Changing Others - Try a Small Change Locally


Local action is also much more effective than it might appear at first glance. It doesn't seem as if my one telephone call to my senator makes much difference. But when all the calls are added up in the senator's office, it does. (Most important is the sense of personal satisfaction from voicing an opinion instead of doing nothing.) There were no demonstrations condemning a recent attorney general nomination; instead, senators received thousands of clearheaded phone calls opposing the nomination. The nomination was promptly scuttled.


"I object," "I oppose" and "That feels wrong" (spoken in calm tones without anger) are three powerful assertive statements that are effective in influencing others. Outrage, calling someone names and negative judgments are, by comparison, ineffective because they typically evoke a defensive response. Getting the opposition defensive often just hardens their position and makes them more resistant to change. Therefore, in your local actions, you will be most effective if you are assertive, not condemning. Blow off steam with your friends (or with your therapist), but for maximum effectiveness be calmly assertive with your opposition, your senator and those whom you would like to change.


Assertiveness not aggressiveness is the way to change others. Do you know the difference?

At times all of us do nothing. "My efforts would make no difference" is frequently the reasoning behind the inaction. "That is not my responsibility" is another favorite dodge. If something global (or more local) strongly energizes you, you are a part of it. Take some action: make a phone call, write a note or talk with a friend. The decision about how much action is appropriate for you will always be with you, and some trial-and-error process will normally be necessary to figure out your correct level of activity. There are those who would strongly argue that if you have continued negative energy concerning a problem, you are now part of the problem. Taking no action keeps you negatively energized and does nothing to change the global problem.

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The ultimate in self responsibility: Wherever I am unhappy, there is where I need to change myself. Most of us blame others.

More Excerpts This Chapter
   STAGES OF HEALING
   MAKING CHANGES IN SMALL STEPS (Stage IVa above)
   "IMPOSSIBLE" SUCCESSES
   PROCRASTINATION
   A PERSONAL EXAMPLE
   CHANGING OTHERS EFFECTIVELY
   A LOUSY WAY OF MAKING CHANGES = SELF CRITICISM


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