To change the mind of other people you must be open to changing your own mind first. If others cannot observe that you are willing to change at all, they are going to hold onto their beliefs tighter. But changing your own mind doesn’t mean that you have to stop believing something, or that you have to believe only what the other person believes. To change your mind, you must expand your current belief to allow new possibilities to coexist.
Imagine that after working hard on a project, delays initiated by another department caused it to be late, and subsequently your portion of the project was rushed and the quality suffered.
During a meeting with your team, your boss publicly reprimanded you, saying that work of this quality is “unacceptable.” You might deny accountability and shift the blame to the other department.
However, if you can expand your belief to include other possibilities, you might find that you could have communicated the delay more effectively, could have worked on pieces of the project while waiting for the other department, could have supported the other department to speed up the process, or could have done any number of other things to avoid the delay and dips in quality.
By acknowledging these new possibilities, you now have a more comprehensive picture of what happened. Rather than forcing your boss to decide that you deserve all or none of the blame, they are more likely to accept the impact of the delay because it is now one of many possible contributors. Additionally, you might now feel more comfortable accepting some of the responsibility now that you’ve observed steps you could have taken to protect against the delay. And, you certainly have more choices about how to avoid the situation next time. The next time you find yourself fighting against someone else’s belief, expand your own beliefs first to make room for what they believe to be true.