4 Ways to Change a Mind (Yours or Someone else’s)
Ozan Varol
351

Hi Ozan. Hope you are well.

You’re the only other person in the world I’ve ever seen write this, “If someone disagrees with you, it’s not because they’re wrong, and you’re right.” (Though I generally insert “necessarily.”)

I’ve been preaching that to my SF friends for years, and the response I generally get is, “that’s true, it’s actually because they’re stupid.” ;-)

Outside of the SF echo chamber, I don’t even bother trying to preach it to my Houston friends, though in their defense, they at least don’t passionately claim to champion open-mindedness, as do the SF-ers.

Your piece was great. This is a component of an issue I’m passionate about and working on. More broadly I define it as “Tolerance of Perspectives.”

But there is a critical Yin-to-the-Yang missing from … “the paper,” I would suggest. The proposed approach pre-supposes one wants to change someone’s mind, which we might call the Yin. But that assumes oneself doesn’t need one’s own mind changed. The Yang is to learn and understand, in parallel with trying to persuade.

“First, seek to understand.”

If one comes into a discussion presupposing one is right and only needs to better execute on changing the other person’s mind, does one then have an open mind? In that mode, is one then likely to learn? And if one is unwilling to learn, how can one expect the other to learn?

Of course, the point of the original post was not to address learning, but changing minds. So there’s your out ;-)

Miss you on the vball field.

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