An awesome post over at the great Creating Passionate Users blog on how change is vital to people and organizations (duh) but how we are hard wired in our brains to resist change. The way to overcome this challenge is to introduce positive, intrinsic emotions instead of relying on simple logic or facts. This resonates with me. I’ll be at a party and a peer from school will be smoking a cigarette. I will ask him, “Are you nuts?” I’ve never understood teens who start smoking a cigarette or two a day and think they’ll just quit in a year.
For so many years, we thought of emotions as something to be down played, poo-poo’d. We thought: hey, we’re human beings with a big brain, using our logic we can live better lives. Now we know better: emotions are key to learning, memory, decision making, and to changing our behavior.
Facts don’t really make a huge difference in people’s behavior. I think this is surprising to people because we believe, intellectually, that knowing a fact (e.g. smoking is bad for you) should be enough to change your behavior. But it’s not! Proof positive: we’ve known for years that smoking is really bad for you, but people do it anyway. Facts are interpreted within a frame, as the article calls it. This frame is the existing structure and wiring of our brains. If we are told a fact that doesn’t fit in with that frame, then we simply ignore it or choose not to believe it.