How To Change Someone’s Mind…

Stop for a second and ask yourself: ‘How hard is it to actually change someone’s mind?’

Personally, I think it can be pretty damn hard.

The central problem seems to be that, once we have publicly stated any kind of opinion it instantly becomes part of our psychological identity – something that the ego will rush in to defend with the frenzied passion of a wounded Siberian mongoose.

When we feel attacked or threatened in this manner, our knee-jerk reaction is to close down all outside inputs as we ever more frantically seek the certainty and opioid-like relief of ‘being right’.

Which is why, by subconsciously equating being proven wrong with actual damage to our psyche, we are substantively slowing the pace at which we can evolve our ideas.

Changing one’s mind demands humility.

It’s one of the reasons I write.  When I think something may be true, I don’t actually know how I feel about it until I have caged it on the page and am able to regard it objectively; a crystalline structure of thought, able to be rotated thru space and viewed from more than one angle

More often than not, once I have written it out I will see flaws and gaps that were not previously apparent; sometimes small, sometimes glaring, sometimes completely invalidating.

Being subject to no-one but myself at this point, I then have the choice of either: working out the wrinkles and refining the proposition, or disregarding the idea altogether.

Writing my ideas down is a way for me to bypass the ego.

Changing our minds, both in private and in public, is a noble and luxurious act, unsung and unappreciated in our time.  As our guiding ideas and principles evolve, so then, do we.  This is The Real Work.

I hope it finds you well.

Much love,

J


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43 Comments

              1. I’m not on Twitter but I checked out your feed and yes, I needed to see Bean’s sweet face! I love your positive tweets – I just got an e-mail from my Aussie friend who now lives in Vancouver, she writes that she is freaking out over the election, she needs to see Bean’s picture, pronto!

                Liked by 1 person

  1. That’s one of the reasons I admire Malcolm X. When he came back from his pilgrimage to Mecca, he said basically, “You know what? I’ve met some new people, had some new experiences, learned some new things, and I have changed my mind.”

    I can’t think of any other public figure who’s done that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right, I always find it refreshing when someone is able to own it publicly, irrespective of politics.
      If you are interested, the Dalai Lama reversed his position on gay rights, and there have been a bunch of others who have made similarly cool public 180’s.
      One of the many reasons I admire Malcolm X is the way he used his time in prison to educate himself. Education is a beautiful thing.
      Thanks for this, and have a great night,
      – J

      Like

  2. I enjoyed this post very much..your words ring true! I, too, find that putting my thoughts on paper allows me to look at things from a different perspective. For me it is imperative that I be able to think openly and be able to discuss differences with others, and learn and grow because of being able to think with an open mind. I pity those who can’t be open to diverse thinking. Thank you for this post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Isn’t it amazing how writing crystallizes our thoughts? Like a child who has learned to color within the lines, a writer learns to bring definition to ideas by transforming them into words.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You speak the truth! Humility and a desire to know the truth and accept that it is the truth and that one is wrong. The old saying applies nicely here. “You can lead a horse (in this case a stubborn mule) but you can’t make him drink. Keep on writing the truth! I want to share this. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this. Needs to become a life lesson taught early. Often families and school reinforce our desperate ‘need’ not to be proven wrong. So much bitterness and entrenched hostility could be prevented if it could become widely acceptable to admit mistakes, failure etc. Needs a complete cultural change though. This helps get the conversation going.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this comment. Couldn’t agree more with it.
      It is a strange balance, is it not, that we see changing our minds in public as signifying a lack of personal integrity?
      Cultural change it is πŸ˜‰

      Like

  6. “I don’t know how I actually feel about it until I have caged it on the page” …. I can relate to that and think it’s a great description for any creative – to be able to distance themselves emotionally from their ideas/creation and become a self-critic in the most compassionate way (often a tough challenge for artists I think!). I liked this post … based on the title I initially wondered if Nov 8 was still weighing on your mind but it veered in a different but interesting direction. Would be great for Donald to read on his golden seat though. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that would be super-awesome.
      He’d be like: ‘I can change my mind, I have the best mind, I am better at changing my mind than anybody. Believe me.’
      Nov 8th is absolutely still weighing on my mind. πŸ˜‰
      Have a good one, thanks for stopping by,
      – J

      Like

          1. Just listened to your soundtrack from the “Personal Reflections” EP … it was amazing. I actually struggle with voices in meditation but found this super relaxing!

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Important message, James. Thank you for stating it so clearly. A closed mind is such a dangerous thing, and if people view being β€œwrong” as a weakness, they will never experience the joy of opening up to new ideas … and growing, and evolving, and becoming all we are capable of being. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to realize that being right isn’t the most important thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Humility, yes. That is what it needs to change your mind. The ability to make yourself vulnerable to a new way of thinking. And for those who can’t go there, in these dire times we could maybe learn from Kevin Dutton’s Flipnosis: The Art of Split-Second Persuasion.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, James.

    Liked by 1 person

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