Change Your Mind

Changing your mind isn’t like changing your shirt. Although at the point of impact the change slips in as quickly as shirt-changing.

But let’s be real. You’re not interested in changing your mind. You want others to change their minds. And you can’t expect that until you understand how mind-changing works. So, begin by understanding how you change your mind.

The First Thing

You don’t want to change your mind. It’s inconvenient. It’s not familiar. You have to clean-up from the mess you made with your previous wrong-headedness. In extreme cases you could lose your job, family, and friends. Nobody wants that kind of crisis. So, resisting the change has its advantages despite the rewards of intellectual and emotional integrity you get from good mind-changing.

The Second Thing

You’re lazy. This isn’t an insult. Everybody’s lazy. This laziness is sort of tied to the first thing noted — inconvenience. But it’s a little different because laziness is more about falling into the path of least resistance. If your mind is set, and it fits with enough passive conventional public support you’ll be inclined to take it easy and take for granted that your thinking is in a good place.

The Third Thing

You really think you’re right. So does everybody. Those who are wrong don’t know they’re wrong. Or if they do know, there is something else about whatever the issue is that makes being wrong not matter. This gets into the complexities of cognitive dissonance that can be taken-up for another discussion. But suffice to say, when you believe and claim to be in the right, you get intractable — not conducive to changing your mind.

The Fourth Thing

Compelling arguments, evidence, and facts opposing your views ironically strengthen your resolve to hold tightly to your convictions. This is the least understood aspect of mind-changing psychological dynamics. It’s counter-intuitive. After-all, all anyone needs are facts and sound logic to reach the right conclusions… not!

Confoundingly, this is the worst way to change minds — yours and everyone else’s. Facts and sound logic play a big roll. But not at the sensitive stage of an introduction of a different way to understand things — a changed mind.

How Does a Mind Change?

Well, it’s like the old joke: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Punchline — You can’t change a light bulb unless it wants to be changed… Rim shot!

There’s not going to be any mind changing — yours or anybody’s — unless you/they want to change. So, what makes a person want to change their mind? Answer: Changing their mind without changing their mind.

Sorry about that. I wasn’t trying to put you into an intellectual tailspin. But I do want you to think perceptively about people’s nature. Failing to understand human nature will always darken your view of the best way to connect in a world too disconnected.

Nobody wants you to change their mind. A person changes their mind from the inside out… not from the outside in. When mind-changing happens, it will seem to the outside that you changed your mind. But to your inside, your mind didn’t change so much as it evolved on its own terms on its continuous journey toward ever greater enlightenment. The key is: On your terms.

This may seem too self-centered to intellectually accommodate, but we can only perceive the world on our terms to make any sense of it. It’s not easy and it’s fraught with potential missteps. But the process of good mind-changing must be ego-invested (on your terms) to be mind-changing.

As the saying goes — even a broken clock is right twice a day. So, to the extent wrong-headed thinking is wrong, can you still find something in it that has merit? If you can, that’s the point of entry for mind-changing considerations.

In general, any position on an issue has something about it that is understandable, sound, and acceptable with which most anyone would agree. That position may go off the rails quickly once you pass by this agreeable point. But there’s your chance. If you encounter someone who holds a different view than you on a matter, find out if there is an agreeable point and if there is, do they care about the agreeable point.

If they claim they do care, let them know you care about it as much as they do. Then let it go. If the person is interested, they will seek your input for further discussion. If they don’t seek more input, this isn’t your time… you made your point… move on. If they do seek more input, make sure you have a concise simple perspective that holds up to criticism. Gook luck!

Keep This in Mind Before Attempting to Change Minds

Views and opinions are sacred to their holders. A mind that has changed has gone through a “religious conversion.” Respect the process. It’s more effective to give the benefit the of doubt that a person values clear thinking, even if they are challenged by it. Again, good luck!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Dr. Howard Asher

Dr. Howard Asher is a psychotherapist & author of “A Loose Grip.” He writes & lectures on the compelling topics of our times. Subscribe at dr-howard-asher.com