I was at dinner with a friend of mine the other night--he's a startup CEO in the middle of a round of fundraising. As we were discussing a reluctant investor, I questioned whether he shouldn't just give up. His response made me pause:
"You think trying to convince someone to change their mind once or twice is going to do it? No way! People don't just change their minds like that; the world would be crazy if they did. It takes time. You've got to really get into understanding what they think, not just sidle up and tell them you're right as if they were born yesterday. It's a long process. You've got to tell them 10 times, 50 times. Sometimes convincing a single person takes months. You want to win? You've got to be committed. Period."
The words are still settling into me. Of course. I have a bad tendency towards impatience. I don't always get it when I make a case that someone can't refute, but they don't just hop on over to my side and let go of years of thinking and reinforcement.
I think a lot of people I know would say that they'd rather see some grand injustice undone or some global problem fixed than start a startup or sell something and make a lot of money. You might feel the same way.
But are you committed?
Will you keep carrying that rock up the hill until it finally stays? Will you stay engaged with someone who disagrees with you, keep plugging at it, asking new questions, changing tack, trying new angles?
Or do you give up, de-friend them, write them off as stupid, and tell yourself that it's a waste of time, and you're better off clicking "Like" on some scathing new image about a political candidate you don't like?
Look at your own behavior of the past year, and ask: have you been acting as if you were committed to change, or not?
As a bonus, here's a story from another friend about change we can make when we do decide that we're really committed.
"I have a friend from college that I've known for a while. She lives in the Bay Area now, and I got together with her maybe 6 months ago. She wasn't that engaged with politics, but expressed interest in learning more. I suggested something simple: download a news app on your phone, read it in your spare time, and allow push notifications. I recommended the Guardian as a good first app (I have something like 15-20 on my phone, but you know, one thing at a time).
I got together with her again this morning for brunch. Apparently just having the Guardian app on her phone completely changed things for her. She has become highly politically involved, and is actively involved with the Sanders campaign in the Bay Area now.
She is forming opinions about the primary process, knows about brokered conventions, and keeps track of delegate counts day to day. It seems like the majority of her interest is focused on Sanders, but she didn't really even know who he was until she started reading the news more regularly on her phone.
She attributed this all to a suggestion I gave her, and mentioned that it wasn't just her. There's a ripple effect: she has actively begun discussing politics & affairs with friends and coworkers.
Encouraging one person to take an active interest in the world is real change. One at a time, we can make an impact."
So here's a great example of a small change. This friend of mine and his friend don't share the same views on politics, but here's someone that's now caught the bug of getting educated and informed, getting active and engaging others in real conversations.
If you know a shortcut to driving political change, drop us a line. Until then, let's get committed.