When You Should Not Be Persuasive

The science of persuasion is rightfully seen as an important modern skill. Whether it’s convincing your boss on a certain course of action or sleeping with a woman, persuasion is needed to get what you want from other people.

Persuasion techniques are best used on one-off transactions that don’t require your target to make a long-term commitment. For example:

  • getting a girl to come back to your apartment for a drink
  • selling a used car to a reluctant buyer
  • asking a restaurant manager for freebies or a refund
  • convincing your parent to buy you a large birthday gift
  • selling an ebook to a new customer

In the above cases, persuasion can overcome mild interest to complete the transaction in your favor (any buyer’s remorse that results is unlikely to cause a reversal). You only had to be persuasive enough to get the target to say yes the one time.

But persuasion should not be used in situations that require multiple transactions or strenuous effort for your target over a prolonged period of time. For example:

  • encouraging a man to learn game
  • convincing a man to work for your company
  • pushing someone into starting a blog or writing a book
  • giving a gym membership as a gift
  • persuading a girl to stay in a relationship with you

Persuasion is enough to hijack the brain for a short amount of time, but once its power wears off, your target will enter a new emotional state, lose motivation, and quit. In other words, you can not get someone to do a sustained behavior unless that person has true desire and will. Any attempt on your part to push them will only cause completion of one or two initial steps before they drop out.

When I want someone to embark on a particular journey, I make it a point to be flat, unemotional, and nearly forgetful of stating the endeavor’s benefits, because I know any convincing on my part will temporarily distort their desire and cause them to agree, only to quit well before the journey’s end. Yet when it comes to a transaction, the first no just gets me warmed up. In fact, I expect it, and then pursue the matter like a good salesman would. I’ll convince a girl to bang me, but not to commit to me. I’ll convince my brother to do one approach on a girl he likes, but not to learn game. I’ll convince a guy to do an extra set at the gym, but not to adopt a new training program. Mold a person’s desire for one day or one transaction, never more.

This is a reason why motivation doesn’t work. Going to a seminar just pushes you to the next step of your action item list, but after you complete it and realize there is still a long way to go, you revert back to your de-motivated state. Without a guru constantly yelling in your ear, you don’t press forward. Therefore the problem with idleness and procrastination is not motivation, but one of inner desire. In order to work hard for a goal, you must greatly want it.

If you need motivation to do something, you must stop and re-examine your desire instead of seeking a further injection of motivation that will wear off in short time. When it comes to true accomplishment and success, persuading yourself or others is a strategy that simply does not work.

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  1. Sombro November 22, 2013 at 9:24 am

    An old trick in persuading someone is that it’s in *their* best interest and not your own.

    1. Jonson November 22, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Okay, but what’s your point? That’s still a short term persuasion tactic if the person doesn’t have a true inner drive to change. Your observation does not add or take away anything from the main point.

      The problem with the manosphere is that because it has a lot of smart guys, you get these pedantic responses designed to showcase something smart a person knows, but that actually don’t actually add anything substantial to the discussion.

      1. Sombro November 22, 2013 at 10:05 pm

        Like Roosh said, there’s a time to be persuasive, and a time not to be.
        It’s knowing human nature, first and foremost.
        Lighten up, Francis.

  2. Joe Dick November 22, 2013 at 9:41 am

    it’s a big subject. Obviously, there are the talkers. Or the people who don’t do shit all day and say ‘one day’. But there are still people with strong inner desire who lose motivation. But yeah, don’t waste your breath on the talkers. As for everybody else, let’s face it: things can be fucking hard. For some, they are much harder. The problem is that if you don’t get a minimum of success, before long, you WILL quit. You can’t keep doing something for no concrete benefits and keep doing it for long.

  3. Byronicmate November 22, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Thanks Roosh

  4. Tony D November 22, 2013 at 11:48 am

    In a way all seduction material seems to market a form of persuasion, but seduction shouldn’t be that way. For a girl, you should be the obvious choice for her affection.

