how you can change other people

The answer is easy: You can’t. Anyone who is not on a deserted island knows that it’s impossible to change the other person. With a spouse, we learn that sooner or later. Sometimes the hard way. Often we keep trying only to realize that all that’s changing is our patience. Nonetheless, in the sustainability discourse we keep talking about what we can do to change others. That doesn’t mean that things will always stay the way they are. There is a way out. The smart ones learn, that it needs three preconditions so the other changes anyways:

  1. the other person is intrinsically motivated to change themselves
  2. you are able to tell what’s up, to reflect, without complaining, blaming or shaming
  3. all parties are patient enough to make mistakes over and over again.

Changing others is not a one way street. Instead it’s a joint learning process in which the one trying to change the other learns and changes just as much as the one ‘being changed’.