Tommy can swim, can you?

samaasaa vihavumah - a tribute (for the times that fun runs out of hand)
Creative Commons License photo credit: notsogoodphotography

At the beginning of this year, I decided to pick up and read Robert Cialdini’s book, Persuasion, again.

By the way, If you’re involved in anything concerning business, marketing, or human psychology, pick up that book today. Persuasion is practically a part of marketing canon. It’s a very easy, entertaining, and insightful read.

Moving along, I recently stumbled upon a passage about Cialdini’s son, Chris, that detailed the father’s frustrating and failed attempts to make the 3-year-old swim without his inflatable inner tube. The father had failed at convincing his son otherwise. Even Cialdini’s graduate student, who was a former lifeguard, had failed.

However, after going to pick his son up from camp one day, Cialdini watched his son run and jump into the deepest end of the pool. Visibly excited and shocked (and relieved that his son hadn’t drowned), he asked how he was able to swim without the ring. Chris cooly explained: “Well, I’m three years old, and Tommy is three years old. And Tommy can swim without a ring, so that means I can too.”

All it took for Chris to get over his hurdle and achieve swimming success was to see someone whom he could identify with doing the same thing. Chris couldn’t relate to a tall, college-age lifeguard. But he could identify with Tommy, someone who looked and acted just like him. All Cialdini’s son needed was a relevant point of reference.

Could something so simple be the push you need to help you get over your hurdle? Perhaps, all you need to motivate you into that proverbial next gear is to find someone you can easily identify with who has already done it. Maybe, it’s a single mother. Or, it could be a college dropout. How about someone who’s close to your age?

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t make it to the level of success you deserve? Or maybe you just don’t know how you’re going to get there. Instead of an older mentor, what you might need is a motivational peer — someone you can identify with; a person with whom you can relate.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I didn’t get that “push” I needed until I was able to find someone I could relate to as well. In my case, it came in the form of two great buddies of mine, Alejandro Reyes and Jermaine Griggs — a couple of very young, motivated, spiritual, and wildly successful men. The fact that business — and even life, in general — took off in a new direction after getting to know them has not been lost on me.

So, Tommy can succeed… Can you?

By the way, welcome back to the blog. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the support. And as always, feel free to drop me a line sometime.


#1 Ryan Stephens on 01.18.09 at 9:03 am

This is advice is so simple, yet so profound, and I think that’s what I like about both this post and Cialdini’s work.

When I first started blogging I tried to compare by blog to all the big gurus, because that’s where I wanted to be. That was the platform I wanted to achieve in order to help the most people.

Instead of learning from what they did well though, I became caught up with the fact that they posted 7 times a week, and I couldn’t. They could get guest bloggers with a snap of their fingers and I couldn’t.

What really helped my blog start approaching the turning point was when I joined the Brazen Community and started connecting with and following blogs a lot more like my own. Seeing that they were a lot more like me gave me the confidence I needed to not get discouraged and keep pushing.

Here’s to pushing each other in 2009!

And thanks for the guest post my man!

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#2 Eric Phillipson on 03.13.09 at 5:57 am

Great stuff, Deontee!

It’s amazing how the people around you can really be the biggest key to your success, just by watching how they act.

It all goes back to mentors.

Keep it up man!

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#3 Hurtownia Tkanin on 06.08.09 at 7:08 am

I read the book just for fun and it was awesome! Cialdini can really draw the reader to his words. Brilliant author.

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