Okay, so you looked. What does that tell you about the power of negative commands?
Negative Commands Don’t Work
Recently I’ve become fascinated by this subject. For instance, when you tell a child “Stop running!” they immediately visualize running, which is why they don’t seem to listen (at least not right away). They are also unsure of what to do since they have not been given an alternative.
By saying “Walk slowly” instead, you give the child an image of walking as well as an alternate activity to running. See how this works? (Those of you who study NLP are ahead of us all here, so please wait while we catch up.)
As a generally positive person, I did not think this was much of a problem for me, but I was wrong. It is amazing how it creeps into daily life:
- Diet: “I can’t have that dessert.” (I’m thinking about carrot cake now)
- Fitness: “Don’t be a couch potato” (Hey, what’s on TV tonight?)
- Money: “I’ve got to stop using my credit card.” (Credit card, credit card, credit card)
Transform Negative Commands into Positive Commands
Think of how you could be sabatoging yourself (or your loved ones) with these commands. Write them down if it helps. Then rephrase them so the visual you or the listener gets is the desired result instead of the bad behavior.
- Diet: “I want to eat more fruit.” (My mouth is watering for a juicy orange right now.)
- Fitness: “Get some fresh air!” (Just thinking about it makes me feel healthier.)
- Money: “I’m saving money for a nice vacation.” (Ooh, vacation is so much better than anything on sale)
It’s a small mental shift, but it has been proven to be a powerful one.
In my own life, I use the money one a lot. We’re on a pretty steep savings plan so we can travel around the world next year, and instead of bemoaning the fact that I can’t eat out or travel like I used to, I think of how much I’m going to enjoy a year of seeing the world. It makes saving the money almost painless.
If you’ve used NLP or positive rewording in your life, how has it worked out for you? If you haven’t used it consciously before, how will you implement it?