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Where’s the best place to change a mind? - with Denise Hampson, CEO of Desire Code

This week I interviewed Behavioural Design expert and CEO of Desire Code Denise Hampson on the importance of place in persuasion. Keep reading if you want to know the best place to change a mind, it’s closer than you might think.

What’s a topic you’ve felt your mind has changed significantly on?

When I was a cyclist, I was a lot younger but I saw the world more in black and white. There were good and bad days based on my performance while I was training. If I did standing starts, and I was 6.1 seconds into the first corner it would be a bad day, if I was 5.9 seconds it would be a good day.

I was staying in a big house with this couple, we were very similar, and she said to me, you see the world really black and white. There are a lot of greys. You can cut yourself a bit of slack. I was really harsh on myself and she taught me to be more forgiving.

Where did this conversation first happen?

We were sitting in the kitchen having a cup of tea. I have said to her since it was living with her and her husband that turned me into the grey bits-in-between kind of thinker. She was a really great person and a life coach, she was a real achiever and a senior public servant and she’d overcome a lot.

I lived with them for a while and we had a lot of conversations in my early 20s. Both of them were wise and great, they weren’t trying to parent me. We just had great conversations.

For a long time after being a cyclist, my perspective broadened. I knew a lot of people for a long time who still based their self-worth on their performance. I think it’s more about the state of mind of the person. You can go to all the stuff you want and meet amazing people, if you’re not open to change you won’t. It might have just been time for me.

How did you first hear about it?

Yoga is another one, I was in Canada for the whole of 2017, and I worked for Lululemon where the yoga lifestyle was the thing. Everyone in the street had a yoga mat sticking out of their bag, that’s Vancouver for you. It was a company that centred itself around yoga and I didn’t get it. It didn’t resonate with me.

2017, Denise at Lululemon trying to get into yoga

When I came back to the UK I got two credits for Digme in Covent Garden and I went because friends were going, I got it that session, and I felt different going out. I got why people found it beneficial and because I had two credits I went again.

I was back in London for a year before I had that moment. I only ever feel like I get that yoga benefit from that studio, it feels like home for me.

What role do you think place has in changing a mind?

There’s a popular point of view that changing your mind is a sign of weakness, but changing is a sign of maturity or intelligence. Part of being persuaded is being open to the idea something could be different. I was probably in the space both those times to think something different.