Is Persuasion Really an Art?

If we think of persuasion as being an art then doesn’t that give power to the artist, the one doing the persuading? The implication is that the one being persuaded has no power; but that’s simply not true. When someone or something is persuading us it’s an opportunity for choice. After all, no one can make you do or feel any which way. For the most part, we live in choice, and having the ability to make choices makes you very powerful.

Maybe persuasion is better thought of as a prompt. What’s that mean? Well, a prompt is a tool. And the prompt of persuasion could be seen as a tool for change. We can be persuaded to change either our ideas or we can be persuaded to take or not take courses of action. Actions are changed through starting or stopping and ideas are changed to new or different ones.


So, how does persuasion affect people with ADHD? We know the ADHD mind is often attracted to novelty and that new things are easy to become curious about. Also, boredom, when you have ADHD, is the kiss of death; the brain seemingly just shuts down. In fact, it’s almost impossible to engage in anything when your ADHD brain is bored. So, when you’re naturally attracted to and subsequently stimulated by all things new…it’s hard to develop routines and perhaps it’s easier to become persuaded. The very nature of change is newness and difference.

The draw to what’s new and different can land someone with ADHD in lot of trouble, though, if the consequences are negative. For example, it may seem like a good idea to skip class with your friends and go to the first showing of the hottest movie until you find out that you missed a pop quiz that can’t be made up. Recovering from a zero is tough. Or, it may seem like a wonderful idea to purchase that new designer handbag that your girlfriend is gushing over until it’s time to pay that phone bill and you don’t have enough money.

Perhaps, how we deal with change may decide how we react when something or someone is trying to sway us. If you’re getting excited by the prospect of change, some new idea or some action to take, notice, does your ADHD brain feels ignited? If you feel turned on and interested, think. How can you pause long enough to make a choice that will serve you best in the long run? Maybe the person who is doing the persuading isn’t considering what’s best for you. Your friends aren’t the ones who will battle coming back from a zero all semester and your girlfriend may be able to afford that bag, but that doesn’t mean you can.

Living in choice can be empowering but you have to have the right attitude about it. So next time your friends try to persuade you to skip class, thank them for reminding you that you are really interested in getting a good grade so you can graduate on time. When your girlfriend sends you a link to a discounted Louis Vuitton, appreciate what you have that’s the same value, like your iPhone. You can choose to stay the course, to not change. Hey, you know, maybe that, in itself, is a novel idea!




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  1. This was an awesome article. When I was younger I used to have this problem…ok I still have this issue occasionally. For me, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of something. For instance working in the security field I deal with people who try to make me angry (some on purpose others by circumstance), they essentially are trying to sell me on the idea of being angry. This isn’t too dissimilar from the friend trying to sell his friend on skipping class or the gf trying to sell her bf on buying the purse. All of these are tied with emotions.

    I have learned though that if I get caught up in the emotions of what is going on that I can’t think to counter their argument. To overcome this I look at it like it’s a game where I am trying to get the subject to voluntarily comply and it’s almost fun at times. This viewpoint has helped me outside work by opening my eyes to the motives and reasoning other people may have.

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