A former freelancer got his team, used to writing everything with Java, to start their new projects with Kotlin. It's never easy to get a team to adopt a new programming language or a technology. It's even harder to do it as a freelancer who is often seen as an outsider compared to the full-time employees.

How did this freelancer sell the idea of a new programming language to his team? By repeating himself over and over again. He kept bringing up Kotlin despite rejection and the team's perceived disinterest towards the language. He had to offer Kotlin as a solution for different tasks 10 to 15 times before even a single line of Kotlin got written inside the team.

Was the freelancer's arguments for Kotlin any different on the 10th time than on the 1st time? I don't know but I'm assuming not. Too often we assume that the people around us are rational decision makers. However, if we were rational, we wouldn't have to listen for the same arguments ten times before we take action. We would need to receive the required information once in order to make our decision.

Do you own an activity tracker? If you do, did you go buy it the first time you heard about activity trackers? Do you use a password manager? If you do, did you set it up the first time someone told you that you shouldn't reuse passwords? How many times did you have to hear people talking about oat milk, yoga, or meditation before you gave those things a try?

You might feel like people aren't listening to you or that you have to repeat things ad nauseam every time to want to make any kind of change. In reality, people are probably listening. It's just that without repetition, messages and ideas are rarely understood and adopted.

There's at least two professions where repetition is an obvious part of the process: marketers and teachers. In a world of infinite choices and short attention spans, marketers do not only focus on the content of their messages but also on the frequency. People have to hear the message multiple times before they take any action. Teachers on the other hand don't keep introducing new ideas and concepts to their students every minute of every class. Instead, they make time for revision. Students need repetition to allow the content to sink in.

Change doesn't happen simply by crafting your message. You also need to repeat your message over and over again. If you talk about an idea only once, people might listen but they won't act.