Why is it so hard to convince people to change?

One of the greatest challenges we confront on a day-to-day basis is convincing people to change or at least think differently about how to reach an outcome.  The reality is that the problem lies within us all, and it is possible for it to be modified.

Theoretically there are two areas that cause us to ‘think the way we do’ and ‘believe in the things we do’.

Our cognitive culture, which forms our opinions, values, perceptions, memory, judgement and reasoning, and which is based on the groups we associate and conform with.  Then our self-affirmation determines how open-minded we are to change, through the confirmation of our validity, prior judgements and/or decisions, which we make in our everyday life.

It is always said that there is strength in numbers, and history shows that the more individuals who conform to the same message, the more change that occurs within our cognitive culture, and the more we feel that our groups views will triumph, and allow us to succeed.

However for the cognitive culture to achieve positive and widely accepted results, there needs to be strength in the individual.

Thus begins the progression of the mind; the strength in the individual derives from feeling good about themselves; people who feel good about themselves are more likely to be open-minded, listen to the facts and consider change; therefore focusing on the qualities that make us who we are, indicates that we are more likely to be open to new ideas, and consider that ‘there is always room for improvement’.

Individuals advocate actively for many causes and situations, it is these acts of pleading, supporting or recommending, which help facilitate change and the acceptance of these acts are typically driven from within by our ‘self-talk’, our values, beliefs and thoughts.  For us to join these ‘champions for a cause’, the determining factor is how we perceive change, and our level of willingness to include and encompass a more comprehensive view of the world.

There are two sides to the equation, as in order for change to be successful, there is a need to recognise that convincing people to change is not going to happen without a constant commitment of engagement with a wider audience.  As well as understanding that appealing to emotions alone, requires an existing acceptance or belief, and trying to alter ways of thinking, requires an adjustment to existing behaviours.

So are you open to change, or are you fixed in place? Try answering this question and see where it takes you.

If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say?

The response to this question will help determine a persons ability to consider change.  If a persons response includes negative adjectives, it highlights that there is a focus on the deficiencies of life, rather than the adequacies of life.  Therefore being open to change is going to be difficult and challenging.

So in summary, if we want to facilitate change we need be open-minded and recognise the importance of….

  1. cognitive culture
  2. active involvement
  3. inclusivity
  4. emotional acceptance
  5. shifting behaviours
  6. personal engagement




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