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How to Change Someone's Mind

How to change someone's mind

How to Change Someone's Mind

If you want to change someone's mind, you need to be clear what you mean by that phrase.

It could mean one of two things.

  1. Change what someone thinks is true.
  2. Change someone's behaviour.

1. Change what someone thinks is true

If you want to change someone's belief about what is true, then your best bet is to NOT challenge the belief itself. Instead, question the source of the information that led to the belief.

For example, if he believes in socialism, do NOT criticise socialism directly. If you do, then he will defend socialism. And, in defending his idea, he will come to believe it even more.

Instead, ask him, where did (s)he get the idea from?

Every idea in your head, you got from somewhere. Rather than challenge ideas, question the validity of their source.

Ask questions such as, "Who told you that?"

Or "Where did you get that idea from?".

Or "Where did that idea originate?"

When you ask this question, you change the status of the idea from "a fact" to "something that someone once said, or wrote". The power of the idea is reduced.

It is no longer "a Fact"; only, "Something that someone once said, or wrote".

If you identify the source of an idea, then you can begin to go to work to question the validity of its source. This is a subtler challenge than a full-frontal challenge on the main idea.

Your technique is to question the source and the reliability of the idea.

When you have undermined the source, then it is up to you to suggest an alternative idea and name your source of the new idea.

The conversation would go like this:

"I believe in the redistribution of wealth by taxation."

"Where did you get that idea from?"

"It is a doctrine of socialist politics. I learned about politics in college."

"Where did your college teachers get the idea from?"

"Originally the socialism comes from Karl Marx."

"Karl Marx died broke and penniless and in debt to his friend Frederick Engles. Why do you rely on the economic ideas of a man who died broke and penniless and in debt to his friends?"

Don't Challenge Ideas Directly

The point I want to make is:

If you challenge their ideas directly, they will defend their ideas vigorously.

You won't shift them.

So, challenge ideas indirectly.

If you challenge directly, then they will fight you.

If you challenge the source of their belief, then they will find it harder to fight you.

2. Change someone's behaviour

I will be discussing this part of changing someone's behaviour in a forthcoming blog!

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