Humans act in defiance of outside sources telling them what to do.

If you desire someone to do something, tell them that they won’t do it.

“I know you’re not going to do this, but I’m going to ask you anyway.”
“I know you always do this, and I know you’re going to, but I’m going to ask you not to do it this time.”
“I know you won’t listen to me, no matter what I tell you, but I’m asking you to do this thing for me. Even though I know you’re not going to do it.”

If you want someone to do ChoiceA, tell them that they’re going to do ChoiceB. They’ll usually do ChoiceA just to prove you wrong. I have found this to be surprisingly effective (probably 90%) for such a simple tactic.

People don’t like being told that they’re predictable. People don’t like feeling like they don’t have free will. Telling someone that you already know what they’re going to do gives them the desire to do the opposite, just to prove you wrong. And they will, almost every single time.

Try it.

And watch as their natural inclinations toward disagreeing with authority turn against them, causing them to do the very thing you told them they weren’t going to do.

The irony here is that people choose the other option just to prove you wrong that they aren’t predictable, when the entire reason you’re doing this is because they indeed are predictable, and you’re still controlling their actions.

The title of this post alone has made this entry one of the most viewed articles on my blog, precisely because people pay immediate attention to someone attempting to tell us what we will or won’t do. I titled it that way on purpose to show this effect.

You won’t try this, though. Because you think it won’t work. That you’re “above” such tactics.

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