No… you’re wrong!
Sometimes the temptation is almost irresistible… to tell the other person just how wrong they are, that is.
I experienced it this morning and, this time at least, I did resist the temptation and decided to write this blog instead.
Pass on the word
It seemed like a good idea (it still is, actually). I’d received one of those ‘sponsor me’ messages from two people who are raising money for a village in India. The target is £600 and when I looked at their site they weren’t making much progress and had reached less than 10% of their target.
So I thought why not tell people who follow me on Twitter about the project? Which I did, pointing out that the cost of just two cappuccinos from each ‘follower’ would enable them to reach their target for the charity.
Within less than two minutes of posting the tweet I received a one-liner reply ‘Charity begins at home!!’
I’m all right Jack, pull up the ladder!
My first response was amazement that someone could have such an insular and selfish attitude. We’re not talking here about a major contribution – after all, two cappuccinos would cost around a fiver here in the UK (€ 5.6 if you live in the other part of Europe or $7.6 if you live on the other side of the pond)!
My next response was to want to ‘show him the light’ and point out that his attitude was in line with the old wartime saying ‘I’m all right Jack, pull up the ladder!’
(If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase it refers to the person who has just been rescued from the sea telling the rescuers that, now that he is safely in the boat, they can pull up the ladder, leave the others in the sea, and head for the safety of shore.)
Beliefs are made stronger by arguing with them
Confronting a person’s strongly held beliefs very, very rarely results in a change of heart or mind. This isn’t a brand new NLP insight, either: the old saying ‘a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still’ goes back to at least the 1700’s.
Arguing does not change beliefs. Quite the opposite: the more we argue against someone’s belief the stronger we make their belief!
This might be worth remembering the next time your lunch or evening meal is interrupted by doorstep missionaries who’s views you do not share. Rather than waste time arguing, thank them for their interest in your welfare, gently close the door, and return to your meal.
Because arguing will not only ensure your meal gets cold but will do them a favour… At the end of the discussion they will leave with their belief in their faith further reinforced as a result of arguing with you!
So I didn’t attempt to changes that person’s beliefs. Instead I contented myself with the simple response ‘that’s the spirit’. To which he immediately, and within less than a minute, responded ‘why should we!!’ which sort of confirmed my hunch about him and his beliefs – and his mood.
In my experience people who quote ‘charity begins at home!’ usually are of the ‘I’m alright Jack’ persuasion. So, not wishing to further strengthen his prejudices, I simply blocked his access to my account.
And it still is a good idea
Incidentally, although only a few have so far taken up my Twitter suggestion, their sponsorship call is working and they have already more than doubled the pledged sponsorship money.
And the charity? SOS Children’s Villages is the world’s largest orphan and abandoned children’s charity. They care for 78,000 children in 124 countries worldwide.