Win the Heart the Mind Follows



“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” — Milan Kundera

How do you get the people on your side or inspire a vision or change the world?

First win the heart.

I’m blogging on this because it’s a lesson I’ve learned that shows up in so many ways, time and again.

I see it in thought leaders.  I see it in people leaders.  I see it in everyday, conversational exchange.

This is one of those ah-ha’s that when it sinks in, you find opportunities to apply it every day to improve your personal effectiveness.

Connecting at the Heart vs. Connecting at the Intellect

If you connect at the heart, the mind follows.

Interestingly,if you connect at the intellect, you may not necessarily get the heart to follow.

It’s why you might hear the expression, “sell the sizzle, not the steak”, or “sell benefits, not features.”

We are really emotional beings at heart.

Go For the Heart

If you have great ideas, but people aren’t on board, chances are you’ve been ignoring the heart.

Change your approach.

One way to invoke the heart is to address core values:

  1. loyalty
  2. commitment and contribution
  3. individual worth and dignity
  4. integrity.

Inspired Visions Trump Intellectual Ones

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream.  John F. Kennedy had a moonshot.

Einstein said imagination trumps knowledge:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Inspired visions help people dream big.

Inspired visions win the heart, and where the heart goes, the mind follows.

How Will You Change the World

One of my former leaders is known for inspiring people.  For example, whenever I would tell him about a project, he would first ask:

“How are you going to change the world – how will the world be different when you are done?”

Next, he would ask me:

““Who is the dream team you need to make it happen?”

While he couldn’t always get me the dream team, he first focused on a compelling vision and that was inspirational.

In fact, in many cases I was able to get the dream team, because of the emotional commitment to make it happen.

It Works On You, Too

If you know this, you can inspire yourself with skill.  Rather than smart talk yourself into something, try winning over your heart first.

For example, if you need to build self-compassion, find pictures of yourself as a kid and remember your hopes and dreams and ambitions.

Vision boards can be powerful, too.

If you want to get leverage on yourself, figure out what captivates you.

What inspires you?

Win your heart and your mind will follow.

You Might Also Like

10 Best Ways to Persuade

Character Trumps Emotion Trumps Logic

Influencing without Authority

Why People Resist Change


  1. Hey JD,

    I am in total agreement. Leadership is not all about intelligence. It’s a combination of many traits such as positive communication, positive thinking, compassion and gratitude.

    It’s also important to exercise care in the choices of our words in order to motivate, inspire, lead and succeed.

  2. When I first started my blog, I only used pictures occasionally. Now I won’t post without one. Though my blog’s purpose is mostly to inform and inspire, I also want to to be fun, and I want it to be entertaining. Engaging people with imagery is a good way to do that. Now, if only I was brave enough to do a video blog 😉

  3. Great insight. As a consultant, I find my most successful partnerships have had an element of heart. In regards to pictures on my blog, I choose photos that speak to my heart in hopes that they will also speak to the hearts of others.

  4. @ Wenny

    I like your point on compassion. My favorite leaders are the ones that have a knack for making you feel like you’re the most important person in their life right now. I find this trait in the best coaches too.

    @ Melissa

    Fun’s important. It has to feel good. I like the pictures you pick. They’re always evocative.

    @ Stacey

    I was flipping through your blog again and it’s obvious you choose really thoughtful pictures. They’re full of life and they convey a lot.

  5. I read so many blogs J.D., and I never realised till I read this post of yours that I do actually enjoy the posts with pictures much more than the ones without. I guess a picture is really worth a thousand words? (just a lot easier to read) 😉

  6. Hi JD,

    Good point about using pictures to get the message of a post across. Coincidentally I just used the same picture you chose for this post for an eBook on personal creeds that I’m making now!

  7. Hi J.D.
    I love what you said about connect with heart instead of the Intellect. My feeling on this topic are: Get out of your head and get into your heart. Connect with your heart and you will connect with your passion. People follow and support Passion.
    Thank you,
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  8. Hi JD

    Interesting what you say about pictures on blog posts. I hadn’t really thought about it – that much.

    I don’t use pictures on my posts. I guess the main thing that deterred me from using pictures was the comments that I frequently saw on sites using images:
    “Great picture!”
    And I wondered if the writing had even struck a chord. Perhaps that doesn’t matter. At least the reader gained something from the blog…

    Oops, I was an engineer too – perhaps I should consider that 😉


  9. @ Louisa

    I think it’s also the suck you in factor. Especially the right picture. I also like that the right picture can help make a post sticky. You might forget the post or the punchline, but then remember the visual.

    @ Daphne

    The law of attraction in action. It’s funny how out of so many pictures there’s some that just seem to stand out. They’re oustanding. I look forward to your eBook on personal creeds.

    I’m a fan of creeds. I sent an email of my personal credo to my team a couple years back to test how well I could guide the team simply through principles while I was out of the office. I haven’t hunted it down yet, but now I’m curious. I wonder if it’s like a bad hair style that looked good at the time, but looks funny to me now.

    @ Giovanna

    Indeed they do and I agree. Passion and purpose go a long way. I think the secret to passion is when you connect at the values. There’s certain things that just jazz people. For example, for me it’s action and adventure. It’s also excellence. It’s also knowledge. It’s beauty. It’s also road trip 😉

    @ Juliet

    It was seriously tough for me to shift to images. I’ve been a long time fan of text only info. Sort of like, be brief, be bright, be gone.

    This works great for things like a knowledge base, especially with developers and engineers. It doesn’t work well for the masses though.

    I think what I learned is …
    1. A picture is a great way entry point and soft landing.
    2. The right picture can truly supplement the text.
    3. People need to feel good. A picture helps.

    I think the ultimate goal is to help people remember a post with either a visual or textual take-away. For example, for this post, I think people can either remember the picture of the heart in hands or the prhase “win the heart the mind follows.”

    I think of it as information engineering 😉

  10. It takes a special talent to lead people. To touch something within them to that moves them to work a little bit harder. Getting to thise heart is the key. Finding a way to connect them to your project. Make them feel part of it. Hearts and Minds reminds me of the Vietnam documentary.

  11. Great post, people will always use emotion before intellect.

    This is a common practice in sales; get the person emotional about the product and price becomes secondary.

    I write a fitness blog and have noticed my readers hang around a little longer since I have included pictures.

  12. @ Gennaro

    I think you hit the key … find a way to connect them to your project.

    @ Kiefer

    Thank you. So true. So many decisions are really emotionally driven. That’s not always a good thing, but it’s good to know how we work.

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