Have you ever wanted to play great piece of music, but don’t seem to be able to start?
Wanted to apply for a job but keep hesitating?
Had a project that was too tedious to finish? Or even new equipment for your music studio that you’ve wanted to order?
What happened afterwards?
Sometimes, it’s insanely hard to do the best things in life, because we get the idea that there’s a perfect ‘time’ to start. What can we do about it?
Why persuasion is powerful
In the 1940s, the US government wanted citizens to consume animal organs (like liver), because most conventional meat was sent overseas.
Psychologist Lewin and his team knew that housewives were the food gatekeepers in charge of planning meals, so they gathered two groups of housewives:
- They lectured Group A on benefits of consuming animal organs, like many health campaigns do today.
- Group B discussed ways of convincing other people to change their diet.
Guess what happened?
Nearly five times more families in Group B changed diets. In other words, by trying persuading others, they’d successfully persuaded themselves.
How to practice productively
You might be thinking, “Okay, why does this matter? I’m not trying to persuade anyone.”
If you can convince someone else that you’ll achieve a goal, like memorize a piece of music or apply for a teaching position, then you’re more likely to do it.
But let’s take that a step further. We know that talking to a buddy, or a Mom figure, helps us strive for success in the practice room and onstage, but can we measure the outcome– what’s so valuable about having a mentor/mentee relationship?
While we can’t track things like happiness and motivation accurately, we can look at a few career numbers.
Sun Microsystems compared the career progress of about 1,000 employees over a 5-year period, and you might be surprised at what they found:
- Mentors and mentees were about 20% more likely to get a raise than everyone else
- In particular, 25% of mentees and 28% of mentors got a raise (vs 5% of managers who weren’t mentors)
- Employees who had mentors were five times more likely to get promoted, than people who didn’t
- And the mentors? They were six times more likely to get a bigger job.
Remember– this is clear evidence, but there are other benefits to being in a mentor/mentee relationship, like happiness and satisfaction, that we can’t track so clearly.
What does this mean for you?
We all have moments where we feel down or uninspired– that’s fine. There are ways around getting to goals even when you don’t feel inspired. For example, try persuading someone else that you’re going to reach a goal. Make it sound certain, how you’ll get off your butt and do x.
And secondly, do you have a mentor in your life or career? Perhaps a Mom figure or teacher– someone who will pick you up no matter what, out of pure love?
Why don’t you try to stay in touch with them? They’ll be glad to hear what you’re up to, and the mentor/mentee relationship will improve everyone’s lives.
In the Western world, we tend to leave our teachers and mentors behind. In Japan, students tend to stay close to their teachers as they progress through life– I even know of someone who invited an elementary school teacher to her wedding in Japan.
You can take the mentor relationship to wherever you’re comfortable, but even a simple thank-you out of the blue will make someone’s day. Take a moment to look at this Experiment in Gratitude video.
A big high-five to all the Moms and mentors out there– you’ve made someone’s life brighter. Thank you for the unconditional love you give. And thank you to my mom, who has been known to collapse from fatigue waiting at my piano lessons.