The surveys, like this one reported in Retail Gazette, have impressive headline stats, like “81% of Brits support refill points to cut plastic waste”. What the surveys don’t tend to reveal, however, is how many people actually do the things they claim to support.
See, it’s all very well saying that we agree with these things in principle. Nobody would argue that cutting plastic waste isn’t a Very Good Thing. But when we fill in surveys like these, do we choose the answers that make us feel good about ourselves or do our answers reflect our reality? We can talk the talk, as the saying goes, but can we walk the walk?
Perhaps the answer to turning idealism into action lies in the secrets of how we influence people. Relevant here is one of the rules of persuasion discussed in Robert Cialdini’s book Influence. He discusses the idea of commitment and consistency being central to the art of influence, something that we reckon has a direct bearing on the success with which we can adopt new ways of living in our homes.
Caldini points out that we’re more likely to follow through with something if we’ve made a commitment to it publicly - it’s a sort of “forced accountability”. We then continue with it to stay true to our self-image, as we “desire to be (and appear to be) consistent with what we have already done”. And when it comes to others, it’s human nature to place trust in those who appear committed and consistent. In other words, if we’re open about our own efforts to live more consciously, we’re more likely to influence others to do the same.
So, if talking openly about our commitments can lead to action in this way, both in ourselves and in who we have the power to influence, let’s talk more about conscious living!
Kate & Louise
Co-founders now, sit down