    My little brothers weren’t reading books. All they did was play video games and surf Reddit. I bitched them out a few times but that didn’t motivate them. So Instead I packed up fifteen of my favourite books and brought them to their house. I said, “I don’t care if you read these, but leave them out. Don’t hide them in a closet.”

    My little brother picked up The War of Art and it motivated him to start Djing.

    It’s best to let people think it was “their” idea. Whatever that idea was. But sometimes you need to create an objective of desire, or an environment of motivation.

  5. Adrian November 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Desire really is at the root of success. It gives you the grit to achieve your goals in the face of your fears. Those who realise this and write about it, as you have, tend to approach desire in a you-need-to-fix-this manner, though their subtext simultaneously suggests desire is immutable. Do you think that’s the case? If you examine yourself honestly, and see that you have low desire (or low relative to your fear), whether for a job or for a girl or to start a blog, can this be ‘fixed’? Can you increase your desire? Or must you accept that you will never have the drive to push yourself, and thus will never achieve those goals. I realise the questions as phrased somewhat ironically seek a motivational answer. However, I am genuinely interested in you honest thoughts about this.

  6. Mike November 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    A lot of Napoleon Hill in this post. Great piece!

  7. Kasagi November 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    This is what drives me crazy about the medical community. Every patient that walks through that door more or less knows what they should and shouldn’t be doing but maybe 5-10% of them actually do anything and these people seldom show up to the office anyways. Most people have such a weak will that they need a 24/7 nanny to make sure they’re not fucking up.

    I’d put money that this is where quite a few religions came from, a bunch of self-driven dudes got so sick of wasting their time trying to plug everyone else’s dykes that they invented some all powerful being with a strict set of rules that watched you 24/7 so that they finally had the time to pursue their own interests.

  8. Gojira November 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    this is very useful, thank you roosh, the ideia in this post seems fresh and original, i’ve read a lot about motivation, but this is the best piece on the theme

  9. Supramax November 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Impressive and insightful post Roosh. There’s an ugly truth underlying it: most people don’t really desire much.
    I remember a high school teacher saying that among the poeple he’s known it was not the smartest that made a lot of money, it was the people who really wanted to make a lot of money who made a lot of money.
    I was at a motivational seminar in 2010 and Mike Ditka (among Rudy Guiliani, Joe Montana, Colin Powell, Zig Ziglar, Terry Bradshaw, Genl McChrystal – that army general who got fired, etc. etc.) was the best speaker: he said “I cannot motivate you. That’s your job. I can inspire you some maybe”. I went to his restaurant later and caught him on the stairs and told him his was by far the best talk. He skipped the best quote that I know him for though “You’re only a loser when you stop trying”
    I’ll say about that seminar thought that it’s good to get out of your rut/routine, open a window, and pay attention to what some people have made it say about success. They key message is that almost anything is possible – that’s not a message people hear enough in intimate terms. That seminar was enough to start me down the road to game among other things. In other words it was a kick in the ass I needed. Some people need a kick in the ass – put that concept in the mix.

    1. Leroy Decox November 22, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      I love that quote McChrystal gave. If you’ve been around a lot of military peoe its like they possess a wisdom other humans don’t. That should be he most frustrated of men’s game slogan “you’re only a loser
      if you stop trying”. Man as fine as all these women are out here I’m gonna love and chase pussy till I’m gone.

  10. Aurini November 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    This is why the Psychopath is so terrible to be around (the egoistic manipulator, not the anti-social personality disorder). They never stop being manipulative and persuasive – its’ their way of manufacturing a reality – but eventually it all comes crumbling down.

    Usually they have a golden parachute, though.

