You Can’t Force A Closed Mind To Open Simply By Stacking Up Evidence

That’s not how closed minds work.

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Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

Acknowledge The Problem

As with most problems of distorted perceptions the first challenge is to get someone to recognize and acknowledge the distortion.

Before you can get someone to re-examine a topic they have closed their mind to you first have to address the closure. Pilling up evidence or even expertly persuasive arguments will be thwarted before they start unless the active and deliberate closing off of their mind is relaxed.

Opening The Mind Doesn’t Mean Changing It

An important part of helping someone open their mind is establishing trust with the person that opening their mind to new information does not require they change their mind.

Even if our ultimate desire would be to see them alter their existing perception, not only is that not a choice we can or have any right to make for them, if we make that the only acceptable outcome then we make it all too easy for their fear to cast us as the deceitful enemy who must be defeated.

What’s In It For Them

When dealing with someone who has surrendered and become a hostage to their own fears pleas on behalf of others are doomed to fall on deaf ears. Not because they are a horrible person devoid of compassion but because their fears have trapped in them in a false mode of pure survival.

Those who have surrendered to their fears and closed their minds wind up living in a state of perpetual existential terror, their only perception of the particular unknown one of primal danger. Not only do we need to reduce the perceived danger of opening their minds we also need to try and illustrate there is a better life for them on the other side of their fears which is worth confronting them for.

Written by

A professional dancer, choreographer, theatre creator, and featured TEDx speaker with an honours degree in psychology, two black belts, and a lap-top.

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