People Don’t Change Until They Do


It has been over a month since I quit smoking. For over a decade, I lit up stick after stick.

It’s not that I wasn’t aware of the ill effects of smoking. Smokers are in fact very well informed about the dangers of cigarette smoking. But we are stubborn.

People in general are bad at giving up bad habits, and we are bad at admitting our mistakes.

We cling on to our views even after encountering evidences that point out we are wrong. We desperately hold on to our views of ourselves. "This is who I am,” we keep telling ourselves that. Convincing and conditioning our minds of this fact.

People don’t change...until they do.

If you’re trying to change people’s minds about something - a product, a brand, an idea - or someone, don’t just stick with evidence and facts. And don’t argue in frustration.

You have to be patient. You have to be persistent. And you need lots of empathy. Keep at it. Keep showing up.

After more than a decade of smoking, I decided one day to stop. It took years of friends with genuine concern gently reminding me of the dangers of smoking.

A friend of mine once asked me - just in passing - if I was aware of the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke on dogs. He knew how much I love my furry baby Percy. At that time, being the stubborn me, I told him yes, I know secondhand smoke has negative effects on dogs and then I ended the conversation with "I’ll look into it more.”

It took me about a year to look into it. I researched, read up on the topic, and saved the links on my phone. That very same day when I did my research, Michee and I had lunch with a couple of our friends. One of them would usually gently remind us of our bad habits and he’d inject humor in trying to convince us to quit. That day he asked me again how many packs in a day I was smoking. I said I was already at more than 2 packs a day. And then he jokingly said, "At the rate you’re going, we better meet up more often.”

And that made me think of how I want to have more time with Michee and our fur baby Percy (and Rocco - we just adopted another fur baby). I immediately said that I was actually thinking of quitting. I grabbed my phone and showed Michee the links I have saved on the dangerous effects of second hand and third hand smoke on dogs.

After that lunch, I haven’t lit up a stick of cigarette. It has been over a month.

And I guess I am a living proof that people don’t change, until they do.

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