The art of changing your mind
Making your mind up can be difficult, but why is it sometimes even harder to change our minds? Should you always stand up for what you believe in, or would it be smart to practice challenging your opinions? Why should you change your mind, and when should you do it?
The art of changing your mind
Small choices like what to eat, what to wear, or which series to watch are quite easy to make. We can also change our minds about them quickly.
Other decisions are bigger and more important, for example, which studies are you going to choose, and which political party you will vote for. Is giving money to beggars right? What you choose says something about you as a person.
Once we have made up our mind, it can be very difficult to change it. Why is that? And why should we really have to change our mind?
Dame som sitter foran pcen og tenker
Where do we get our opinions?
How we feel and think about things depends on our values. Our values are formed by our experiences in life from when we were kids.
Our values help us to make choices when it comes to justice, equality, honesty and solidarity. We are not always aware of our values because they are deeply rooted in our minds. They include our view of the world, our view of humanity, or our faith.
We know what we think is right and wrong, but it is not always easy to explain. We defend our values when needed.
Attitudes are understandings we have, and they are deeply rooted in us. Whatever we go through in life forms our attitudes.
Our attitudes help to decide how we react when we meet people, but also how we react to different issues. It is difficult to change our attitudes since they are so deep in us.
Our opinions are lighter than our attitudes. Opinions are what we think of people or issues, but they don’t have to be deeply rooted in us. We can change our opinions more easily than our attitudes.
Tenåring snakker i en støttegruppe
Do you disagree?
It can be easy to change one’s mind if the decision is about for example what TV series you are going to watch. It can be more difficult if it is bigger things that you feel strongly about? How easy is it to change your mind then?
Jentegjeng som ser på film med pop corn
Why can’t they just understand!
We often believe very strongly in our own opinions, and it feels like those who disagree are wrong. It can be difficult to get other people to understand why your opinion is right and important. They probably will stand by their opinion.
We often don’t listen to logic when it comes to our opinions. Why is that?
Why should we consider changing our minds?
We may not see the full picture
We have a lot of information around us every day. In social media, information spreads very quickly, but we can’t be sure if it is true or false. We may feel that we know a lot about something because we have read a lot about it.
We can make it possible for others to challenge their beliefs
By speaking with others respectfully, it can be possible to change someone’s belief. We will have a better society if we speak to each other about our disagreements. When we take each other seriously, it is easier to rethink other thoughts.
We can learn from disagreement
It can be useful to have a look at your own opinions. You do not need to change them, but perhaps you can learn something from other people’s opinions. It can help us to see some new perspectives.
What do you think? How can listening to other people teach you more about your own opinions?
En gjeng tenåringer som sitter sammen i et friminutt
Why is it so hard to change our minds?
Imagine you are late and have to run to the bus. Are you able to feel the sun warming the day or hear the birds singing? What do you think it is like when it comes to all the information we are surrounded with? We filter some things out. Based on that and what we take in and what feels right, we form our opinions and attitudes.
We need to get things confirmed to strengthen our opinions. It feels good when we get confirmation of our opinions. In short, we would rather win discussions than find out what is actually true.
Thinking the same as the groups we are part of creates belonging. If we believe something else, we can end up outside the group. Our identity is linked to our sense of belonging. When someone challenges our opinions, it can feel like an attack on who we are and who we identify with.
It feels right
Our emotions have a lot to do with our decisions. It is difficult to change our minds, even if we have information that proves that we should do so. We like being comfortable, and it is difficult to evaluate the opinions of others critically.
Our brains filter out information when it is too much. This is what happens when we get too much information or too many impressions or arguments. If we don’t filter, we can get overwhelmed.
En gutt som prøver å få bussen til å stoppe
What will it take for us to change our minds?
We must be willing to review our thoughts and opinions to change them. We also have to be open to learning something new.
It can be exciting to learn new things, but learning can also be hard. We have to dare to challenge our thoughts and try new things.
When should people change their minds, and what can happen if nobody does so?
Barn som ligger på gulvet å tegner
How can we practice critical thinking?
Being open to other thoughts is the best way to practice our critical thinking. We must accept that we can be wrong and explore other sides.
Have you ever been sure that you are right? What was it like, and what did you do?
What do people with other opinions think, and why do they think so?
By being open to other thoughts, we learn from each other, even if we don’t agree.
How did you form your opinions? Are you sure that the information you have is correct, or should you look closer at new information?
Is it important to agree with others? Do we live by the same truths, or is our community open to asking questions?
Elever som gjør lekser sammen
Are you listening?
We have to listen if we are going to change our own opinions or those of others. It is important to listen to different sides of things. How can we become good listeners?
There are different ways to listen:
- Inner listening: You listen, but start with your own thoughts and filter what others are saying through your values.
- Concentrated listening: You listen based on the values, experiences, dreams and goals of the person you are listening to. You try to hear what they say and where their thoughts come from.
Non-verbal listening: Examples are tone, tempo, volume, facial expressions, or body language. It is what is not being said, but what you can still “hear”.
Non-verbal listening is active listening. We try to understand the other person without judgment. Active listening is difficult, and it is something we have to practice. Active listening creates trust.
En jente som hører på det venninnen har å fortelle
How to practice active listening
- Be present and let the other person finish speaking without interruptions.
- Try to see the matter from the other person’s point of view, seek eye contact and watch the body language and the tone of their voice.
- Confirm that you are listening by nodding, saying “OK”, “I hear what you are saying”, or “I understand what you mean”.
- Be curious, and ask if you don’t understand: “What did you mean when you said that?” or “Can you explain that one more time?”.
- Repeat what the person says: “So what you’re telling me is…” and “Did I understand that correctly?”.
- Explore if you think something is being said wrong: “That was interesting – can you tell me more about it?” or “I haven’t thought of it like that before – can we have a look at it together?”.
Our understanding will be deeper through active listening. We are creating trust and room for reflection, so that we can learn new things.
We must challenge each other!
We learn from disagreement. By speaking and listening to others, we learn to see things from another point of view. New information can change both opinions and attitudes. If we are able to get rid of bad ideas, we can build on the good ones at the same time.
Think of an issue that is very important to you. What do those who disagree with you think?
Mor som hjelper barna med lekser
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