How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
Spring and renewal
Spring is a traditional season of optimism, where the long winter nights are fading and the fresh green shoots are promising a lush and lazy Summer. It is a time of renewal, where people get out and look anew at their lives. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Valentine's day is a harbinger of Spring.
In persuasion, the notion of starting anew can be very helpful when you have an unhelpful set of baggage that clanks along behind. When you look at other people and when they look at you, there are many assumptions made about what we are like, how we think and what we are likely to do. When I try to persuade you (or vice versa) these assumptions often get seriously in the way.
How do you blow those old cobwebs away and start afresh? Not easily, but you can use the metaphor and sentiment of Spring. For example if a close relationship is getting strained, why not get away for a few days to somewhere you've not been before. Act differently and consistently in a way that will break the mould of past patterns.
Saying 'Let's start again' is a start but is not enough, as you need to act, too. As someone once said, if you always do what you always did, then you'll always get what you always got. There's an even more fundamental step: you have to change what you think. So if you always think what you always thought, you'll always do what you always did.
And there's another step too, because if you always believe what you always believed, you'll always think what you always thought. Change and renewal means changing what you believe, and the hardest and most important thing is to change belief.
So, as you peer out of the window at the wakening Spring, you might wonder what beliefs could do with being taken out, shaken down and renewed.
Never too early for spring cleaning, I suppose, but on the topic of renewal perhaps one should clear out the clutter of proverbs, sayings, stereotypical clich?and metaphor......
In the 1980's one was supposed to think laterally, in the 1990's "...outside the box....". Cyber-types would suggest "rebooting" one's perspective - which was redundant since computer "booting" is derived from "...pulling one's self up by one's own bootstraps....". So many metaphors!
Some claim the definition of insanity is repeatedly applying the same solution to the same problem yeilding the same dismal results. Yet other's say "...if at first you don't succeed.....".
Lots of talk of change south of the border here, mostly from Obama. Can't tell yet exactly what is to be changed? "...But maybe change is as good as a rest.."??, unless, of course we "....change horses midstream....".
When I first heard the (American) military proverb "....if it ain't broke - don't fix it...." I was perplexed. Is not preventative maintenance part of being "....ready, aye ready..." or like the Ranger FC just "Ready".
But then consider what if your adversary shows up in the middle of a refit?
Probably the most classic (and bloody) example of this is recorded in the battle of Midway. The Japanese fleet was changing their munitions on their carrier planes "midstream". All the decks were cluttered with fully fueled planes, and literally stacks of explosives when two USN dive bombers made direct hits on two carriers within minutes of each other.
Hollywood retrospective propaganda calls this the "five minutes that changed the war in the Pacific...(?)". When some Japanese historians asked one of the US Admirals to preface their book on the battle, they hoped he would describe his ingenious strategic thinking that gave him such a swift decisive victory. He was disappointingly honest, claiming that it was just urgency and "chance" that ensured his task force survival.
Negotiating the details of change can be tedious and exhausting. It is probably more the exploration of other's perspectives that is the most efficiently refreshing.
P.S.: Wish your child to GWS.(Friday 08-February-08 "Medical priorities" ) I once had an apparent problem in early autumn.... the surgeon feared waiting and "went in". When my Dad (also a surgeon) showed up - war broke out. Anything worse than undertreatment is overtreatment. In the confusion they managed to mess up my electrolyte - I think(?). One young surgeon promised me that I would be eating Turkey by Christmas. Peristalsis returned just under the wire..... a close one. Your daughter is lucky to have her Dad.