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Only a few years ago I was in at that age where everyone around me wanted to party and only have a good time. Even then I was driven to look for another path. Now I find myself with some younger friends, who are looking for more from life than just a good time, much like I was.

I am trying to show them how to be more productive in their work, but because of the age difference they have started to view me as an authority figure of types and this has caused some interesting tension. How can we remind people, especially younger people on how to keep on the path of productivity?

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Do you find older people are more open when you try to show them how to be more productive in their work? – JeffO Apr 16 '13 at 17:56
What exactly do you mean with 'tension'? Can you give an example of a situation where you felt this tension? – THelper Apr 17 '13 at 9:02
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You are a mentor because you have more experience. That's not a bad thing. You can be a mentor without being an authority figure. I recommend starting with a specific problem they want to solve. You can work on techniques together.

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Lets say, for example, the biggest problem right now is prioritizing tasks such as working on A vs B. What are some recommended techniques. – mrhobbeys Apr 17 '13 at 16:31

I face similar problems and so do many productivity coaches.

Learning is always discovery. Learning from a teacher is simply aided discovery. But it is impossible to teach someone if they're not trying to discover it for themselves.

A powerful method of persuasion is Aristotle's Ethos (Credibility), Pathos (Emotion), and Logos (Logic). These should be applied in order... you need to establish ethos first, before pathos, and finally with logos.

Ethos: Prove to them that they can trust you. Convince them of your good motives, that you're willing to help them and not show off. Try to relate themselves with you as you were before, and how you see a little of yourself in them. Explain why you're more knowledgeable and why they should listen to what you say.

Pathos: Appeal to their emotions. How will listening to you change their lives? How will it get them what they want?

Logos: Past the other two phases, this is the point where you explain your material.

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Maybe they just don't want advice. They are probably finding your good intentions unwelcome and possibly intrusive. I would suggest that you back off and offer advice only when they ask you for it, at least for now. Gain their confidence again before you want to be their mentor again..

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