Take Time Out for Mental Digestion By: Brian Tracy How to get support for your ideas more easily than ever before. Many years ago a retiring executive gave me an old pamphlet titled, “Take Time Out for Mental Digestion.” saying that this little pamphlet had been one of the most helpful things he had ever read in his business life. At the time I spoke to him he was the president of a corporation with more than 10,000 employees. The message of this pamphlet was simple. It said that people always resist new ideas and new courses of action, even if the ideas are good for them. However, if they have an opportunity to think about them for a few days, very often they will come around to the new way of thinking with both agreement and enthusiasm. The pamphlet said that an individual needs about 72 hours to absorb a new idea. Effective executives are those who present their ideas in very casual way, rather than as a decision or a fact engraved in stone. They present their thoughts as ideas for consideration. Effective executives encourage the other person to take the new idea or new way of doing things and think about it for a few days. They say that “we can discuss this later” and they just leave the idea with the other person. Over the years, I have found this to be a remarkable piece of advice and a very important insight to communicating effectively with others. People Will Resist Change >It is normal and natural for people to resist change of any kind, even and including a change that they will benefit from. So, allow them to take time out for mental digestion. Present your new idea in a low keyed, non-threatening way and just encourage the individual to think about it for a while and then discuss it later. Present Ideas As Possibilities >In my early executive career, I was continually frustrated by trying to get my ideas, which I had thought through and which I, of course, thought were wonderful, accepted by my seniors and my co-workers. When I started taking time out for mental digestion and just presented my ideas as possibilities, I was astonished at how much more readily people turned around and came to see the validity of the ideas. I also found that, if you present an idea with too much enthusiasm, you trigger natural resistance which soon becomes ego-based, irrespective of the validity of the ideas. Present Ideas in a Low-Keyed Manner >On the other hand, if you present your ideas in a low-keyed manner and just leave them for consideration, people can come around to accepting them in their own time and embracing your new ideas without any loss of face or without any ego problems. The next time you have a great idea, mention it casually and ask other people what they think about it. Give people time to digest the idea, even if they are totally opposed to it at the beginning. Action Exercises >Now, here are two things you can do to use this principle in practice. First, think your ideas through on paper before you present them to others. Expect natural resistance. When you do present your ideas, do it in a low keyed, almost indifferent manner so that it stirs up no resistance. Second, expect your ideas to be rejected initially. When this happens, simply ask open ended questions to get feedback and then present your ideas again at a later time in a different form. It is amazing how effective this strategy will be.