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112 How to succeed by being nice

If you’re happy and you know it,
Then your face will surely show it!

Children’s song

Please join me in doing my civic duty to be happy! That is what uplifts you. One happiness practice is to be aware of the beautiful world you are creating around yourself. We went over that in the last article. Let’s relax a bit and reflect on that.

Many courses teach that you do not control what happens to you, but you completely control what you make of it. We don't all have the same input mix. I admit that some people are faced with problems that would crush me. At the same time, I see these people succeeding with their load as I succeed with mine. Something is in balance when my load fits my talent. I wouldn't accomplish so much on somebody else’s task as I do on mine.


In a very casual vernacular, some of my readers are going to say that I have flipped my lid. Think of it though. Would you really want to change places with me? Those of you who are stronger than I would be taking a huge cut in output. Those who are less adventurous than I would be terrified. Where we realistically feel that there is a grave mismatch, we do all in our power to change the situation into one that we can handle. That is the basis of invention, which is a good result.

We tend to imagine outcomes that are worse than the ones that actually happen. We may long for something unrealistic, but at the end when we have survived, we have the sense of accomplishment that appropriately rewards the challenge. Above all happiness is not something that is forced upon us. We achieve it by expanding into our opportunities and improving our circumstances. That always takes time, and satisfaction is realizing the fit between the challenge and our response.


The political winds that blow us from one social experiment to another are external circumstances. However those winds blow, I am deluged with complaints instead of inspired with possibilities. Sadly, those who feel the hurt of shattered expectations are tempted to spread that hurt to everybody else. By sharing their anger and self-pity, they are certainly not improving the world or their happiness. Does anybody think that being a sore loser wins friends? Does it bring rewards? Does it persuade anybody to do better?

Others with the strength to deny themselves shift their energy to improving the world that exists instead of the one they wanted. The improving they do, not the attention they are given, is the foundation of their happiness. Because there has just been an election in my country, I will spare the reader footnotes to prior articles. I will not gloat in “I told you so.” Instead, I lift up all my readers with the encouragement that happiness comes from within. The strength we radiate will attract, not compel, the better social order we seek. Our examples must persuade others that we are happy. A positive grasp on reality goes a long way toward uplifting others.


Nothing has happened that cannot be healed by being nice. We will go forward in love.

Now that I have expressed the emotion, I can proceed with the pedantic part I had originally planned for this article. I am trying to persuade people to persuade others by being nice. That won’t dramatically convert anyone, but it will make the country a happier place. We are all ready for that!

What is persuasion


Aesop’s fable has the north wind failing to remove a traveler’s coat by blowing it off him. Instead, the sun warms the air so that the traveler voluntarily removes the coat. The moral is usually stated as “persuasion is better than force.” In the fable, the presumed communication occurs between the wind and the sun when they establish the rivalry. The traveler remains a neutral third party to be acted upon.

I suggest a different view of what constitutes persuasion. The Aesop fable identifies a specific goal and does not focus on transactions leading to it. There are actions performed on the traveler but there is no discussion with him. In contrast, I speak here of persuasion as an interaction between affected parties. I further assume some area of difference between the parties. We don't speak of persuading somebody whose thought is already identical to our own.


These are my elements of persuasion: first, at least two parties; second, a difference between the parties; and third, an issue to be resolved. If there is no intended outcome there is no purpose to use persuasion. We usually refer to the use of persuasion (in reaching a conclusion) as negotiation. A mutually beneficial result is the reward that motivates using the tool we call persuasion.

Why we persuade

Persuasion is less costly than warfare. Reasonably parallel efforts pull a heavier load than working at cross purposes. Energy spent resisting, working against, is energy lost from pulling the load. Results are created mentally before physically. The mental planning stage is the place for setting the course and making decisions. Hypothetical propositions are cheaper to evaluate than full-size enactments or prototypes. Before we commit totally, lets agree on what we are committing to do.

I grew up by the Columbia River. Local lore pointed to competing railroad tracks built along both sides of the river. Perhaps that served some of the local stops, but considering the length of the river, it amounted to some unnecessary duplication. Persuasion in advance could have reached a more efficient construction.

Persuasion succeeds to establish a good feeling: (a) reach a practical (business) result; (b) enhance a friendship; (c) directly teach a principle for future application.

How we persuade

Reward based

Every alternative should be made to appear attractive. Weighing benefits is an important part of persuasion and is more humane than browbeating one side into submission. Successful methodology aims at voluntary cooperation toward a goal. The reward might be physical, a better product to be sold. It might be social, if you succeed, you get the job.

Analytical choice / motivation

People have different values. The persuasion step is the time to compare motivations. Marketing recognizes this principle: you can’t sell the product if you can’t sell the why. Test marketing has its place. Sometimes both alternatives are developed to let the public, the market, make the selection. That apparent duplication of effort is related to persuasion, which affects the rules of fair competition and participation. If the contestants have no association (private or governmental) in common, lack of persuasion cripples effort and confuses results.


We hope that decisions will be made fairly so that all parties benefit, and are all respected equally. Article 91 deals with fitting parties together using the term navigation. Persuasion is a possible goal in an Ernstraud Encounter, which goes much deeper than our usual connotation of words like navigation, negotiation, and persuasion.

The prize

The persuasion section of this article is only one application of the overarching theme, only one aspect of our happiness journey as we bless all lives. The bigger principle is something internal and voluntary, something that cannot be legislated. It is that we improve everything worthwhile by being nice.

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