why do people change their opinions

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How people change their opinions

How many times you saw someone changing his opinion about something?
How many times you held on to a certain view only to turn against it few month later?

in 2011 Egyptians went to the streets protesting against the army who was ruling the country at that time. Two years later Egyptians went to the streets asking the army to save them from the current regime. When the army met their demands they started carrying pictures of army leaders in protests and cheering for them.

So how can a whole nation change their opinion about an issue in a short period of time?

This didn't just happen with the army but it also happened with many of the public political figures that were present at that time. Here is another example, Wael Ghonem who was considered a hero in 2010 few month later became a masonic spy who wanted to bring chaos to Egypt.

Egyptians in Tahrir square

What happens to the human mind that lets people change their opinion that way?

What happens inside the mind?

When you first like something your subconscious mind develops a positive belief about it. Lets assume that you bought a new shirt that you liked. In such a case you will build a belief such as "My Shirt looks good on me".

Now the strength of that newly formed belief will depend on many factors including how often you strengthen it. Most probably each time you will see yourself in the mirror this belief will get quickly repeated in your mind and so it becomes stronger. (see also How beliefs are formed)

If no one told you otherwise your belief will keep becoming stronger until it would be hard for someone to shake it. But what if someone told you that the shirt looks bad on you few days after you bought it?

In such a case depending on the initial strength of the belief you might or might not believe the person who said so. Lets assume that you didn't believe him only to find someone repeating the same thing few days later.

In such a case there is a big possibility that you will start to have doubts about the way the shirt looks on you even if you still believe its good. Now if the same event happened a third and a fourth time you might actually start believing that the shirt looks bad. (see also How limiting beliefs are created)

How beliefs change

  • 1) Repetition weakens the beliefs you have: If people kept repeating their opposing beliefs then most probably you will develop some doubts about your beliefs after sometime unless you were constantly strengthening them. In the Solid Self confidence program i said that people lose self confidence because they keep strengthening the incorrect beliefs they have about themselves by incorrectly interpreting people's reactions towards them
  • 2) Belief change happens gradually: You can hardly let someone change his belief about something instantly unless you convince him with your point. What usually happens is that a person's beliefs keep weakening as he keeps receiving messages that go against them. The belief change process happens gradually and can sometimes take years. In my article I am not me anymore I explained how you might believe you became a different person as a result of the tiny gradual changes that happened to your personality over a long period of time
  • 3) The stages of the belief change process: It all begins when someone says a word that goes against your beliefs. If you managed to find reassurance once again then this word might not affect you but if you didn't then you will start to have doubts. As the doubts grow you will start to become more open to discuss the opposing beliefs and if they appealed to you on the conscious level you might actually change your beliefs (see also How to change someone's mind)

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