To Boldly Go…


“A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger (PDF)..”

Sounds familiar? How often have you desperately tried to argue your point and it fell on deaf ears? And the more you debated and reasoned, the harder your failure to convince.

Power struggle, politics, influence and cognitive dissonance (why do smart people smoke really?) along with so many other factors that are at play when discussing, collaborating, teaming up. And the art of “dancing” with people in the waltz of life and debate goes on. But, can you really influence and eventually change without understanding?

We are all guilty. How often do we jump to conclusions – thinking of our response while the other person is still talking? Quick, alert, sharp, swift – all these words, characterizations and attributes are considered positive and great assets to have. In a performance driven, labor intensive marketplace where skills, talents expertise and aptitudes are the tickets to success – the competitive nature of “firsts” have made us jumpy and possibly less wise.

In the process we have lost patience. The pace is fast and furious – the anxiety to “be, go, do” before anyone else does, is driving the race, the competition to “boldly go where no man has gone before” a-la Star Trek. We have been conditioned to be quick. But maybe quick won’t cut it anymore. Maybe taking the time to “get” it first is more important – and definitely much more interesting, enlightening and in the end, productive. Why not try it sometime?

PS: Festinger’s experiment was also mentioned in The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science | Mother Jones. Great read – I highly recommend it.
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