When we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason
People simply like to have reasons for what they do.
Langer demonstrated this unsurprising fact by asking a small favor of people waiting in line to use a library copying machine:
"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?" The effectiveness of this request plus-reason was nearly total: 94 percent of those asked let her skip ahead of them in line. Compare this success rate to the results when she made the request only:
"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?" Under those circumstances only 60 percent of those asked complied.
At first glance, it appears that the crucial difference between the two requests was the additional information provided by the words because I'm in a rush. However, a third type of request tried by Langer showed that this was not the case. It seems that it was not the whole series of words, but the first one, because, that made the difference. Instead of including a real reason for compliance, Langer's third type of request used the word because and then, adding nothing new, merely restated the obvious:
"Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?" The result was that once again nearly all (93 percent) agreed, even though no real reason, no new information was added to justify their compliance.
Yet, certainly, the wise learn many things from their enemies; for caution preserves all things. From a friend you could not learn this, but your foe immediately obliges you to learn it. For example, the states have learned from enemies, and not from friends, to build lofty walls, and to possess ships of war. And this lesson preserves children, house, and possessions.
The present theory then must be considered to be a suggested program or framework for future research and must stand ...
It’s saying no.
That’s your first hint that something’s alive. It says no. That’s how you know a baby is starting to turn into a person. They run around saying no all day, throwing their aliveness at everything to see what it’ll stick to. You can’t say no if you don’t have desires and opinions and wants of your own. You wouldn’t even want to.
No is the heart of thinking.