[Strategy] My Mind is Made Up

“My mind is made up.”

Well…ok then.

Your mindset, your framing of the world and the way that it’s ‘supposed’ to work, your story that you tell yourself about your conflicts, disputes, and differences of opinion, can be changed.

Unlike in the old Ten Commandments movie from back in the day, your ideas and stories developed over time. They weren’t etched irrevocably in granite tablets and then thrust upon you.

Though sometimes it may feel like that.

At least once (or maybe twice) in every training opportunity, there comes a moment to challenge a frame or a mindset, or a story, about how something ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to work. And at that moment, the phrase “your frame—your worldview—got here before the facilitator did” pops out of the trainer’s mouth.

But even this statement betrays a mindset, a story, a frame of references around the malleability of these frames, and the biological ability for a person to change their, already made up, minds.

The ability to shift frames, and to change them based on the persuasion of new knowledge, is not a sign of a lack of consistency—the crowd (e.g. other people) makes sure that you are remain consistent, even unto rhetorical death—instead, it is a sign that the window dressing of our frames, stories, and mindsets, can be changed and are flexible.

Mediation, conflict resolution, conflict coaching, conflict engagement, negotiation: all of these processes exist to persuade you that your mind can be changed; and in some cases, to persuade you that changing your mind may lead to more positive outcomes than the ones that you have been experiencing all this time.

But sometimes, people don’t want different outcomes.

Sometimes, parties in conflict get unnerved by participating what they perceive as processes that involve too much “second guessing” and “over thinking.”

Sometimes parties in conflict want affirmations, reassurances, and confirmation that their story is the right one and the only one with any validity in the marketplace of ideas.

So when one party’s mind is “made up” the question becomes: As the party on the opposite side of the table, are you ready, willing, and able to engage in the hard emotional labor of changing that other party’s mind?

Or is your mind now made up as well?

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