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Are People Actually Capable of Change?

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We’re officially two weeks into 2017, which means many of us are gearing up for change — and not just on the political front. With New Year’s resolutions still fresh in our minds, nearly half of us have vowed to try and transform some aspect of our lives. But changing a fundamental part of ourselves isn’t always so easy. Youth Radio’s Stella Lau found that lesson out the hard way, after she tried (and failed) to boost her confidence by cutting off her long hair.

“I thought that getting a haircut was going to magically make me be comfortable with myself,” she said. “But it turns out learning to love yourself goes way deeper than just hair.”

But don’t give up hope yet. Even though statistics suggest most resolutions won’t last, people do seem to be capable of multiple, simultaneous life changes related to both their mental and physical health, according to a 2016 neuroscience study from UC Santa Barbara. And according to a study released last year by Cornell University, we may even be capable of changing our political beliefs, given we hear from people who explain their contrasting points of view using calm language, specific examples, and hedging (meaning our phrasing allows for exceptions) like “it could be the case.”

Learn More…

AUDIO: A Confidence Transformation Takes More Than A Haircut (Youth Radio/KCBS)
Youth Radio’s Stella Lau decided she needed a transformation in her life, so she cut off her long hair as a way to try for a fresh start. She expected her new ‘do to reveal a whole new her, but she found out it would take more than a haircut to change her life.

ARTICLE: How To Change Someone’s Mind, According To Science  (The Washington Post)
This article breaks down the Cornell study into key takeaways about how you might actually be able to sway people’s opinions online. You know, just in case you have that one friend who likes arguing politics online. You know who you are.


AUDIO: What’s Your Political Resolution For 2017 #Resolved2017 (KQED)
Curious about what changes people want to see for 2017? Check out KQED’s social media wall of colorfully curated resolutions given the prompt: “In a time of political change in the U.S., many people are wondering about the way forward for the country and what they can do to be a part of that (like, be the change you want to see).”


Find best practices for using Do Now, using Twitter for teaching, and using other digital tools.

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