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Change Your Behavior, Change Your Mind

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 23 February 2009

 


Title

Change Your Behavior, Change Your Mind
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 104
Posted DateMonday 23 February 2009 10:49 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://michelemartin.typepad.com/thebambooprojectblog//2008/ ... 

If you change your behavior, you change your mind. This is an idea I have believed in for some years and have tried to practice it, so its great to see Michele Martin blog about this having been inspired by A.J. Jacobs. This is the essence:
If you change your behavior, you change your mind. This is one of those deceptively simple, profoundly important realizations. It's the "fake it till you make it" school of thought that says if you want to become something different, you have to start by behaving differently.

We tend to think the opposite, that our beliefs must change first and then our behavior will come along later.

Much of professional development is about trying to change people's attitudes by "training" them that they should think differently. This is often unsuccessful because in many cases, we need to first change our behavior before we can change our beliefs.

I'm not going to truly believe in the power of exercise until I actually begin doing it. I have to start with acting differently and it's the process of engaging in new behaviors that helps me start to develop new attitudes.

But, interestingly, Michele goes on to talk about trust - a question that is often asked by KMers "How do we build a culture of trust in our organization?". My answer has always been just start engaging with people and trusting them. Michele says pretty much the same: Act trusting and trustworthy and trust in yourself and others will follow.

Dave Snowden also has some interesting thoughts on trust (see his posting on Confusing symptoms with cause) where he sees it as an emergent property of people working together and not something you can create as such or tell people to do.

These two views may seem opposed but I am not so sure that they are. Yes, trust is an emergent property of people working together but then so is distrust. Entering into a working relationship where by default you trust people (even if you are not too sure of them) is much more likely to lead to a truly trusting relationship than entering in to it with an attitude of lets wait and see.




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