The Daily Challenge: Change Your Mind
Change your mind by asking a question.
Consider changing your mind
Read Time: 4 Minutes
Changing your mind might sound like something you do often and easily. But actually…you probably don’t. 🤷🏾♀️
Contrary to popular belief, it is extremely rare to switch an opinion. Why? Researchers Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler highlight one of the reasons in their study. They write that when our beliefs are rooted in the sense of self-identity, we are likely to resist opposing opinions since they might threaten our sense of self.
In other words, it may be difficult to admit you are in the wrong. It might be hard not to tweak the experiences and facts in favor of our initial beliefs. Whatever the reason, loyalty to our existing opinions can keep us away from the perks of being open-minded.
Professionals who genuinely consider other people’s perspectives can find optimal solutions in the face of challenges and build effective communication techniques.
One way to master your ability to change your mind when necessary is to get past your opinions through an explanation of the problem or solution at hand.
According to the illusion of explanatory depth theory, people realize they don’t really understand something only when they attempt to explain the concept. And realizing they lack understanding opens them up to another perspective or solution.
Put differently, in order to hijack human resistance to shifting opinions, when you’re in a debate or disagreement, you can ask the other person involved to explain how their proposed solution works. By walking through the explanation, they may become more flexible to hearing your perspective.
Now, think about some of your projects and the solution or decision you favor, against some of the solutions your coworkers proposed.
Even if your solution is the right one, and even if you do know how to change your mind, consider the steps below to enhance your understanding of the project.
Step 1: Identify your arguments — and put them aside. Being aware of what your reasoning is can help you distinguish between opinions and explanations.
Step 2. Explain the process of how your solution or decision would work. Not why you think one solution is better; not what the reasoning behind each solution is, but how you see the core process of the project and a what the step-by-step outline for your solution is.
Step 3: Identify whether you understand the issue and the solution well. Was it easy to explain the core process? Do you need to fill in the gaps in your knowledge? Does your solution address everything that needs to be addressed in the problem?
Pro-tip: Ask your opponent to walk you through how their solution would work. In the same way, without giving pro or against arguments, try to understand their solution. Ask them questions to clarify details. Try to understand how it’s solved. Most of the time we disagree because we don’t have enough information.
More on changing minds:
How to Change Your Mind (Freakonomics)
I Don’t Want to Be Right (The New Yorker)
The Bicycle Problem: How the Illusion of Explanatory Depth Tricks Your Brain(Scott H. Young)
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