A Different Take on How to Influence and Create Change

Mike Coval
January 7, 2021

We disagree on an issue.

You're not understanding my viewpoint so I throw more information your way.  Studies that support my belief.  Anecdotal evidence forced on you.  Countless stories of people that have shared my belief system and how it proves I'm right.  You still don't get it.

If you don't get it, then I'll just speak more passionately.  I will tell you why you're viewpoint is wrong and mine is right.  You still don't get it.

I go online and share with a group of people who think like me about my experience with you.  They all agree that you're wrong and tell me how right I am.  Not only do I know I'm right, but everyone else is telling me that I'm right too.  How do you not get it?

This is the cycle that I see over and over again on social media nowadays.

Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

It happens every….single…hour...of...every...single...day.

Let's take this scenario and apply it to my life and what I do.  I coach people on how to live happier, more fulfilling lives and use fitness as my platform to create that change.

Now, let's say that I take the same approach as above to how I work as a professional.

Everybody needs to be able to deadlift at least 300 lbs. 

Everybody needs to be eating a Whole 30 diet.

Everybody needs to be doing everything that I say.

If they aren't doing these things, then I'm just going to shove it down their throats until they can do all of these things because I know I'm right. If they can't, then they're losers and idiots who don't want it bad enough.

Now, if you read that and thought "that is one of the most asinine things I've ever read" (which I hope you did because it is) then I'm doing what a good chunk of society currently does right now. 

Ignoring nuance.  Lacking empathy.  Not seeking to understand.

I'm by no means perfect in these areas, but I do seek to get better in each area each day.  In some areas of my life (professional) it's much easier for me than others (personal).

The reality is though that whenever we're seeking change, we have to understand that we need to understand whoever it is that we're trying to influence. 

Without that, then it turns into an irrational match of who can shout the loudest which creates more distance between "us" and "them" which ultimately results in being further away from "we".

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Mike Coval

Coval Fitness is a Personal Training Studio and Gym in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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