    1. monster221 November 23, 2013 at 4:32 am

      this is not necessarily true. manipulation by its purest definition is the end goal of all communication between people and even animals. every word you mutter to another person is an attempt to elicit a desired response from them. even by appealing to their reasoning you are attempting to hijack their mental machinery to get them to perform, even something as simple as changing their mind about something. much of the time the act is even benevolent, like trying to get someone off drugs or whatever. but it is always maniplulation.

      as far as a sociopath goes, lets take the analogy of the efficient vs inefficient parasite. the efficient parasite wants its host to continue unaffected, maybe even form a symbiotic relationship with mutual benefits. the inefficient parasite kills its host and in the process loses its source of whatever it is getting. its the same with the sociopath. many are inefficient, and when they destroy those around them their castle comes crumbling down. but there are many that understand, even if they dont feel it, that they must maintain and even nourish those they manipulate else at the very least they will lose a source of something. they may even go so far as to not want to hurt that person. some have been known to care, not emotionally, but to logically conclude that they must care about others.

      1. Aurini November 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

        Even the efficient parasite, however, won’t have their eyes on the end game – call it “morality” – they might be a successful and undetectable parasite, but their #1 priority is always control. Even if letting go of control would result in a better world, and more happiness for them, they’ll maintain control. They don’t know how to do anything else.

        They can be used, but they’re stressful to deal with.

      2. g November 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm

        Might be true but the word manipulation has a different connotation that suggests harming others in the process. I guess influencing would be more neutral.

  11. Steve November 22, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I am in sales and use a lot about what you talk about here. Took me a few years to learn, but once I learned this mindset combined with good conversation skills my results skyrocket. It’s such a great feeling knowing I have the power to get what I want out of any interaction.

  12. Buddy Orion November 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I believe this relates to every single motivational video or speech I’ve ever watched. Listen to any successful man speak, and he will tell you the key to success to want it from within. Roosh has explained why that is the only way spot on!

  13. the phantom wanker November 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    i totally just blew my load all over a sleeping feminist

  14. R November 22, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Question for those who’ve ran game for a while-
    Is it just me or the more girls you approach after you started learning game the better your prospects become?

    If you think about there’s a lot of good looking women out here.

    I got my first 9s number today- blonde Claudia Schiffer looking German. A year ago I wouldn’t have believed it- thnk you Roosh and Ross Jeffries my two favorite game gurus.

  15. Put some ds on that bitch November 22, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Tell your little brother to game his ass off especial in college. Man I was so afraid in college and regret it now. Tell him to do one approach a day and he will love the man in the mirror. I used to repulse 8s now they smile and ask me how my week was. Game is a beautiful thing. He’s crazy if he doesn’t game his ass off at his age. There are so many to girls in college- really he should go to a school with to a of gorgeous white girls like Arizona State in Tempe, Chico State, University of Georgia Athens, Auburn University (home of monster tit Southern Country girls), Penn State, etc. make us proud little bro and keep the college girls moaning.

  16. Baobab November 23, 2013 at 1:54 am

    “How to motivate yourself to do something? Don’t, just stay in the shit where you are”. Artemiy Lebedev, Russian designer.

  17. monster221 November 23, 2013 at 4:22 am

    as a very persuasive man myself, i can tell you the #1 reason not to use persuasion for any response requiring commitment. ready?

    using persuasion to get someone to commit to something requires extended maintenence until the commitment is ended. this generally ends in much wasted time as the person generally doesnt complete the commitment. not to mention the fallout that comes with this, squandering that persons potential usefulness, them telling people bad things about you, etc. in the event that they follow through, with your constant maintenence of course, the end result is not worth the effort. why constantly work someone to do something when you can do the work yourself or have someone happily do it on their own without needing much out of you?

    using persuasion for long term goals is a counterproductive and extremely inefficient means to your end.

    there are other means to create autonamous working people that require no effort yet continue to perform. you can get a lot of small things done with persuasion, but for big things you need more effective means. these range from creating genuine yet unsuspected desire in them to achieve your means, to incentivising the work getting done to simply finding people who already want to be doing what you need done. im sure others can come up with many more. they generally require more work initially, but far less than actually doing everything you want them to do yourself.

