How To Inspire People With the Rule of One

Have you ever inspired someone to take action? When, after listening to you, they picked up the phone and called their senator’s office or connected with a campaign to start getting out the vote. It’s a great feeling.

With the Republican party becoming more extremist by the day, we have so much work to do. The midterms in November are a crucial moment for this country and we simply cannot allow the GOP to keep dragging us backwards. And what it’ll take is each of us taking a moment to reach out to someone and talking to them about the importance of voting in November.

Now, as we talk to others about the issues we care about (and this holds true whether you’re in person, on social media, etc.), there is a rule to keep in mind that will make your story much more impactful. It’s called the Rule of One. In a nutshell, humans see “one death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

While I’m sure we wish we weren’t wired this way, we simply can’t comprehend and connect to a story about terrible things happening to a large group of unidentified victims. We can, however, connect to a story about terrible things happening to one, identified victim. It’s a matter of psychology. It’s why we all know about the 10 year sexual assault victim in Ohio who needed to cross state lines to get an abortion, but we can’t recall how many women nationally seek abortions after sexual assaults.

It’s the story of one that moves us. If you want to inspire people to take action on an issue you care about, tell the story of one person who is massively affected by the issue you care most about. If you think back on the healthcare fights early in the Trump presidency, those were effective because one activist after another told very personal stories about one person in their lives who were greatly affected by having, or not having, healthcare.

Use the power of one. You can use it to inspire folks to take action.

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2 replies

  1. I had never heard that before. It is genius.

  2. After learning this morning that Speaker Pelosi’s husband was severely beaten in a break in in their home, our small postcarding group is working on sending letters/cards/calls of support to her offices at

    Washington, DC Office
    1236 Longworth H.O.B.
    Washington, DC 20515

    phone: (202) 225-4965
    hours: M-F 9-5:30pm
    US Capitol Building
    San Francisco District Office
    90 7th Street
    Suite 2-800
    San Francisco, CA 94103

    phone: (415) 556-4862
    hours: M-F 9-5:30pm
    Scenic Golden Gate Bridge

    I gather they have the attacker in custody. Threats and attacks on feds are crimes investigated by the FBI. I know this personally from death threats I and friends got in our 30 years working in the woods.

    In any case… get well Paul and thanks to Nancy! Oh, and ! Vota Azul!”

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