Have you ever had a disagreement with someone, and no matter how hard you tried to explain your stance and feeling, they just didn’t seem to get it?
Maybe you tried writing a letter or spending extra time trying to explain your points, yet you still couldn’t get through to them.
There is a radical way to change someone’s mind on a subject, and it is highly unorthodox, but it is one of the only ways to actually change someone’s mind: to listen and allow them change their own mind.
It is impossible to change someone’s mind, only THEY can change it.
You can provide facts, details, opinions, or even your own beliefs, but unless the person is in a state of open consideration, you will NEVER change their mind.
Maybe you saw the movie inception?
The whole premise was that a group had to go into people’s mind and implant an idea into their subconscious mind so that the person thought it was their own idea. It may sound manipulative, but if we truly want someone to change their mind, habits, or actions, we can’t force them to do so.
We often use manipulative tactics like: guilt, shame, withdrawal, anger, and reasoning to influence others to do what we want, but wouldn’t it be better to allow the person to do it because THEY wanted to, instead of because of our pressure to do so?
After all, if someone is only motivated to do something because of your influence, what do you think will happen if they are left up to making a decision on their own?
Think of a time where you did something you didn’t want to do for someone. Not only did you not enjoy doing it, but you probably felt anger within yourself as you did it for them. In the end the person got what they were after, but it drove a wedge between the two of you and created anger and resentment.
If you truly desire someone to change, you should encourage them, let them know what you desire, and leave it alone. If the person isn’t ready to change we shouldn’t force it, and we should be patient and allow them time to come to desire the change for themselves.
Let them know what you want
If we want to change someone’s mind we should first CALMLY let them know what we want or what our viewpoint is. We should not seek to force them to see out views through logic or argument, just let them know what we feel and what we would like, then leave it alone and listen.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Next comes listening, and listening, and listening.
As long as the person will talk and consider what you said, you should listen.
Listening not only allows the person to feel that you are considering their thoughts and feeling on the matter, but it shows you care about them and value them as a person. Many times as someone allows us to talk through what’s going on in our minds, we actually talk through the problem out loud and find solutions to the issue ourselves.
Just know, people will only open to change once they have let down their guard, if you argue and continually try to give your input, then their stance of resistance will only strengthen. It’s only through relaxing our own defensive posture and opening ourselves to the other person’s thoughts and feelings that they will also relax and consider ours.
Seek to truly understand their situation, thoughts, and feelings. Practice empathy and really try to put yourself in their shoes and gain a deeper understanding of them as a person.
By listening and truly understanding their position, you will allow them to trust you enough to ask for your opinion as well.
Wait, and give advice or input ONLY when asked for it
If you truly commit to listening to the other person’s concerns and feelings, not only will their comfort increase, but they may actually come to seek your input as well.
When someone feels cared about, understood, and connected with you, they will want to know your thoughts on the matter too, but they must first see you as friend and not foe. Friends listen and support each other, but do not judge you, tell you what to do, or argue with you.
Keep listening, and when the time is right the person will most likely ask for your input. Don’t just pretend to listen, because trust me, they will know and before they will ask for your advice, you must first be able to actually understand their viewpoint.
Imagine that you were them and in their situation, then and only then, tell them what you would do if you were them. Dont tell them what you would do, or what they should do, tell them what you would do if you were in their shoes.
If you let someone know that something is important to you, you refuse to argue with them, you listen to them, practice empathy, and you only give your input when they are ready to hear it, you can actually enable someone to want to change.
People respond better to freedom then force.
If we want to clean a room because its dirty and we want to clean it, it is easy to do it, but if someone tells us we HAVE to clean it, it’s a lot different.
Just be patient and give people space to make their own decisions, not only will people respect you more, but you’ll save a lot of energy yourself.
Follow these 3 steps and you will learn a lot, become a better listener, and help others more with your advice.
What do you think? Have you ever been successful at changing someone’s mind on something important in life? What did you do? Leave a comment below and let us know.