How to Earn Their Trust and Stop the Nagging

There’s generally a big lag time between the time you make a change and the time that change is recognized.

You undoubtedly noticed this as a child.  You demonstrate you know something, or know how to perform some task, but you still get instructions or warnings each time you’re about to repeat that task.  The first time a kid uses a knife, the mom is right there, making sure he doesn’t cut his finger off.  After a few successful attempts, she might back away, but kids get that “careful with that knife!” warning for 10 years.

You’ve probably noticed this in a relationship too.  You say you’ll start cleaning your dishes, or walking the dog, or whatever.  But still, every night you get assaulted with “Did you walk the dog yet?”

The same is true for brands.  Audi cars were pieces of shit for years.  If you told your buddy you were thinking about buying one, he’d tackle you before you got to the dealership if he knew anything about cars.

This phenomena is perfectly understandable.  Talk is cheap.  I can say I know how to handle a knife, or that I’ll walk the dog, or that next year’s model is going to be much better.  But people don’t have fruit-fly memories.  Even if I manage not to cut my fingers off or walk the dog for a few days, even if next year’s model is much better, that’s just an anomaly in a long string of shaky performance.

This phenomena is also really frustrating when you do actually change.  You work hard to gain a new skill, or master some field, or build a habit, but you’re still treated like you were before the change.  You’ve only got two options to overcome this.  The first one, is to stick it out.

If you string together enough successes, that becomes the expectation.  Now, if I cut my finger off when I’m making breakfast, it’ s a horrible, unexpected accident.  If I walk the dog every night for six months, it’s weird if I suddenly miss a night.  If Audi releases a bad model, it’s “huh, wonder what happened?  Well, the next model won’t do that.”

But there’s a second, much faster option: Wow them.  If the kid practices to the point where he can show off some impressive knife skills, those mom-warnings end much, much sooner.  If Audi releases a car that tops any comparable Mercedes or BMW, the shitty reputation dies almost instantly.

Both options take a lot of work.  You actually have to make the change.  Option two requires even more work up front, but the benefit is you earn their trust almost immediately, which lets you move on to the next goal that much faster.

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