If you are a NBA fan you may be aware that Boston Celtic fans are among the most loyal and intense fans of any sports franchise. So about six weeks ago, when the 23-0 Golden State Warriors took their record setting unbeaten streak into Boston Garden, there was playoff atmosphere leading up to the tip-off. For various reasons I won’t elaborate on in this post, many experts and fans alike felt this was the game that could end the Warriors historic unbeaten streak.
I recall watching a pre-game ESPN special where Celtic fans were interviewed about the upcoming matchup. One of the fans said despite having been a die-hard Celtics fan his entire life, he was actually rooting for the Warriors! Why? Because he said he had developed such admiration and respect for Warriors superstar Steph Curry.
Some people may think this fan is a sell-out, but as I thought about what he said, I saw a lesson that extends far beyond the sports world. This Celtics fan didn’t switch his allegiance because someone convinced him the Celtics weren’t worthy of his loyalty. He decided to root for the Warriors that night because someone, namely Steph Curry (a superstar both on and off the court), won the heart and mind of this Celtic fan.
Here is the lesson we can apply again and again in our everyday lives: If you want to attract someone to another way of thinking, instead of trying to convince them their current thinking or behavior is wrong, show them how a different idea can be better.
There are endless opportunities to put this approach into practice:
· Are you trying to convince someone to make better choices with regard to their health? Instead of telling them what is wrong with their current habits, explain how their body will respond if they choose a different course.
· Do you need to get your coworkers on board with a new idea? Elaborate on the benefits of the new idea rather than shooting down their suggestions.
· With the Presidential primaries underway, are you strongly in favor of a particular candidate? Instead of hammering away at why someone else’s candidate-of-choice is bad for our country, focus on what you believe our country will look like if your candidate becomes President.
Positive persuasion is not only a more effective approach, but it is also the means most often employed by Jesus. Think about The Beatitudes as they are the epitome of positive persuasion: “Blessed are people who (_______) because they will (________).” Jesus didn’t focus on people’s sins, instead He in essence said, ‘Let me show you a better way.’
As Christians, we are called to do our best to model Christ. One way to do this is by showing others ‘a better way’ rather than grinding away at what we perceive to be ‘the wrong way’.