The Best Way To Change A Person’s Mind

We all know somebody that we’d like to change. We’d like them to eat better or work harder. Their potential is being wasted. If only they’d cut it with the crude jokes, get a haircut, and shave once in a while they could really go places. Maybe we want to convince them to change their political viewpoint. Or, perhaps we want to recruit them to our religion.

Surely this desire to change people springs from the noblest of wells. We care about these people. If only they’d just listen to us, they’d be so much happier. Their health would improve. Their bank account would swell. They could find peace of mind and enlightenment at last. Not to mention they’d lose weight and start to feel better about their appearance.

But every single time we try to talk to our needy friend about these issues, we get rebuked; ignored; rejected. Don’t they know we’re just trying to help!?! If only they would do what I say, their life would be so much better!

In my short time on this earth, I’ve learned a simple fact. People don’t like to be told what to do. I remember times going out with vegetarian friends when I’d order the biggest sloppiest burger on the menu just to piss them off. They’d been going on and on about me changing my diet. I didn’t want to hear it. I went so far as to do harm to myself just to be contrarian.

It seems to me that a lot of people act that way. So many people are bombarding them suggestions that they just decide to rebel. They think “since nobody seems to like me the way I am, to hell with it”. Once this attitude sets in, even the most well thought out, fact based arguments, can have no effect.

So what’s the solution? Are we to throw our hands up in despair? Is it impossible for people to change? Is it impossible for us to influence people for the better?

Take heed my friend. There is a way change people; to convince people; to get them to take action. However, it is not as quick and gratifying as you may like. It involves a lot of effort on your part and may or may not produce the final result that you so desire. At lest with this method, you’ll have a fighting chance.

The challenge, though, is that you’ll have to change yourself. What’s that? Change myself? I thought this was about changing other people, not myself. I’m perfect the way I am. I want to change my friends, not myself.

Sorry, but in order to convince others, you need to work on yourself.

Not long ago, I came to the realization that admiration is a very powerful force. The epiphany occurred when I caught myself mimicking the mannerisms of a certain person that I really look up to. I wanted so badly to be like this person that I was literally making the same facial expressions as them.

This was an ah ha! moment for me. You can get people to change themselves by making them admire you. But how can you make a person admire you?

What is it that you admire in people?

Personally, I admire people that are wise and brave. I admire self discipline, creativity, humility, adventurousness, kindness, and business success. I really admire people who don’t sacrifice their values for material gain. I also admire family oriented people; people who will do whatever it takes to provide for their family. Finally, I really look up to healthy people. Not people with buffed out physiques, but rather people who never seem to get sick.

Once you’ve figured out what you respect in a person, the next step is to take on those qualities. You must become what you admire. This, of course, is not a short term project.

As you become braver and more self disciplined, wiser, sweeter, humbler, healthier, more successful, and generally better, people will start to admire you.

They’ll ask themselves, what is it about that person? He sure is in great shape, I wonder what he eats. What type of exercise does he do? He’s so calm and friendly, I wonder how he does it. What does he think about the world? He’s always talking about peace and free markets. He sure seems to have it together, maybe there is something to that.

At this point, you won’t have to try to convince anybody of anything. People will take on your good qualities on their own. They’ll emulate you and want to be like you. They’ll convince themselves.

The solution, then, is to not work on other people at all. It is to work on yourself. Be the best you that you can be and eventually others will come around to your point of view.


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