I’ve thought a lot about David McRaney’s book, How Minds Change, over the past few weeks. I’m grateful for the insights into belief, and the greater acceptance I have for how others see the world. I’ve thought specifically about how I have changed my beliefs personally throughout my life. It really has been quite fascinating to see how different I am today than I was even five years ago. What I was absolutely certain about in my twenties seems foreign now. I think I see the world more clearly today, but I have no doubt that I will continue to evolve. 

Two weeks ago I wrote about belief formation. Today I wanted to share a few more thoughts:

Changing someones mind comes from creating a relationship of trust and understanding. Be curious without being judgmental. Find out how someone arrived at their current belief. Consider how you arrived at yours.

The brain loves certainty. It will fill in the unknown parts of an experience to create a fluid story that makes sense to you. Are you are aware of your blindspots?

It is essential to evaluate your own beliefs. What experiences did you have to get to that point? Can you see how someone else might see the world differently? How certain are you that you’ve got it right? What if you are wrong?

Arguing rarely changes anyones mind. What someone believes makes sense to them. An argument is a direct challenge to their belief and is a declaration that they are wrong and you are right. When’s the last time you enjoyed being told you were wrong? Remember this old adage, “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Social change takes persistence and luck. We often think that only thought leaders or elites have the power to make a difference. But in reality it takes thousands of people (maybe millions) constantly working for change. We often look at Martin Luther King as a transformational figure in the fight for civil rights. And though he did some amazing things, he had just picked up the hammer and was banging away, building on the work of thousands who had come before him. You have the power to make a difference. 

A friend of mine in the past continually challenged me to question everything. Seems like a daunting task. I like the idea of being open to everything. I like the idea of trying to understand better. I like the idea from Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living. 

What can you do today to examine your life? I think reading this book is worth your time to give you some ideas on how to do it. Highly recommended!