#5: Inspiring Change by Sharing Your Beliefs First

Simon Sinek’s TEDTalk on “How Great Leaders Inspire Change” taught me how to appeal to peoples’ primary decision-making brain functions. Sinek starts with explaining how the Limbic System of the brain (which contains the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus) is what primarily drives the base of our decision making. This makes sense, given that information reaches the Limbic System before finding its way to higher level processing. The Limbic System deals with emotions, anxiety, and aggression; this is why it affects our “gut decisions”.

Given this information, it is easy to understand why Sinek encourages leaders to appeal to people’s raw beliefs, rather than logic. Most often, people make this decisions on the basis of their core beliefs. They use information, or the “what” to justify/rationalize their beliefs. A great example of a leader who appealed to people’s raw beliefs: Martin Luther King Jr. He told people what he believed. If that matched up with people’s own beliefs, then they would want to hear him speak because he justified their beliefs. A crowd of 250,000 people went to go see Dr. King speak; Sinek explains that this was not driven by a desire to hear Dr. King’s beliefs. It was driven by a desire to hear their own beliefs reiterated by him.

I’ve started to think more about health care for women, especially since the Trump administration repealed a guarantee that stated all employers and universities had to cover birth control. Organizations can now use a religious justification or simply a broad “moral” reason (which could honestly apply to any reason formulated). I wanted to look at some ways organizations are implementing projects that uniquely better women’s’ health around the world.According to a study by the World Health Organization, “Proper nutrition is a key determinant of health, both in childhood and beyond. The nutritional status of girls is particularly important due to their future potential reproductive role and the intergenerational repercussions of poor female nutrition.” Nutrition International is looking for ways to improve the diets of the 1 billion malnourished girls across the world. Using $75 million from the Canadian government, Nutrition International is launching programs in nine developing countries across Africa and Asia that aim to reach 50 million women and adolescent girls by 2020. They’ve isolated one aspect of women’s health and created a plan to address issues surrounding it.

The Urban Programme, developed with partner organizations UN-Habitat and Women in Cities International, is working to improve safety for girls in cities in developing countries. The organization provides  platform for girls to voice their opinions on their needs. Then, the program is working to ensure cities are meeting the specific needs of girls around sanitation, education, public spaces, transport and access to city services. For example, the organization is working with bus services within the cities to make bus rides safer for girls. This means lowering the risk of sexual harassment and assault on buses, so girls can get where they need to go safely.

I would look at Sinek’s ideas about leading by expressing one’s own beliefs and incorporate that into a documentary I make. I would seek out the stories of women concerning their experiences with health care and allow them to show their beliefs by telling their stories. People who have similar beliefs concerning human rights would hopefully identify with the beliefs of the subjects in the documentary and then rationalize the “whats” of the subjects.

Zoe Prue

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