The evidence referred to here is that when asking something of someone, they are much more likely to comply if the wanted behavior is tied to their character.
This is about trying to get people to internalize a given action.
For instance, instead of asking someone to “help,” you ask them to be “a helper.”
Saying, “Please don’t cheat.” is less effective than “Please don’t be a cheater.”
And saying “Don’t lie.” does not work as good as “Don’t be a liar.”
Understand: What you say can move a mountain.
In light of this evidence, Bryan suggests that we should embrace nouns more thoughtfully. “Don’t Drink and Drive” could be rephrased as: “Don’t Be a Drunk Driver.” The same thinking can be applied to originality. When a child draws a picture, instead of calling the artwork creative, we can say “You are creative.” After a teenager resists the temptation to follow the crowd, we can commend her for being a non-conformist.
-Adam Grant, Originals