Leadership & Organisations

How to Change Someone’s Opinion

A compelling narrative may pique interest and force listeners to reconsider their worldview.

A long time ago, when Shahryar discovered his wife was being unfaithful, he had her murdered. Rage-filled, the king decided to get even with women by taking one as a wife every night and then killing her the following morning.

Scheherazade, the daughter of the king’s adviser, came up with a plan to spare herself and other potential victims after most of the suitable women in the kingdom had left or been slain. On their first night as husband and wife, Scheherazade told the king a story without telling him how it ended.

How to Change Someone’s Opinion
Scheherazade and the King


The monarch granted her a further day of life so that she may conclude her story, and she did just that for another thousand and one sleepless nights. The king eventually had a change of heart after hearing Scheherazade’s tales, realized the wrongs he had done, and stopped his angry rampage. Scheherazade, the storyteller of the One Thousand and One Nights, has rightfully earned her reputation as one of literature’s most astute heroines.

Even though she lived during the Islamic Golden Era, Scheherazade may be a great coach or therapist today. She used narrative to pique the king’s interest, prompt him to reconsider his actions, and ultimately alter his worldview.

Situations of all kinds can benefit from Scheherazade’s kind of psychological help. We’ve all been put in sticky situations when we have to use our influence to get individuals to make changes. Yet, changing the actions or beliefs of another person is not always easy. The Scheherazade approach may be used to assist people see the barriers in their way that prevent them from living a life of meaning.

Seven easy ways to win someone over, according to Scheherazade.

1.Don’t try to force your opinion on other people.

Stay away from the need to dictate the person’s next move. They may become defensive or resistant if you give them direct advise.

Scheherazade understood the king’s formidable defenses, including his firm belief that his vengeful actions were warranted in light of his unfaithful wife’s behavior. Facing these convictions head-on would have simply served to strengthen them, making it that much more difficult for him to be receptive to change.

2.Display sympathy and assist in sorting through conflicting emotions.

Pay close attention to what they are saying, and attempt to put yourself in their shoes. Helping someone overcome their fears and anxieties begins with identifying their origins.

Scheherazade was able to break through the king’s defenses by exhibiting empathy and proving that she understood his perspective, even though she disagreed with his actions. Without passing judgment, she approached him and told him stories designed to divert his anger and encourage him to see things from a new angle.

3.Instill a little uncertainty

Use appropriate examples to make the person question and reevaluate their current beliefs and actions.

Scheherazade told the king stories that explored a range of human experiences, from joy to sorrow to fear to disgust to rage to disdain to astonishment to embarrassment to remorse. She expertly led him to these realizations, hiding the importance of forgiveness at the heart of her narrative.

She did this to cast suspicion on the king’s thoughts and deeds.

4.Specify the repercussions

Pay attention to the other person’s activities and show them how they lead to certain outcomes.

Scheherazade had the foresight to avoid confronting the king head-on about his wicked behavior. She understood where he was coming from, but the stories’ morals showed what happened to people who were harsh like him. Her tales illuminated the connection between short-term pleasure and long-term pain, and he came away from them wiser.

5.Use the strength of psychological judo

Disputes should be avoided at all costs. Instead, you should treat them in a quiet, unassuming way.

Scheherazade was a master of psychological judo, the art of working with rather than against an adversary’s defenses in order to change the course of events. Throwing their opponent off balance gives judokas an opportunity to control the momentum of the fight.

Psychological judo is a powerful tool for gently persuading others to do what you want them to do, whether that’s talking about their thoughts and feelings, considering new points of view, or taking a new course of action.

Read more: How to Escape the Herd Mentality

6.Encourage and facilitate their metamorphosis

Inspire the individual to think for themselves and assist them in seeing possible substitute actions or perspectives. Assist them in formulating a strategy for bringing about the desired changes after they have been determined.

Scheherazade emphasized self-efficacy, the confidence in one’s own abilities to do a task or reach a goal, as a means to aid in the process of transformation. The king’s faith in his own potential for development was boosted as a result.

7.Help direct, but don’t compel, the transition

Encourage the individual to think carefully about their situation and alternatives, and have faith in their capacity to make and handle any necessary adjustments on their own.

Instead than telling the monarch what to do, Scheherazade led him to a realization of his own shortcomings. To put it another way, she assisted him in accepting accountability for his actions and taking charge of problem-solving.

You may help someone grow by prompting them to reflect on who they are and what they value without setting out to alter who they are.

We tend to underestimate the potency of words and tales. After all, it shouldn’t be too hard to persuade someone if Scheherazade managed to change the thinking of a mass killer.

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