How To Change Someone's Mind When They Are Extremely Stubborn
Have you ever tried to persuade a stubborn person to see your point of view using logic or reason and failed? That’s because stubbornness is often a result of overconfidence and overestimation of a person’s abilities and strengths. Logic or reason is rarely a match for the concrete wall that represents their unfaltering ego. Confidence and assurance in one’s abilities is in no way a negative attribute. But overconfidence makes people intolerant to any form of criticism and they refuse to see anyone else’s ideas or concerns to be worthy of consideration but their own.
If there is someone in your life who is hopelessly stubborn and you want to talk then out of a bad decision or persuade them to go with your ideas in place of their own, the first mistake you need to stop making is questioning their ideas using facts. That will only get you 10 steps closer to failing your endeavors. Instead, what you have to do is make them think that they changed their minds on their own accord, that the decision to not carry out their plan or proceed with yours was their idea. I know, it sounds confusing. Depending on the person and the context this can be very tricky. But I’ve outlined three steps here to make it simple for you. I’ve used this strategy countless times and so far it has never failed me.
Step 1: Establish yourself as an ally
It doesn’t matter if their idea is utterly ridiculous; you have to start by establishing yourself as an ally and not an adversary. In other words, you have to tell them how incredible you think their plan is. Be careful not to layer it on too thick. Be genuine. This will stop them from becoming defensive. Human beings are wired to place more weight on the words of people they identify as friends or as good people. On the other hand, they tend to dismiss the opinions of people they label as bad, even if they are right. Showing support will immediately put you on the first list.
Step 2: Create Cracks on the concrete wall
This is the part where we start creating dents in their resolute ego. Chances are there are numerous loopholes in their plan, inconsistencies they haven’t thought about. Maybe they simply thought about how to get the job done but haven’t realized the severity of the consequences of their action and have no strategies to prevent them.
After proving yourself as their friend, ask questions about their idea. But ask them the right question, questions you know will force them to think about the inconsistencies in their plan or the poor aftermath of their actions. What’s also equally important is how you ask them the questions. They must never suspect that your motive is to talk them out of doing what they’ve chosen to do. Don’t ask questions in a way they feel attacked. Instead ask them in a way that makes them think that you are actually on board with their idea and want to know more about it. Ask questions out of curiosity, not out of concern. If they answer with another incoherent plan, then great! More information for you to poke holes into. As they attempt to answer they will slowly begin to see the negative sides of their decision themselves. This is where their confidence starts to waver and they will begin to think if the idea they conceived is truly as good as they initially thought it was. And soon they will start to question if carrying on with their decision is (truly) worth it. They may dismiss your opinions, but they cannot shush their subconscious so easily. Because they may not value your words, but they do value their own. But if they answer with genuinely well thought out ways to tackle all your concerns, then maybe this is also a time for you to consider whether you should let them go through with it.
If your goal is to prevent them from making a terrible decision, you can stop here. But if your motive is to replace their idea with yours then carry on to the next step.
Step 3: The inception
Yes, exactly like the movie. This is the part where you will start to introduce your idea. Be subtle and take it slow. Try to refrain from using ‘I’ when interjecting your idea. Instead use phrases like ‘you could do this instead’ or ‘we could do this instead’. Mention how the new idea can answer all the questions the previous one couldn’t. Do make sure it’s a damn good plan though, one they wouldn’t find loopholes in even if they tried.
I hope this was helpful. If you play your cards right, using this method you’ll be able to make the most stubborn person in the world reconsider their decision.
About The Author
I’m Zarnaz. I’m a self help junkie, caffeine addict, writer, engineer and I’m extremely passionate about the science of people. I want to know what inspires you, motivates you, drives you to make better choices and ultimately, how to help you reach your full potential. This is a blog dedicated to that cause.