Why can’t you change people’s minds? - GulfToday

Why can’t you change people’s minds?

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


Photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

We have all noticed how impossible it is to change someone’s mind about most things. Sure you are able to change yours but it’s an impossibility when someone else is concerned.

We are living in an increasingly polarised society. There are Trump supporters and those who like to call themselves Trump resisters. Then there are those who are anti-Johnson and pro-Johnson Then there are those who are pro-Brexit and those who are pro-EU. We’ve had those who believe that there never was a pandemic versus those who believe that there was one. Then there came those who felt the vaccine was the only way out of the pandemic and those who are now referred to as anti-vaxxers. There are those who believe that the moon landings never took place and will point to dozens of discrepancies in the moon landing footages that support their claims and those who now believe that, like Covid, monkey pox is also another hoax to scare people into taking the vaccine. Some people even believe that the War in Ukraine is another hoax and call it ‘Wag the Dog. Now, whatever they believe, try as you might to convince your friends, colleagues and family of the opposite, it will never happen.

Why is it so difficult to change people’s minds? Well, it’s not always because the person trying to change someone’s mind is doing it all wrong, although on the rare occasion they could be making stuff up. Often the reason lies in the mind-set of the person whose mind is trying to be changed. Often the mind changer can give the most rational, logical and factual reasons for the opposite camp but the other person is not going to be convinced, even if they are convinced.

You see the thing is that people are afraid to change their minds even if, in the back of their minds, they know that what they are being told rings true. They are afraid of being excluded from their friends, family and colleagues who may share the same view as them. They might also feel that, if they change their mind so readily, they might be perceived as being unreliable; their mind changing like the wind. They are also afraid of being labelled weak minded and fickle since they can be swayed so easily. Or perhaps they were bullied into going along with the opposite view. Moreover, in the long run, they might be afraid that their peers might think their opinions don’t matter anymore since they’re likely to change it pretty soon anyway.

There are instances, though, where people think they’re right -- but they’re wrong. They do this by rationalising their thought process with conjured up reasons that often make no sense to them and which can be easily dismantled by opposing views.

Often they don’t even bother with trying to rationalise why they have a certain point of view. Even when the truth of the opposite view is staring them in the face, they will still stick to theirs out of pure stubbornness whilst, at the same time, they know that they are wrong.

In recent years, discourse has degraded to such levels that it’s impossible to come to an understanding, Sometimes people do agree to disagree but if the middle ground isn’t reached, there are levels to which people will go to persuade other people. When that doesn’t work, frustration might set in and that’s when civil conversations go out of the window. So if we are to have a healthy discussion about politics, sports and current affairs, and we want to ensure more people are open to changing their minds, it’s important to be respectful to one another. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done as is clearly obvious from some of the posts on social media. A whole spate of new derogatory terms have come into play during discussions and even in people’s online handles. Name calling is now the name of the game. But if you persists in calling those with whom you do not agree MAGATs, snowflakes, lefties, stupid, idiots, anti-vaxxers and covidiots, you are not going to win more friends from the other side nor are you ever going to change their minds to your way of thinking.

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