Have you ever thought, “If he/she would just change, things would be better?” But when you pressed for change, the person dug in their heels and was stubborn. Despite your pleas or best efforts to persuade, nothing really happened. Then, you are left frustrated and disappointed.

Author Michael McQueen calls this tendency for people to resist change, mindstuck. In fact, McQueen says we spend 40 percent of our time trying to sway the minds of others, but use change strategies that don’t work.

In his new book, Mindstuck, McQueen notes that it is easy to stay stuck in our ways of doing things. We become inflexible and don’t change even when we know we should. The question is, can you persuade someone to change who might be mindstuck? McQueen says, yes, but it might take a new approach.

Many of us use reason and logic to persuade someone to change. We think, if we just present the facts or even common sense, this will make all the difference. Rarely, does this actually work. In fact, it often has the opposite effect—people become even more stubborn.

Instead of trying to reason people into change, an alternate strategy is to disarm them. You disarm someone by diffusing tension and calming emotion. When emotion is calm, people are more open to think and change.

While McQueen doesn’t mention Jesus, Jesus is a good example of someone who constantly disarmed people with love and grace. He didn’t provoke even when he was provoked. And He is the author of change.

To change, let go of pride and admit there might be a better way to do things. Pride can keep us stuck in our old ways. Letting go of pride requires a willingness to confront uncertainty, admit you might not have all the answers and be open to feedback from others.

And one of the most effective strategies for change is to give people a choice.  When people have choices, they feel a sense of control. For example, you could say, “You don’t have to stop drinking, but how do you think drinking is affecting our children?” Or, “I need help with the dishes, but don’t feel obligated to help.” Rather than strong-arming people to change using fear, shame, or guilt, build trust by asking open-ended questions and providing choices.

To put this in a spiritual perspective, think about your decision to accept Christ. He offered you a choice and you decided not to be mindstuck. Instead, you humbled yourself and allowed God to do his transforming work. God gave you a heart of flesh for a heart of stone. He is the change maker.

So, to stop being mindstuck, lose your pride, be open to change, choose Christ and allow Him to transform your life. And to help someone who is mindstuck, disarm them with kindness and ask questions.

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