The 2 Ways to Create Change

There are 2 types of change that I know of: coercive and voluntary.

A coercive change seems like there is choice at first, but is disguised with a thinly veiled threat. For example, take a mother and a child. "Go to school" or "take out the trash" seem like basic requests right? And sometimes they are. But there's usually an undertone of "take out the trash... or I'll ground you/take away your things/etc. Although the child technically has a choice, the threat behind the request really gives the child little say in the matter.

Now I'm not going to claim what the most effective way to raise your child is, but I can assure you one thing; that child will continue to do things not out of respect for his mother, but out of fear for being beaten/grounded/whatever the consequences.

As soon as he's out of his mother's watch, he will revert to all of the behaviors that he wasn't allowed to do.

Rule by fear can make change happen in the short term, but it's hardly an effective way to enact real change in the home, the workplace, and even society.

Force is easy. Persuasion and voluntary action is not.

Coercion gets its start because well-meaning people believe that the short-run cost of the mob mentality is worth it. It almost never is. Coercion uses force and blames the victim. And coercion is impossible to live with.
— Seth Godin

Most people settle for coercive change; I plead that you don't do this. That's a cop-out way to bring about change. Instead of coercing your co-workers, children, or friends, the truest and most lasting way is through voluntary change.

What is voluntary change? It is a peaceful, rewarding, and unwavering.

Voluntary action is an agreement between two human beings. It allows me the choice to say no if I want to, without a serious threat to my life, money, or relationships. It means that I don't have to buy things if I don't want to. It means that I can donate to a different charity than you do. It means I can leave McDonalds, if I don't think they're paying me what I'm worth.

What would happen if we let the world run mainly by voluntary action?

For consumers:

  • Consumers can choose not to support businesses they don't agree with.
  • Consumers can donate their money to whatever organizations they agree with.
  • Consumers pay for only what they need, not what others tell them they need.
  • Consumers are not penalized for not buying something (i.e. healthcare).

For workers:

  • Workers can choose whether or not they want to work with an employer.
  • Workers can negotiate for their wage based on what they think they're worth.
  • Workers can keep more of their paycheck without the coercion of taxes.

For business owners:

  • Owners can hire more employees based on skill rather than minimum wages.
  • Owners can take more risk, without as much regulations blocking their path.
  • Owners can work with foreign countries to help better their situations, rather than catering to embargoes that hurt everyone.

Voluntary action is a powerful thing and shows how society is changing. When you have a society that grows based on choice rather than by law, you create a society that respects human rights, puts trust in each and every individual to make their own choices, and provides value for the global community at large.

Coercive laws may seem like they're steps in the right direction, but limited freedom only persuades the child to disobey his mother when she's not looking. It encourages law-breaking and a disdain for authority when the authority is keen on being a micro-manager.

If you want to create lasting change, you must persuade, not coerce.


A big announcement is coming on 5/13. Stay tuned by following my Instagram @theEvanLe and Snapchat @evanle95 !