The human brain does not understand negatives
It is a neurological fact that the brain can only understand positives and knowing this can change your life if you are a bit observant about what you and other people say. This is also a great coaching tool if you know how to use it.
Do NOT think of an elephant! Yet you did! You saw it, its shape, its size, its colour. The human brain is programmed to not understand negatives. Put differently, the brain does not know not to do. In order for the brain to not do something it has to start doing it! In our example, to not think of the elephant the brain must first think of it and then put mechanisms in place to try to not think about it!
“Don’t run” says the mum to her child. Usually the child starts running even faster.
“I don’t mean to be difficult but…”! The brain understands “I do mean to be difficult…”.
“I really can’t stand my boss anymore”! The brain understands “I like my boss” (the problem perhaps is that my boss and I are so alike that I see aspects of me in him or her that I really dislike).
“How are you today? Not bad”. Two negations, “not” and “bad” are used to express a positive feeling (actually, I’m doing well).
“Don’t be afraid”. The brain starts thinking of everything that could go wrong!
Think of how this can positively change your life, improve your relationships at work, with your friends, your family, even the way you see yourself.
Knowing this, here’s something you can say to children who don’t like brushing their teeth: “do remember that you must absolutely not brush your teeth well every night”. You’ll see what difference it makes!
So, rather than using negatives let’s use positive affirmation.
“I choose that today will be easy even if I doubt.”
What a powerful phrase that is, so much better than “I don’t need to worry”. It can help you if you doubt, fear something (remember what we said above fears?) or have to solve a problem quickly.
This is important for a life coach to understand the motivations of the client’s request, what they really want to change and achieve and where they would like to go.
Is saying “I don’t like war” the same as “I love peace”? Think about it.