Talking people into trying something new is hard work. Sometimes, trying something new is a process of breaking some identifies you’ve considered yourself to be labeled by. A person who’s considered themselves to be afraid of large bodies of open water is not likely to dive off a 20-foot cliff into the Mediterranean sea. The longer that a person has held onto an identity of any sort, the harder it will be to entice that person to act in ways which contradict their identity. The fear of reevaluating one’s own identity is at the root of the fear of trying new things. If you do what scares you, though the initial fear of doing it may be intense, the harder task is to reevaluate what other things you’ve labelled yourself to be afraid of without much reason.
Getting others to try new things thereby, is the act of opening up doors for them which they’ve lost the key for. As an outsider into their psyche, you have the capacity to bring with you a universal combination key. Your ability to get people to discover new things depends on your words and actions being organized in perfect combination with the hope of opening the locks to doors they’ve long had closed. This article will attempt to provide two guiding principles to follow in your attempts to get people to try new things.
Fear of Failure Is Mitigated by Allowing Them to Do It Badly
We don’t like doing what we’re not good at. This inclination to veer away from things we’re less skilled at is counter-intuitive however. Because if the goal is to become good at something, then doing it over and over again is the first step in the process of building skill. On your way to enticing people to try something new, you’ll notice that some will be governed by a fear of failing at whatever it is you’re asking them to do. People have a fear of doing something badly not only because it may be embarrassing, but because they perceive it to be dangerous as well. If a person jumps off a 20-foot cliff for the first time in a manner which results in a belly flop onto the surface of the water, that instance would not only be an embarrassing one, but will also be one of great personal danger to them.
Allow people to do things badly to limit embarrassment as well as to get over their fear of danger. It’s critical to allow people the option to fail over and over again when the stakes are low, in an attempt to make them try new things. The 20-foot cliff can be a goal you work up to with your fellow diver, and the 5-foot drop across the bay may be a better place to start. When the stakes are lowered, the levels of embarrassment and danger as a result of failure are as well. Whenever possible, try to lower the stakes when there is danger involved in the task at hand.
If no danger is involved, then focus your efforts in making the other person comfortable to fail in their attempts. If you take a friend to play billiards for the first time, give them freedom to play badly. Allow them to have fun in their first experiments, and do not create an atmosphere where high skill is a necessity to fit in.
Sell Facets of Self Improvement
People strive to improve themselves because the act of doing so provides a more meaningful life. Meaning is at the base of much of what we do. Whether you label your meaning as a religious deity, a scientific truth, or simply the well-being of the ones you hold dear to you, a quest for meaning is the quest we’re often on.
When attempting to get people to try new things, try to connect their efforts to facets of self improvement. We all want to improve ourselves, and the exploration of new things and ideas is an essential step in doing so. Try to connect the already established interests that person has, to the new behavior you’re trying to get them to sample. Exclaim that jumping off a 20-foot cliff into the clear blue water will make it easier to jump in and voice their thoughts at important meetings at work. Tell them that playing billiards is good practice for improved hand-eye coordination, and that going on a canoe trip for the first time will provide perspective on how to best release the stresses of everyday life.
The key to providing meaning for them to attach to, is to evaluate the reason you partake in that specific behavior yourself. Try to dig deep, and answer the question of what about that behavior provides meaning in your life. Strive away from simplistic answers such as it being fun and adrenaline inducing. Be self-reflective and precise in answering why do you do what you do. Provide a reason for the discovery of meaning in your attempts to get people to try new things. If there isn’t a clear, and believable, connection to something meaningful in asking someone to try new things, they’ll be less likely to attempt.