Posts Tagged With: the art of persuasion

The Art of Persuasion: Present One Improved Unit at a Time

by Todd Walker

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Two teenagers went to high school together. These two young men were very much alike. They played on the same sports teams, got good grades, graduated together, dreamed of the future, and went off to college.

On a warm July night, after 30 years of not seeing each other, they reconnected at their high school reunion.

Their lives had turned out very similar. They were happily married, had children, and both men, it turns out, had become teachers. But that’s where the similarities stopped. One resembled his school picture. The other did not.

What made the difference?

All those years, 4 kids, and 100 + pounds later, I didn’t recognize my once close friend. Then his voice boomed…

“What’s up, Spanky!”

“OMG, that’s you!?” I almost said out loud, as we spent time catching up and toasted our high school antics.

Have you ever wondered, like I did that night, what makes two people with similar backgrounds, intelligence, and dreams turn out differently? It wasn’t that my buddy didn’t understand what was causing his weight to explode. He’s a very smart guy. The difference for all of us is not knowledge, but how we apply what we know.

My friend had changed physically. So had I. I use to have hair on my head. But physically, I’m at my high school football weight. I actually feel I’m in better shape than when I was 18. And no, it’s not because I have superior genes or a high fat-burning metabolism. It’s just that I started taking responsibility for went into my mouth.

Before you think I’m lowering the boom on my good friend, stop. I know the place he’s in. Just three years ago, I was 50 pounds over my high school weight. My joints ached. I suffered from IBS, battled constant heart burn, and had very little energy. How did I turn that crappy life into a health optimizing lifestyle?

I improved the only unit I had control over – ME.

You are the only unit you can improve. Your body, your happiness, your health, your preparedness, your career, your skills, your knowledge, your dreams, your passions… are YOURS. Your responsible. In our blame-someone-or-something-else culture, scapegoats are easily found – for any and all scenarios.

Saying the unsayable

“It’s not my fault” are the last words of losers. Harsh words, I know. But someone has to say the unsayable.

Is it really your spouse/significant other that’s holding you back from living your dream?

Is it your responsibility to convince loved ones, friends, and co-workers of anything – especially prepping? Maybe not. Surely you’re not suggesting that we take this non-direct approach when trying to persuade others on the importance of preparedness and self-sufficiency, do you? That’s exactly what I’m saying.

In an earlier post, I asked for real life experiences with persuading friends and loved to join you in your journey to preparedness. You can read the response in the comment section here. The main theme I got from y’all was to live by example. This may be your best option.

We’ve all got our own reasons for living as prepared as possible. However, I’ve begun to look at it in a different way completely. I’ll share my approach at the end of this article. But first…

Let’s evaluate the effectiveness of direct approaches of persuasion. 

1.) Stab ’em with a harpoon. In this method, you stand on the deck of your ark and throw a harpoon into the school of fish swimming by in the sea of ignorance. With luck and spear chucking skills, you’ll real one into to safety. Miss and they all swim by and are lost forever.

How’s the harpoon method been going for you?

2.) You had me at hello. This approach works for folks who don’t need a lot of convincing. They already know and trust you. Or you were referred to them by someone they respect. When I invested in real estate, my mentor always said, “If people like you, they’ll listen to you. If they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

It’s an easy “sell.” They buy on your first conversation. But when they dig deeper and weight the costs, they sometimes run away.

3.) The yellow highlighter. I know. You can’t even read the word “yellow” when its yellow. But you’ve all seen this method in ads for merchandise or political flyers. This letter is sent out to as many people as possible in hopes of converting a small percentage. The yellow letters detail the important stuff on why you should buy. The problem with this traditional method is it’s traditional. People are smarter than they look sometimes. Savvy folks need more than the fancy color your using. These guys and gals respond to logic and reason.

Do what the sign on your truck says

Millions of people are starting to wake up to their need to prepare and build self-sufficiency into their lives. But when your spouse, parent, or child looks at you as if you have three heads when the subject of prepping comes up, it may be time to try a new strategy.

Here’s what I mean.

In practical terms, be the change you want to see. If the sign on your truck reads “Sherpa’s Plumbing and Heating”, do what your sign says. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a prepper, prep. Plumbers plumb – writers write – preppers prep.

In other words, talk is cheap. If all you do is talk about being prepared, you influence no one. You’re not leading. You’re just taking a long walk by yourself. You look back and nobody is following.

Those closest to you will see your improved life (health and fitness, self-reliance, resilience, etc.) and will either choose to change or not. Your job is to be there if they show interest. Hitting them over the head with The Encyclopedia of Country Living doesn’t work. They want the real deal in living color.

