The move in the middle's a great place to start. But sometimes, we need to change minds of a broader set of people, people who are further away, people on that other side of the field. So how do we do that? Well, imagine sitting at work when you get a call on your cellphone. The caller introduces themselves as a representative from the Consumers Union and asked if you'd be willing to participate in a survey. It will involve the Consumers Union coming to your house, categorizing all your household products, and just to make sure they get all that necessary information, they'll need to have full access to your entire home, including your cupboards and storage spaces just in case they need to root through them or maybe only five or six people will come by. It shouldn't take more than a couple hours, maybe an afternoon or so. By the way, they want you to do this on a volunteer basis. In other words, for free. Want to participate? You're sitting there going, "No way." You wouldn't be alone, and "Need five or six people coming by my house to root through my cupboards, not a chance." Who'd be crazy enough to even ask for such a thing and volunteer to do it for free, no way. A request like this clearly falls in that region of rejection. It's just too much to endure. Indeed, when psychologists called people up and they made a very similar request, barely more than a handful of people said, yes. I'm not sure these kinds souls were more, even if they understood what they agreed to, but most people, not surprisingly said no. Now, the scientists were interested in the problem we face all the time. How to get people to do something they'd rather not do and particularly something that's far from where they are already. Those commonly of attack and this is, as we've talked about pushing, exerting as much pressure as possible to force someone to comply, tell them they should do it, punish them if they don't do it, pay them so they will do it, push until they give in. The scientists wonder though whether there might be a better approach and there was. When they asked a different group of people, more than twice as many said yes, same ask, same volunteering for a half-dozen people to tramped through your living room and you're home for over two hours. But this time, over more than half the people agreed. The difference? Well, they started by asking for something different. They started by asking for something less. Three days earlier, the scientists call that second group of people with a much more innocuous request. They gave the respondent the same story that they were calling from the Consumers Union. But rather than starting with that big request, rifling through all your cupboards, they started with a smaller one instead. "Would you be willing to answer just a few questions about what household products you use, things like what brand of soap you have or what you use to clean the dishes? I'll just ask you them over the phone and it'll only take a couple minutes." Most people who picked up the phone are more than happy to help. "Sure, answering a few questions, that's not my favorite thing to do," but something that regional rejections probably in that zone of acceptance. So when the scientists call back a couple days later with much larger request, while these people are much more likely to agree because completing that first small request changed how those people saw themselves. It changed their position on the field. Initially, answering a couple of questions might not have been what someone wanted to do. It might be the edge of their zone of acceptance. But agreeing to that ask shifts their position. It changes where they stand on the field. Agreeing to a small related ask move people in that right direction which means that final ask, which ones would have been very far away is now closer. It's now more likely to be within that zone of acceptance. Because when people move their position on the field, the regions, the zones around them move with them. So rather than squarely being in the region of rejection, that final ask is more in the zone of acceptance. Having a tough time trying to change someone's mind? Try asking for less rather than pushing for more. Don't start with a big ask, dial it down, dial down the size, the initial request, what falls within that zone of acceptance. Not only make that initial request more successful, but also makes big change more likely overall. I was talking to a doctor who was dealing with this exact issue. When trying to help obese people cut weight, for example. It's often very difficult when somebody is to cut 50 or 100 pounds, the tendency is to ask them to do something drastic, exercise every day, stopping junk food, completely cut out desert. Now, this might work for some of us, but for most of us, this is going to be pretty tough. These approaches inevitably fail because such recommendations are great, but they're so far away from where people are ready that they're unlikely to work. Sure an obese person should exercise once a day, but for someone hasn't worked out in months or years, that's a big ask. One doctor was trying to help an obese truck driver lose weight. The guy like Mountain Dew and liter bottles were easy to take on the road with him. So he was drinking up to three bottles a day. In case that's not clear, three liters of Mountain Dew, that's over 60 grams of sugar, and doing it every day, that's like eating over a 100 Snickers bars a month. Now, the best thing to do is clear. The driver should stop drinking soda entirely, but the doctor knew that that would be a tough sell. So she started with a smaller ask rather than asking him to drink no soda at all, she started by saying move from three liters to just two a day, two rather than three, and every time you use the restroom, fill up that old liter bottle with water so that you have enough to drink instead. It was difficult at first, but the truck driver eventually went down from three liters of Mountain Dew a day to two. Then when he came back, she asked him to cut it down to one, and once that worked, only then did she suggests cutting out this soda entirely. The truck driver still drinks a little bit of Mountain Dew once in awhile, but he's lost over 25 pounds. Because when changing minds, when trying to change minds, our tendency is to go big. Want a big shift in people's perspective right away. We looking for that silver bullet, that one thing that will immediately get someone to quit drinking soda or switch political parties overnight. But take a closer look at those big changes and they're rarely that abrupt. Instead, they're more often like a process. Slow and steady with many changes along the way. Asking for less is not about only asking for less, it's about committing to that process. When the doctor asks a truck driver to stop drinking Mountain Dew, she didn't stop with one fewer bottle. She asked for less initially and then she asked for more. So then it's really not about asking for less, it's about chunking the change, breaking a big ask into smaller, more manageable chunks, starting with one and building from there. Moving 10 or 15 yards at the time down that field, rather than tossing a Hail Mary and hoping for the best. Product designers often talk about this as building what are called stepping-stones. If Uber, for example, if their initial offering had asked users to get into a stranger's car, company probably wouldn't have been very successful, accept a ride from strangers, that's exactly what your mom told you not to do. Instead, they started with a much smaller ask. They launches an easier way to hail and executive car service with the motto, "everyone's private driver," something people were used to already now, rather than being extremely high-end you could get it for a little bit cheaper. Only after this initial very high-end positioning, then did they move down market to UberX, a cheaper option than offered non luxury vehicles. Eventually, they hope to move entirely to autonomous vehicles. If Uber had asked people make that big change initially, they probably would've failed. It was too far than what people are used to, too different from what most consumers felt safe doing. But by chunking the change, by taking that big change, they shrink the size of the ask. Now, each new product launch is like a stepping stone, slowly moving people from what they were used to forward to something new and different with different steps along the way. Ask someone to wade cross a raging river, and they'll probably say, "No, it's frightening, the water's too deep. I might get swept away by the current," but add stepping stones along the way and people be much more willing to take the journey. Now, they can hop from one side to the other without worrying about getting wet.