Stop Trying to ‘Convince’ People

It’s a waste of your energy

Darius Foroux
4 min readSep 13, 2022

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I was talking to my friend who’s a financial advisor the other day. He told me about wanting to convince someone to stay at his firm of about 90 people. In the past two years, they’ve been having labor shortages like everyone else.

He mentioned one of his employees quit his firm to work a government job. The former employee’s new government job is very stable, low intensity, type of work.

The person didn’t want to work in a dynamic environment anymore. It was too much pressure.

My friend asked, “What can you do to avoid this? And inspire people to stay at work?” It was more of a rhetorical question.

The truth is we can’t convince people to do anything, let alone convince them to stay in a job they can’t perform. Another friend experienced a similar situation. He runs a consulting firm and a new employee quit after three months because he felt like he wasn’t successful.

If we can’t convince people to do anything, what should we do instead?

Accepting people for who they are

When people talk about “convincing” someone to do something, like an employee or even a life partner, they usually mean changing that person to suit their needs. Because otherwise, they wouldn’t need convincing.

But trying to change people is a waste of time. People can certaintly change and learn, but that decision to make a change must come from within.

We all have a unique character with a unique set of strengths. When we’re looking for people to work with or hire, we can’t know whether it’s a good fit after a few conversations. It takes time to understand each other.

Plus, most people don’t have solid self-knowledge. They don’t know what they like and what they’re good at. For example, some people are born with an ability to learn better.

A recent study suggests that a person’s genes indeed affect their chances of success. In his research, Duke University School of Medicine professor Daniel Belsky said:

“We found that those who carried certain genetic variants — ones that had already…

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Darius Foroux

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