  18. seductionsextravel November 23, 2013 at 4:27 am

    I agree with you that motivation doesn’t work, especially in the long-run, If you have to motivate yourself to do something or to follow a path, it is not your path.

    I am also skeptical concerning those motivation seminars where they promise you to change your life by just screaming a few words into your ears. The thing what I have noticed is, that 99% of the people go out of such a seminar feeling like a king….for one day. On the second day they feel better than before the seminar and on the third day everything is the same as before.

    But there is this tiny 1% of people who wanted to change their life and wanted to follow their dreams before they went to the seminar. They just needed a kick in the ass. On the long-run their motivation also has to come from within…otherwise they won’t pursue their goal.

  19. HaL November 24, 2013 at 7:23 am

    since when is buyng a car not a long term commitment?

    1. gaoxiaen November 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      When you pay cash for a clunker.

    2. Black Sheep December 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      The seller, only needs to convince you to buy once.

  20. Dr. Jeremy November 24, 2013 at 10:29 am


    I think it is important to make the distinction between Extrinsic Motivation (influence coming from a source external to the person) and Intrinsic Motivation (desire that is within the person). Yes, persuasion is mainly a form of extrinsic motivation, compelling others to do something that may not be in line with their own internal desires. However, persuasion can also be used to highlight, amplify, and refocus other people’s intrinsic motivation.

    For example, many gamers will be familiar with NLP. One of the goals of NLP is to assess people’s intrinsic motivation and desires. Those motivating factors can then be linked or anchored to motivate other behaviors, for the longer term. In essence, this allows the person’s own internal energy and desire to perpetuate the behavioral change…rather than constantly having to resupply it with fresh persuasion from the outside. This is much better, especially when considering long-term relationship goals.

    1. Black Sheep December 1, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      Psychologists like to differentiate between what they call intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. I find that to be a blurry line, and there have been studies showing it to be false, like getting kids to study by giving them things (actually works). Getting money, impressing girl, what is exactly extrinsic and what is intrinsic? Besides, they like to claim extrinsic is stronger than instrinsic. Well, I don’t know who the hell can read a book (intrinsic) while not eating for a day (extrinsic).

      1. Dr. Jeremy December 1, 2013 at 8:31 pm

        Indeed. Motivation is on a spectrum from Intrinsic to Extrinsic. Over time, what is extrinsic can even become more internalized. Cutting it up into two distinct categories is for convenience of discussion and understanding. Nevertheless, no study that I know of shows either to be “false”. Nor is there any claim that one is “stronger”, as there are strengths and weaknesses to each side of the spectrum.

        In any case, your comment does not negate my assertion above that more “extrinsic” sources of motivation are better for immediate influence, while motivation more toward the “intrinsic” end better sustains long-term behavior change. If you use food to motivate reading (more extrinsic), then you have to feed someone every time you want them to read. If you cultivate a joy of reading (more intrinsic), then the individual will read for a lifetime without further influence necessary. It seems pretty simple that the more the person motivates their own behavior (more intrinsic), the less persuasion you will need to provide from the outside (extrinsic).

  21. Ovechkin8 November 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Who would EVER take advise from you?! You’re perpetually single, dumb, and ugly!!!

  22. g status November 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    exactly what I needed. thanks

  23. Aaron1960 December 2, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Selling houses, or any other product, I was taught to never be more enthusiastic about the product than the prospect. If you are continually promoting features & benefits, you’re selling. People being ‘sold’ almost always resist.
    Let the prospect make their own discoveries, act not surprised but let them guide themselves. It sucks dragging any prospect to the closing table. More work than it’s worth.

  24. Issic December 9, 2013 at 2:26 am

    Some individuals are non persuasive, while some are prone to persuasion and yet some are at the center, only shifting after assessing what they’ve been told, to make a calculated determination.