"Daddy, tomorrow for dinner, can we have subway sandwiches?"
My son Aidan made this unusual request shortly after returning from the family camping trip. It was unusual because while our family will opt for takeout fairly regularly, it's usually pizza, sometimes burgers, and occasionally sushi. But subs? We had never had those as a family before.
Yet for some unknown reason, he really wanted a meatball sub.
"Maybe," I responded. More because it was bedtime, and I didn't want to get into a prolonged discussion about sandwiches.
My kids know that when I say "maybe", that's really what it means: the chances of it happening are neither impossible nor certain. But that response was enough, and he went to bed happy.
I thought my son would have forgotten about his sandwich request the next morning, but he's my kid, so I should have known better.
"Daddy, can we have subs for dinner tonight?"
This time, I replied, "There's a chance."
Yet a short time later, I overheard Aidan telling his sister, "Daddy said there's a good chance we can have subs for dinner!"
"Hold on, there," I interjected, "I said there's a chance. I didn't say there was a good chance."
But Aidan just gave me a wide smile and a look that said, "You'll see."
Later in the day, I heard him tell his sisters, "There's a 100% chance we're having subs for dinner!"
This time, I just laughed to myself and didn't bother correcting him.
And at around 4 pm, he confidently said to my wife, completely unprompted, "Now it's a 1,000% chance we're having subs for dinner."
When she told me that, I laughed out loud.
But you know what? I told him to get into the car, and together we went to go pick up subs for dinner.
Aidan was so excited about his idea of having "subs for dinner", and so persistent in presenting it to everyone who would listen, that he managed to get everybody excited about it. And at the end of the day, I found myself wanting to give him what he wanted.
A reasonable idea + infectious enthusiasm + admirable persistence.
That's a winning formula you can use to help you achieve much more than just "subs for dinner".