Exert Your Will: A Small Amount of Resistance Goes A Long Way

In Blog, Discipline, Mental Toughness, People Skills

Several hundred University of California Ssan Diego students gathered on the walkway in front of Geisel Library Tuesday Nov. 18, 2014 in a sit-in to protest a proposed hike in tuition of up to five percent for the next five years. Amani Proctor, a third-year student from Fresno is shadowed on a sign she holds up during the protest. (AP Photo/The U-T San Diego, John Gastaldo}

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Too often, we accept things as they are – or as they are told to us – without questioning, challenging nor outright resisting.

Too often, we accept things as they are - or as they are told to us - without questioning, challenging nor outright resisting. Click To Tweet

I saw this video recently (couldn’t find the link – apparently this happens a lot) of a situation at some American university. Some guy was invited to speak there, and many students, apparently, weren’t too happy about his presence. When the invited speaker was introduced, before he could say a single word on the microphone, a student in the audience stood and began reading a prepared statement.

About 30 seconds into the reading, ten more students stood up and continued the statement in unison. Then, an entire row of students stood up, continuing the statement. In all, about 60 audience members finished the statement, standing in unison.

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Once the prepared statement was done, this obviously-organized group began coordinated anti-speaker chants. Mind you, this point is about 8 minutes after the invited speaker had stepped to the podium and the chants began. The speaker had not yet been able to get a word in.

The students had no intention, it seemed, of stopping. They completely drowned this guy out with organized action. 

Eventually, some school administrator guy stepped to the podium microphone to ask the protesting students to allow the invited speaker to say his piece. The students responded by protesting louder and even more fervently. Another administrator tried the same plea, only to be rebuked even harder.

Eventually, the school decided to move to a quiet room and have a private one-on-one conversation with the invited speaker, on camera, and stream the video feed into the same room where the protests had spoiled the original plans.

Well, the students protested over the top of the video stream, too.

Long story short, this 60-person, organized, peaceful (but loud) protest shut this event down completely.

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I went to the doctor for a return visit a week ago. I’d paid $45 for the visit before. But the new front desk woman told me the visit would be $150 because “things had changed since my last visit.”

I told her that I would be paying $45, and not one cent more. She and the rest of the staff could do what they needed to do to make that happen – because that is what would happen, I told her. 

They figured it out. I paid $45. 

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Understand that these examples can work in reverse too. Since people rarely question or resist what’s presented to them, you can be the one (ethically) dictating things. See how easily people will accept your will when you make choice to exert it. See how easily people will accept your will when you make choice to exert it. Click To Tweet

Two things, though:

  1. When doing this, make sure you’re presenting directives and statements, not questions. Some people have a bad habit of delivering statements in the form of questions. It communicates a lack of confidence.
  2. Don’t abuse the power, because it will work. 

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