Tuesday, January 23, 2007

positive suggestions

We learn in two ways: 1) anything that has strong emotional impact is recorded so that we can easily remember it; 2) anything that gets repeated becomes easier to remember. So something with some emotional impact that gets repeated should be relatively easy to learn. Only relatively easy, because most adults have enough experience of life to have developed some cross-wiring (pre-existing connections that make learning some things harder).

One habit that has been burned into our learning is the default position "Let me tell you what's wrong." It occurs is so many settings that 'constructive criticism' and 'problem solving' is no longer a way of thinking - it's an instinct that gets engaged automatically. We see someone who is stuck or struggling or slow and we say, "let me tell you what's wrong."

Now that you are aware of this tendency, you can have more choice. Try this today. Catch yourself just before you tell someone what is wrong with their behaviour, skills or assumptions. Stop. Think. Then tell them something that is right instead.

For instance, here's a snippit from a conversation I had yesterday with someone who had overcome a particularly bad habit.

She: I had to quit. I had no choice.

Me: You had a choice. You made a good choice.

Then we laughed.

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