How To Change Others’ Minds (And Your Own)

Researchers at Stanford once grabbed a group of students and split them into 2 groups:

  • 1 group in favor of capital punishment (it DETERS crime!)
  • 1 group against capital punishment (it has NO EFFECT on crime!)

Both groups had to respond to 2 written studies:

One study provided data in support of capital punishment, and the other provided data calling it into question Thing is both studies were bullshit. Totally made up. Both were based on EQUALLY COMPELLING, but totally FAKE, stats.

Guess what happened?

The students ended up feeling even MORE strongly about their original opinions – DESPITE seeing powerful, compelling evidence that directly contradicted their opinions.

???

Put simply: FACTS DON’T CHANGE OUR MINDS, folks.

???

We cling to what we already believe, and systematically go around ignoring data to the contrary. Unfortunately,
we seem to totally forget that facts don’t change our minds when we’re looking to change ourselves.

Convinced you’re a fuck up?

LET ME TELL YOU WHY YOU’RE GREAT!

You’ll surely change your opinion about yourself now!

Overweight?

READ THESE FACTS ABOUT HOW IT’S NOT HEALTHY TO BE OVERWEIGHT!

You’ll surely start changing right away!

Never feel like you’re good enough?

TRACK YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS! You can’t argue with a list of real-life accomplishments, right?
WRONG.

FACTS DO *NOT* CHANGE MOST PEOPLE’S MINDS, MOST OF THE TIME

  • We cling to what we’ve already convinced ourselves.
  • We active IGNORE evidence that points to the opposite of what we believe.

And guess what?  Sometimes that WORKS for us. Other times, not so much.


WHAT THIS ALL MEANS TO YOU

So what do you do with this information?

THIS: Know that people will mentally block and argue YOUR facts and data allllllllllllll day long if they already believe something different.

If you want to influence others, STOP TRYING TO CONVINCE them using facts and start asking QUESTIONS that allow them to discover that

a) they may not know as much as they thought they did or
b) their opinions aren’t working for them.

Questions open up possibilities that didn’t previously exist.

And if you want to influence and change YOURSELF, consider that spending all that time filling yourself up with facts from books and opinions from other people won’t change your mind. You’ll need to get to the root and break up what you believe to be true.

Try it. In what you write, in conversations, in your sales calls. With your clients, spouse, kids, yourself.

Promoting change through DISCOVERY (instead of trying to helplessly force facts on others) is an elegant form of power and influence that encourages growth and evolution.

Try it.

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