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Negotiate Your Way To Yes

I don’t claim to know it all. Nobody can know everything. One thing I do know is how to motivate people who don’t want to do something, to do exactly that thing.

Vaccines have always been a controversial topic. There is an entire movement in this country against them. We’ve all seen an “anti-vaxxer” somewhere or read about one in the news. Normally, these movements are focused on the traditional vaccines given at birth or shortly after it. Of course, we’ve all heard the ludacris arguments trumpeted by Jenny McCarthy (a comedian by the way) that vaccines cause autism. She always cites disgraced Dr. Andrew Wakefield who fabricated research that says traditional vaccines cause autism.

That disproven theory is not the question here.

What is dominating headlines now is the vaccine for Covid-19. Ever since the pandemic began, people have been anxious for a vaccine. At first, we were told that a potential vaccine would be years in the making. Thankfully, a lot of public funding was thrown into the private sector to try and come up with a workable shot. The Trump administration even called the effort Operation Warp Speed.

Thankfully, the efforts paid off. We got 4 viable vaccines from 4 different companies. Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer and Astrazeneca all made vaccines that were given to the public. Granted, some have had their issues, but they’re out there.

When the news broke and folks started getting the shots, normal folks had some hope that the shut downs and pandemic restrictions were going to end soon. We all heard Dr. Fauci on TV every day saying that we just need to wait for a vaccine. Then that day came.

Most of us got our vaccines when it was our turn, and then it was just a matter of time. Then, all of a sudden, the “public health officials” came on TV and said that we still needed to stay shut down and wear masks. Like a lot of people, I was confused.

The director of the CDC even came on TV saying that she felt a sense of “impending doom” if places started opening up. This inspired fear in some, but those with a sense of logic saw sense.

Wait a second, why do we have to keep doing this stuff? I got my shot. People who hadn’t got their shot or had questions about it then asked that same question. If we can’t go back to normal, then what’s the point? Thus, a new “anti-vaxxer” movement was born.

Those who had these thoughts were vilified. People were even calling them killers. Rachel Maddow even called them “evil” on her MSNBC show. Families were arguing and people were getting into physical altercations over the idea.

Then, last Thursday, the CDC came out and said that if you have been vaccinated, you no longer have to wear a mask and follow the restrictions. Those of us who have been vaccinated celebrated. Those of us who were called “science deniers” for wanting to lose the masks after the shots were proven right. The shut down states were embarrassed. Some, like Massachusetts, panicked and began to open up.

Let’s go back to what I said at the beginning. There are ways to get people to do things you want them to. It is all about negotiation. Scaring people works for a while, but for lasting effects, you need to offer them something.

If health officials wanted folks to get their shots, they should have originally came out and incentivized it. They should have told us that if we get the vaccine, then we can lose the masks. The vaccination rate would have skyrocketed.

I’m not ignorant, there would still be people who refuse to get the vaccine. Just like there are still fools like Jenny McCarthy who refuse traditional vaccines. Which is their choice. I clearly disagree with it, but they can make that decision.

This isn’t a commentary on the vaccine itself. This is all about how the government should have incentivized the vaccine. If you tell people to do something for no reason, they’re not going to do it. For example, I got my shot back in April. It was pretty much said that either I get it, or I should get a new job. That’s called motivation. Is it right, well that’s another question, but I had to make my own choice.

I talk to those who haven’t got their vaccines yet, and I now ask, “If they said you could go back to normal after the shot, would you have got it?” A lot of them answer, “I don’t know, but it would’ve changed things.”

It all comes down to the natural selfishness of people. I know people don’t want to hear it, but it’s true. Public health officials should’ve capitalized on this. Dangle a carrot in front of us and we’ll do what we need to get it. That carrot in this case is going back to normal.

I’ll end with a quote a teacher I used to work with used to use all the time. She used to say to us that if a student refuses to do something, “negotiate your way to yes.” It’s too late now, but the powers that be should’ve taken that advice...

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