When we boil all this down to simplest form, all we can do to change anyone’s attitude is to present one improved unit.

That unit is you.

What’s your approach? Let us know in the comment section.

Categories: Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Two Replies on the Art of Persuasion

by Todd Walker

Subtle nudges work best for some. For others, bright flashing headlines are needed. It all depends on the individual. Uncovering the best strategy is difficult. There’s no set formula in persuading others.

Sure, there are tips and tricks used by snake-oil salesmen. But we’re not selling secret elixirs.

If you’ve ever persuaded someone to begin prepping, however large or small the step, I’d like to hear from you for an upcoming article.


Here are two replies from yesterday’s post – with light editing from the comment section for easy reading.

Lee writes on history and faith in God:

In my mind, history is the most powerful and persuasive method of motivating people toward preparedness. History reveals that there are always conspiracies, there are always new wars, and disasters will eventually come. Nothing remains the same forever, history proves that we are always in a state of flux and that game will come.

If it is bad for you or the area where you live now, eventually things will change for the better. But if it is all good in your life and where you live, you can bet that eventually hard times will come.

How did our predecessors fare when the changes came and why? What families were best able to cope with that blizzard, that hurricane or that great earthquake? How did people survive major catastrophes in the past? I asked many of the generation who lived through the great depression here in Alabama how they coped with the hardship. Their answer was that they were so poor and lived off of the land anyway that they hardly even noticed the depression. They were already living in survival mode when the depression struck!

I found that those people lived their lives knowing that there next meal depended on God. It was He that gave rain and sunshine in the right proportions for their crops to grow and the harvest to be bountiful. One bad year and they would have starved! That bit of history tells me that if another such depression comes it will probably be the people who are already in survival mode that will be the least affected by it, and it will be those who trust God more than in themselves or in Governments who will ultimately survive.

History clearly shows that no one is guaranteed to survive any specific event, but those who have thought ahead and are better mentally, spiritually and physically prepared have the best chance of survival.

My own personal survival preparedness depends more on my faith in God than on my own skills and ability to prepare. I know that it is impossible to be prepared for every event, so I simply do what I can and what is reasonable and what seems prudent, then I trust God with the rest.

If I survive it will be because God willed it to be in the same way that my next breath will come. My life here was given by God and when the time comes it will be taken in and by His will. Those who depend only on themselves and their own abilities and preparations are doomed to failure.

Lynne writes on food insurance:

25 years ago, my brother-in-law preached doom-and-gloom, that the end times were coming. We laughed at him, thought he was cuckoo. As I’ve gotten “older and wiser”, I understand more of what he was saying.

Although I don’t openly show family my preps. If they see my food pantry and start asking me WTH, I’ll just offer some generic advice such as, “well, the paper industry (my hubby’s profession), is closing mills all over the country…he could lose his job next week, this is food insurance”. They don’t know about the weapons/ammo.


Maybe you could share how you got started prepping. Was it a single event, book, blog, or conversation? Leave your thoughts in the comment sections if you’d like.

Thanks for your help,


Categories: Preparedness | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Real-Life Help Requested for Research on Persuasion

by Todd Walker

How many people are buying what you’re selling?

The art of persuasion: Placard with persuasion slogan

Last week I had an email conversation with Gaye Levy over at Backdoor Survival. I wondered how we could reach more folks with the message of practical preparedness. It got me thinking… and asking…

Have you ever wondered, like I have, what makes two people of equal intelligence and very much alike choose completely different options when it comes to preparedness.

Even members of the same family, raise by the same parents, often don’t turn out the same. There’s one that chooses to prepare for the future and the other thinks her “prepper” brother has lost his ever-loving mind and totally cuckoo.

Forgive me for using the cliché “two minds are better than one,” but I’m researching how to better persuade reluctant family members and friends to begin preparing and building resilience and need your help.

There are articles on this specific topic on the net. What I’m looking for though, is specific strategies, tips and techniques you personally have used or witnessed first hand. Even stories of how a toddler might have flipped the prepper switch on for you. Nothing is off-limits.

You can send your tips to me on my blog in the comment section, email (survivalsherpa at gmail dot com), or Twitter. After I get the real-life stories together, I’ll publish the article, giving credit to all who assisted (or leave you anonymous – whatever you like).

Thanks in advance for your insight and help – you persuasive prepper, you!

Keep doing the stuff,


Categories: Preparedness | Tags: , | 10 Comments

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