Negative Suggestions, a brilliant experiment by Darren Brown. Most people think that they make positive suggestions (aka “free advise”). Seldom do they realize that the language they use is often, though unconsciously, embedded with negative elements. The intention will be to make a positive suggestion but end up otherwise as negative suggestion creep into the vocabulary unconsciously. Researchers assert that human brain analyzes negative suggestions, however positively packaged, negatively because brain does not understand negative suggestions as demonstrated by Darren.
“Cannot”, “Should not”, “Do not”, “No” are probably the most frequently used words in our daily interactions. Many a times, even words of motivation are diluted by negative suggestions. For example, upon seeing a child carry something heavy, natural tendency is to caution “you will drop it, be careful”. Even though the intention is to help the child, we often redirect the attention in the wrong direction. The focus is often on what should not be done rather than what should be.
There is a popular anecdote (supposedly of Abdul Kalam) where two boys where hanging from a branch of a tree and the two parents shouted at their kids. One parent said “Do not leave it, I am coming” and the other parent said “Hold on, I am coming”. As can be predicted the child in the former case let go and fell bad while the other child held on till the father arrived. Now, some argue that the two boys may be of different ages, were holding to different kinds of branches etc. That is NOT the point here, the point is about the suggestions that we make and where our focus is.
Many western speakers talk about about letting go of “negative” suggestions, but ancient Indian thoughts seem to say “consider the positive first before the negative” in saying “Anukulasya sankalpah, pratikulasya varjanam”. Will explore this idea on a separate note.
Keep focusing on the positive side of your life. Negative side is often magnified and positive side ignored or taken for granted. Look at your language, watch out for the words that you use (unconsciously or otherwise). Develop a positive vocabulary consciously and that gradually becomes unconscious just as negative suggestions have become our default mode of operation.
Written with love,