout until the evening instead of knocking it out before your day starts. Yeah, I’m sure you’ll go to the gym at 6:00 on Friday night when your co-workers invite you to happy hour.
  • Failing to constantly improve at your job because you’re doing fine and everything seems good right now
  • Watching YouTube cat videos when you could be watching Kahn Academy videos
  • Not flossing your teeth
  • Cheating when you know you won’t get caught

Here are some examples of playing the long game:

  • Saving at least some percentage of the money you earn, regularly
  • Paying cash when you can instead of using credit
  • Developing a regular exercise routine
  • Meditating regularly
  • Learning about healthy eating habits, keeping up with the latest nutrition science, and then actually eating healthy on a regular basis
  • Investing in your personal relationships so you have solid relationships

None of the above is earth-shattering. Almost everyone knows you need to save more than you spend, pay cash instead of credit if you can, and regularly exercise. Almost everyone knows intuitively that playing the long game is a better strategy than playing the short game, most of the time.

So why don’t more people play the long game more often?

Because the long game usually isn’t exciting. You don’t see immediate tangible, rewards. You have to delay gratification, think about the future, have a solid plan, and have the discipline to execute that plan.

The short game is the little red devil on your shoulder. The short game is exciting (let’s go get drunk at the bar instead of exercising! Let’s surf Facebook for an hour instead of reading a good book!).

The short game, by definition, involves putting something easy or novel or fun or exciting ahead of something that’s hard, challenging, boring, takes discipline, and won’t give you immediate results.

The long game can be dull. Most people don’t play the long game all that often. The short game can be mesmerizing. Most people play the short game most of the time.

Look, it’s perfectly okay to play the short game from time to time. You can’t always play the long game. No one can. And you’ve got to have some fun now.

But the trick is to be deliberate about your choices. Pick the things that are most important to you and play the long game for what matters most to you.

For me, my family, my physical and mental health, my mediation practice, constant reading and learning, and my ability to add a net positive contribution to society as a whole are super important. So even though I don’t always play the long game in these areas, I play the long game most of the time, or at least as much as I can.

So this week, please consider asking yourself these two questions:

  1. What’s most important to you?
  2. Are you playing the long or short game in the areas that are most important to you?

I hope you find these questions as interesting as I did. And here’s to playing the long game together!

Trying to play the long game,


P.S. I got the idea of the “short game” versus the “long game” from Shane Parrash at the Farnham Street blog. If you enjoy learning new things, and in particular learning how to improve your thinking, Farnham Street is a great blog. Check it out!


Giving Thanks

Almost 16 years ago I found myself in a terrible work environment. My boss was mean.  He attacked the people who worked with him relentlessly, rarely praising anyone for good work but never hesitating to criticize people publicly and personally for even the smallest oversight.

I remember receiving an email from him on Christmas Day. I was with my wife and her family at her parents house when I went upstairs to check email on my mother-in-law’s computer (this was before smartphones). There was a five paragraph email from my boss ripping me to shreds about something silly and inconsequential. I printed it out, went downstairs, and showed it to my wife and her family. Then I told them I was quitting that job immediately. Even though I had no back-up job lined up, I knew I had to leave this mean-spirited man and the hostile environment he created in my rear view mirror.

And that’s exactly what I did the next week. And it felt great.

Vuk was working at the same law firm at the time I was there, and he quit at the same time too, for basically the same reasons. Neither Vuk nor I had any idea what we were going to do for work after that. A week or so later, Vuk and I decided to grab beers at a local English Tavern called the “Black Lab.” We both decided over Guinness beers that we would make a go of starting our own law firm.

That was 2003. We had no plan, no cases, no clients, and no staff. We had no office, no stationary, no furniture, and no marketing ideas. All we had was the desire to make something worthwhile.

Almost 16 years later, VB Attorneys has become a nationally recognized law firm, with 7 lawyers, 7 staff, beautiful offices, hundreds of millions of dollars recovered for our clients. It is hard for me to believe what we’ve built.

Most important to me personally, however, is the work environment of our law firm.

Everyone plays on the same team. We support each other. We don’t care who gets the credit. We don’t have any fame-seekers or problem lawyers or untrustworthy employees. We have the best legal team in the country and it is not even close.

During this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful to my partner Vuk for 16 years of fun and accomplishment. I am thankful to the team I work with, my colleagues and friends, who make VB Attorneys a special place.

And I am especially thankful to the thousands of people from all walks of life who have trusted us with some of the most important issues they have or will ever face. We don’t win every single case (although we win the vast majority of them), but we give every single client our best, every time.

Thank you, and happy holidays!

How to be more persuasive

Most people think lawyers are trained persuaders. They aren’t. Truth is, we don’t learn persuasion or rhetoric in law school. Instead, law school teaches us rules and ways of thinking. So most lawyers aren’t very good at persuasion.

Persuasion is a critical skill. Always has been, always will be. You cannot be effective in your work or interpersonal relationships unless you learn some basic persuasion strategies and practice using them.

I have spent the better part of my (almost) 20 years as a lawyer studying persuasion and how the human mind operates. It is a fascinating field of study, mainly because a lot of things you think are true aren’t true.

Here are a few general, overarching principles you must understand and accept if you want to learn how to persuade people.

  1. Logical arguments don’t work. The human brain is irrational. Evidence, facts, and logic don’t convince people. Never have, never will. The human brain doesn’t work by purely logical rules. The brain works by a set of rules that you need to understand if you want to use them in your persuasion strategy.
  2. Seek common ground first. If you are trying to persuade someone to change their mind, you cannot launch a direct assault on their ideas. Tell someone they are wrong and you are have already lost the persuasion battle. Start off any persuasion strategy by seeking common ground. In fact, take whatever position your target has in their mind and make it your own, even more strongly. Once your target thinks you and he are on the same page, their brain naturally loosens up and is open to persuasion.
  3. People want to feel like they are in control. We are biologically wired to seek control. It makes us happier and healthier in a number of different areas of our lives. When you want to persuade, don’t bark orders, don’t issue directives, and don’t insist on doing things your way. Instead, give options. Guide people gently where you want them to do.
  4. Ask powerful questions. It’s hard to overstate the importance of powerful questions. When you ask someone a powerful question, you actually take over their minds! That’s right – Science has proven that when you ask someone a question, the brain circuitry lights up, overriding what they were thinking about and switching to what YOU want it to think about.

Pretty cool, eh?

Can you imagine how neat it would be to be able to take over someone’s mind temporarily and make it do your bidding?

Well, you can. Just ask powerful questions.

Sum Up

Persuasion is a super-skill. (A “super-skill” is the phrase I use to define skills that everyone should have, and that help everyone everywhere no matter their age, job, etc.)

But persuasion is about a lot more than logical arguments or appeals to reason. Persuasion is about understanding how the human mind truly works and using that knowledge to your advantage.