How not to be a logic bully?

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant says he has been called a logic bully more than once. It is simply someone who talks logic and either shuts the other person up or faces his or her wrath.

When we try to change a person's mind, our first impulse is to preach about why we're right and prosecute them for being wrong, says Adam.

We all have been logic bullies at some point or the other in our lives. We exercise the option of being a logic bully with friends, colleagues, and family.

And often find it hard to convince others of what we think is the best thing to do.

He describes some methods that he and his fellow researchers follow to make a breakthrough by asking open-ended questions and listening mindfully.

Here is an example of a conversation I had with a friend recently,

Her: I don't need a financial plan. The markets are doing great and I don't want to miss out on an opportunity to invest in the stock markets.
Me: But what are your goals?
Her: I just want good returns, I don't have any goals now.
Me: What do you mean by good returns?
Her: Oh, like the double digit ones, many of my friends invested in 2020 and are all getting more than 30% returns. I also want to get that much.
Me: I guess you are right, but they have already invested. Have you invested in stock markets before this?
Her: No, just a bunch of mutual funds, tax savings and all that.

In my mind, my logical self takes over and I want to give her a lecture on why it is important to know the risks of stock investing before she dives into it and burns her fingers.

Instead, I ask her:

Why is money really important for you?

She talks about freedom and financial independence and so on. As we discuss further, I understand that she has saved some money and she wants to quit her job to start a venture in the next one year and she needs money for that.

Investing in stock markets feels like easy money as she has seen her friends make a lot of money in the last one year and some of them have been able to quit their jobs.

The questionathon that involved asking Why questions made us think better. We understood the real reason behind the desire to achieve double digit returns.

The method described in Adam's article is called motivational interviewing where instead of forcing people to change, hold up a mirror so that people can see their own thoughts clearly. And do this not for manipulation but with a genuine desire to help them reach their goals.

Though, I'm still left with my part of getting her to think before investing in stocks as it is risky in the short term. She might lose her money if things do not go in her favor.

Have you been a logic bully or experienced something like this?

Write to me at and share your thoughts.

Why is money really important for me?