Metta World Peace - How to Inspire change?

Is raising awareness to an issue a good trigger for inspiring change no matter what attention you draw?

Late in 2011 the NBA player, Ron Artest, changed his name to Metta World Peace. The declared goal was to inspire and bring youth together all around the world. I’m all about world peace. Coming from Israel, peace has a deep meaning for me, but I’m afraid in this case the name change may have backfired (Metta btw, is a Buddhist term that means loving kindness and friendliness toward others…that alone may have been more inspiring).

What we say is only as inspiring as the meaning others assign to it. If I said you could trust me, but your mindset is suspicious, my statement could be interpreted as insignificant, if not disturbing. Words are inspirational when people assign that value to them and you should always consider the mindset of the people you are trying to change. When managers try to change the behaviors of caring, open, and kind individuals, they can use the equivalent of “world peace” to inspire. When, however, you are talking to people who are manipulative, see things only from their own perspective, are negative and suspicious, you can’t use the same words and hope to get the same results.

The way I see it, trying to change people who are easily inspired is great (then they can inspire others), but inspiring people who are not easily inspired, or are resistant to being inspired is even better.

To inspire change in people who are not easily inspired:

1. Figure out why they are so resistant and how to overcome that resistance. I don’t mean HOW they resist or WHAT they are resistant to, but what is it about how their brain is wired that blocks them from being inspired. Common reasons are: because people give in to fear, see the negative/what’s missing in everything, or often because people don’t trust themselves.

2. Supplement the thing that will reverse what’s missing. Instead of trying to instruct people to behave differently, give them a system to overcome whatever it is they are missing. For example: if the problem is that they always seem to see only what is missing or only the negative, get them to practice seeing the positive.

Until you can change the way people are wired, your words may not go very far with the people who need to be inspired most. This can be done. Team members are rewiring their brains all around you. Managers just need to make that a priority and focus first on rewiring before focusing on the message.



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