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You Can’t Change My Mind

November 11, 2012

Image               Image

Have you ever felt like you were running up against a brick wall in an attempt to change someone else’s mind? You did research, you showed them power point presentations, you explained everything very clearly.

And then they respond with something like, “Ok, I see your point, but I still disagree.”

In some cases, it’s important to be able to disagree and still work or live together. There are many cases where this works – but what do you do if it just doesn’t? Some people resort to manipulation, lying, or threats.  The worst cases, the partnership/relationship/dimplomatic ties dissolve – and that’s the end of that (at huge financial and emotional loss).

What if I told you it’s not about changing someone’s mind, but about their frame-of-reference?

I’m not referring to the frame of reference that physicists talk about. This has nothing to do with the speed of any particular object or its trajectory (nope, and if that’s what you Googled, go ahead and click out – I know its nothing personal).

I’m talking about shifting someone’s reality.

Right, not their perspective, because that may be just how they see things. I am suggesting you get them to change how they experience what is “real”. How we experience what is real, what we feel we know, is connected to emotions and physical sensations.

For example, when my coaching clients are stuck with the idea they can’t change something, “I’m in a corner, I can’t afford to change my job – I’m too invested!” I get them to physically stand up and go to another place in the room to look back at the place they just were. They have to look back and describe what that place looks like (and feels like) from where they are now standing. Then I have them describe the place they are currently standing. Then I have them go to at least three more places in the room, and create a new reality. Imagine themselves on a mountain top or the beach or in a dark alley way. They describe it in detail and how they feel about it.  In the end, the client gets to chose which ‘reality’ they want.

This in turn opens up all kinds of mental doors to the possible solutions that didn’t occur to them before. It’s almost magical.

So, I know you can’t do this with a business partner, but you can tell a story. Stories are incredibly powerful in shifting someone’s frame of reference. Showing them the potential of an idea, or the positive result in another situation – by connecting it to an emotion – you can cause a shift.

The magical part is that once you change someone’s frame of reference, their mind follows. I’m not a neuroscientist, but I know it works.

Try this simple exercise. Look at the first two images on this post – above. Put yourself in either one of those places, imagine you’ve been there and what it felt like. A cool breeze, a warm gust of wind. It smells like pollen – or dust. Any happy memories? Add those. That’s what its like to be human, to live on the planet.

Then look at the picture below.


Now ask yourself what it feels like to live on this planet. What it means to be human. You should get a different answer.

Change the frame of reference – the mind will follow.

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