It has to be said that I have always been a big advocate in cycling. Even as a child I loved to ride my bike.
Over the past few years I've changed my opinion on a number of items when it comes to cycling, this has lead to a lot of internal conflicts in my own thinking. I haven't changed my love of cycling at any time, but I have changed the way that I cycle based on my current information.
To this day I still believe I have an open mind about anything and everything. But many people we deal with end cycling and in other road issues don't think the same way as we do.
This is not the end of the dialogue, it creates the dialogue. Much in the same way as you argue with your parents over what vegetables you would eat when you were a child, we have to convince other adults of different ideas and ideals they don't hold close.
Not everyone thinks the same as you!
Convincing someone to think like you is not easy. It comes at a cost and that cost comes in many forms:
- your energy
- your sanity
- your friends
- Even your family.
So why do we do it? What makes an advocate? Why put ourselves through this? These questions I cannot answer for others, I can only answer them for myself.
So why do I do it? It was a mistake that turned into a good idea that turned into a great idea that turns into Cycle. Cycle is much bigger than I could have ever imagined and I am so proud of it, I guess I do it now because it's something I've always doing.
What makes an advocate? Someone passionate enough to care, they see less about what is in it for them and more about what is in it for the greater good of all. Yes it is altruistic of me but I am also a little narcissistic as well. I discovered I could talk well and express my point was getting more people on side rather than alienating people, so it just became important to me to carry on doing what I was doing.
Why do I put myself through this? I have no idea. It was so much easier working full-time and a job going to work going home and knowing how much money was coming in each week.
So what's the point of this blog. It's to open the idea that sometimes even when you're right you're wrong. Sometimes even when you have the wrong, no answer you have the right answer. Not everyone wants to hear what you want to say. It is those times you need to ask are you providing a clear message.
I have been a fan of Dr Stephan Lewandowsky’s work for some time. His ability to see the argument for what it is and not what we want to make it just made sense to me. Getting people to discuss the topic on topic is so hard in this instant messaging world.
But the story of the Backfire Effect has never been better explained than in this video by CollegeHumor and Trutv on their show Adam Ruins Everything, it has been cut to show just the Backfire Effect.
This example shows us that no matter what we do we will not win with an argument that goes against the belief of the person you are arguing. In fact the actual argument becomes more ingrown into the personal beliefs already structured in both people. It becomes a brick wall. You have already lost.
But if you ask for their research, their ideas and explain to them why it is wrong using open and descriptive discussion. You will achieve what you are after, a mutual understanding with both sides reaching a level of agreement. Sometimes this means a total win to your side, sometimes this means total loss. But most of the time it is a mutual understanding that you can grow on.
In the case of Cycling, this is never more prevalent than the good old ‘Rego debate’ when someone says all bikes should be registered. We will dig in our heels to say ‘no- what a dumb idea’ but we would be able to open a better dialogue with one word ‘Why?’.
Asking why allows you to see where their information is wrong, we know the correct answers so we know where to correct their thinking, and if we do it properly we may just change their mind.
You can download the Dubunking handbook here.
So when next you go into a debate, instead of accusing, attacking or ‘fight mode’, just give yourself a moment and ask how you can get this person to understand your side of the debate. You may find more people willing to talk to you about their thoughts.